Madonna Madelyn Vant passed away Monday afternoon, February 3rd, 2020 at MorningStar Senior Living in Boise, Idaho. Madonna was born in Hudson, South Dakota, on March 10, 1930 to Arthur and Josephine (Toft) Miller.
She grew up on the family farm with her younger sister, Darlene, and her younger brother Arvid. Mom was Art Miller’s “hired-hand”. She slopped hogs, fed cattle, drove the tractor, and tended the chickens. She knew when she was a young girl that she wanted to be a nurse, so when she graduated from Hudson High School in 1947, she was off to college. She received her R.N. from Sioux Valley Nursing School in 1951 and went right to work in hospitals in Mitchell, South Dakota, Sioux City, Iowa, and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In 1953, Madonna and a friend left Minneapolis for Long Beach, California where she went to work at a local hospital and fell in love with the beach. In 1954 she met John Francis Vant who was on shore leave from the cruiser U.S.S. Los Angeles. After a whirlwind romance, they were married in Long Beach on January 14, 1955.
During 50 years of marriage Madonna lived in Lincoln, Nebraska where Jack Scott was born, La Puente, California, San Jose, California, where Sheryl Ann and Steven Michael were born, East Brunswick, New Jersey, and Boise, Idaho.
She worked as an R.N. at all these stops. Nursing was her passion. When her children were younger, she worked on the weekends, but as soon as her kids were old enough, it was back to work full time. She was a nurse back in the day of starched dresses, white stockings and shoes and caps. We grew up with mom watching her story (As the World Turns) and ironing her dresses, her cap, and polishing her shoes. Wherever she worked she was a force to be reckoned with. She couldn’t stand idlers, and her focus was always on the patient. She believed in “pre-emptive” nursing. Walk the floor and take care of problems before the patient has to push the call button.
Somehow she also managed to feed a husband and three kids, keep a clean house (she had a cleaning schedule), and make enough time for wine o’clock with her best friend Sybil before the husbands got home.
When she retired, she started going to the West YMCA near her home where she did zoomba, line dancing, and water aerobics. Her family and her friends from the Y helped her through the last year of John Francis’ life in 2005. She traveled and went cruising with her three best friends from the Y, Carol, Barbara and Gerie, and she watched her grandchildren play their sports and sing and celebrate birthdays.
The family would like to thank the caregivers and the staff at MorningStar for helping to make her little apartment home for her. It was very difficult for her to sell her house and move into assisted living, but COPD was the boss in her later years. The oxygen tank was an anchor to her. We also wish to thank all the people at Keystone Hospice who helped her during her last year. And special thanks to Dr. Gretchen Kohler, mom’s doctor, who always took the time to give her extraordinary care.
Madonna is survived by her sister Darlene of Canton, South Dakota, her brother, Arvid (Francine) of Carmel, California, her three children, Jack (Karen) Vant, Sheryl (Eric) Landis, Steven (Kristen) Vant, her eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
We ask that any memorials be sent in her name to the Ronald McDonald house in Boise.
A celebration of her life will be held sometime this spring. We have many fond memories of our dear mom and grandma and we will share them at her celebration. She told people in her last few years that she had a good life. We agree.
To send flowers to Madonna's family, please visit our floral section.