Featured Resident – Gwendean Scott
Gwendean was born September 30, 1919 to Amos and Ethel (Holt) Hill. She is the oldest of five siblings. She had four sisters, the youngest for fourteen years younger than her.
Shortly after her sister, Helen Jean’s birth, Gwendean remembers her parents losing their farm. Her father went onto work in the mines in Langlothe, PA. They soon followed her father to Pennsylvania but left a year or so later.
It was the “lure of the land” that drew her parents to Wyoming to homestead. Not many people can say they lived in a homestead. The family was all alone miles and miles away from anyone.
She has many memories of living in the three-room house in Wyoming, including her father building a sod barn. The local school teacher slept in the school house but ate all her meals with the Hill family. They lived in Wyoming until Gwendean was twelve. They then moved to Harris, MO, to be near relatives.
Gwendean’s father was killed in an accident when she was fourteen. Her mother was left to raise five girls all alone. They were poor. Her mom even papered the kitchen with newspaper because she couldn’t afford wall paper. But the family never went hungry. She doesn’t know how her mother managed everything but she did.
Gwendean had a friend the night at their house. Her friend was an only child and lived in a nice big house. She had such a good time, even saying she would love to have a home with so much love and fun. It made Gwendean realize they had something money couldn’t buy.
She graduated from Newton High School in 1937. Her class ring only cost $7.50. She worked one study hall all year long to pay for her ring.
The summer after graduation she met Clifford Rhea. Six weeks after dating they were engaged. Two months and twenty-six days into dating, they were married at the courthouse in Trenton, MO.
She remembers them getting electricity in 1938, and purchasing their first television, which happened to be used. Reception was so poor that all you could see was the “snowy” picture but some days the neighbors came and watched it by the hour.
Clifford and Gwendean’s daughter, Connie Marquetta, was born in 1950, after twelve years of marriage. She says that it was the happiest day of her life. She was always the pride and joy of both her and Clifford’s life.
Gwendean had different jobs throughout her life. She worked in a dime store and as a secretary for the University of Missouri Extension office but her favorite job was working at Wright Memorial Hospital for twenty years, first in outpatient then as a CNA on the floor.
Gwendean and Clifford became grandparents in 1973. Clifford had cancer and passed away in 1989 at the age of 73. Gwendean was 70. She kept her part time job for a couple of years, staying active attending ball games and involved with Sunday School and church.
She had been a widow for eight years when she received a phone call and a man on the phone asked if she’d eaten dinner yet. She said no. He then asked if it was about time they went to dinner. She asked who he was and he said Noel Scott, her high school sweetheart. She was living in Trenton at the time. He lived in Kearney and was in the area when he called. Gwendean replied, “Give me thirty mintues.”
That conversation began their fifteen-month courtship. They married August 1998 and she moved in with Noel, who owned a house on 7th Street. They were 79 and 80 and hoped they could have at least five good years together. Noel watched Westbrook Care Center being built. He stopped by everyday and often offered Steve advice. Noel passed away in his sleep in 2014 after 16 good years of marriage.
Gwendean and her sewing machine became even better friends. She said they she made her own clothes as long as polyester was in style because it was easy to sew. After Noel, died she started sewing corn bags and potholders. She never charged a dime for her work. She bought all the supplies and gave everything away. When the pandemic hit, she made over a hundred face masks and gave them all away as well.
Gwendean’s family decided she could no longer live at home by herself. It wasn’t safe for her as she was falling a lot. In April of this year, she moved to the Westbrook Villas. She praises the cleanliness of the place. She says that everyone is so friendly and nice to help you when you ask, the food is always good. She hasn’t had a bad meal yet. She really loves that she can go to bed when she wants and get up whenever she wants.
Gwendean loves her family. Besides, Marquetta and Earl, she has her granddaughter, Andrea, her husband, Brad and four great grandchildren. Three boys that are biological and one girl that was adopted from China.
Gwendean has always been involved in church. It is her greatest desire that everyone accepts Christ as their Saviour. She also says that it’s important to accept change in your life graciously.