Emma Henriette Jensen Vardiman (1890-1985)       

Houston County, Minnesota & Jackson County, Missouri



Age: 94

State: Minnesota, Missouri

# of Children: 2

"Spelling for Vardiman (my family) is with an "i" except for Eddie who changed his to an "e" when he was in high school.  Various documents for my grandparents (John Peter and Luella May) have it both ways." 
Shirley Anderson, daughter of Charles Henry and Emma Henrietta (Jensen) Vardiman.


Emma Jensen

Emma Jensen,
High School Graduate

Emma & her mother, Annette Jensen

Jensen Family: 6 children
Grandfather Jensen, Grandmother Jensen, Emma, Stella, Clara, Agnes, Herman, Hilda and Peter

Emma's Wisconsin Nursing License 1918

Emma Jensen, Registered Nurse, WWI Red Cross Nurse
stationed at Fort Camp Dodge, Iowa

Charles & Emma met in service during World War I

Charles Vardiman WWI

1920 Charles & Emma

1920 Charles & Emma

Emma's Minnesota Nursing License
21 February 1923

Charles & Emma Vardiman's
Marriage Certificate
4 April 1923

Charley & Emma's Children:
Harry "Bud" & Shirley

Charles & Emma Vardiman Family  Children - Shirley & Harry "Bud"

Charles & Emma Vardiman Family  Children - Harry "Bud" & Shirley

1939 - John Peter (seated), Luella May, Emma, Charles, Shirley, Luetta, John, Gladys, Miles Edman and Harry "Bud".

November 1946

Left to Right: Charles and Emma, Gladys and Miles Edman "Eddie", Luetta and "Johnny" (Their son, Bill, sitting on ground in front) This picture was taken in November, 1946 - probably at Thanksgiving - they rotated dinners.


Luella May Vardeman with her three sons (Charles "Charley", Johnny and Miles Edman "Eddie") and daughters-in-law.

9505 E. 16th Street, Independence, Missouri

Emma & Charley


Emma & daughter, Shirley

"I'm not sure but I think she was tatting. She made beautiful things by tatting - doilies, edgings (all our handkerchiefs had tatting around them). I think there is a tie-back on the curtain. I have some of her work and her tatting shuttle (although I never learned to tat)."
Shirley 7/10/10

Emma Henriette Jensen Vardiman

Emma Vardiman 1982


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"One of Dad's (Phil Vardiman) favorite (cousins) was Uncle Charlie and his wife Aunt Emma. Aunt Emma was an RN (Registered Nurse) and took care of Bess Truman's mother (in-law) in their home in Independence, MO when Harry Truman was President of the United States. Bill has some neat stories to tell about that, too. Dad would hitch hike from Salisbury on the farm to Kansas City and stay with Uncle Charlie and his wife and then hitchhike on to Manhattan KS when he was going to and from College." 
Emails from Billie Vardiman 6/20/2010 and Shirley Vardiman Anderson 7/2/2010 & 12/21/2012

"During World War II, when there was a shortage of nurses, my mother went back to work doing private duty in the hospitals in Kansas City. I'm quoting a paragraph from her history which she wrote. Please note it was President Truman's mother-in-law (not his mother) that she took care of. "I only took cases in hospitals, and I think I hit every hospital in Kansas City except General Hospital, and I did have one call to go there but refused. We got all our calls from the Nurses' Registry in Kansas City. When we were ready to go to work we called the Registry and we seldom had to wait for a call. I didn't want to go into homes, except once, the Registry called me to go to the Truman's Home in Independence. This was at the time Harry Truman was President of the United States. I told the Registry I wasn't so sure about going there, the patient was Mrs. Wallace, who was Mrs. Truman's Mother. The Registry said they had no one on their list that they were willing to send there except me, so I went. Mrs. Wallace was a lovely patient and I enjoyed the case. When I came she was in that big house* alone except for the cook. However, Mrs. Truman and her daughter flew home from Washington that evening. That was during the flood of 1950 and President Truman flew home one day to view the flood damage. That's the only time I had the opportunity to shake hands with the President of our country."

* This would have been the summer White House in Independence, Missouri which was the Truman home."

Email from Shirley Vardiman Anderson 12/21/2012

"My parents were Emma Henriette Jensen Vardiman and Charles Henry Vardiman. They were both in the Army in World War I and met at Ft. Camp Dodge, Iowa where my Mother was a Red Cross Nurse.

My Mother was very strict and as I look back, it seems one of the most important things in her life was to be clean - she vacuumed the house every day, we dusted thoroughly on Saturdays - my job was to dust the baseboards and the dining room round oak table and chairs. There were hardwood floors with rugs with fringes. One of my other jobs was to comb the fringe every Saturday so that it was nice and neat. My Mother scrubbed the front porch every week and she cooked three meals a day and they were always on time.

In the summertime we weren’t allowed to sleep in as we had to get up and have breakfast at the appointed hour - we always had fried bacon and eggs. She had to change the way she had learned to cook as my Dad’s way of eating was entirely different from the Minnesota Norwegian she was used to. (I know the drill because I had the same problem when I married Bill - I had to learn how to cook like his Mother did). Mom was a very routine person, very organized. She wasn’t a real affectionate person and admitted she never did like kids - her nursing was her first love. I don’t doubt that she loved me, but it took me a long time to understand that. I don’t remember that she played with us, but she did use to tell us stories about her childhood and her nursing career. I can remember asking her to “tell me a story”.

My Mother lived to be almost 95 years old (she died the day before her 95th birthday in 1985).  I had a call from my sister-in-law the day before, and made reservations to go to Kansas City. The flight was delayed and I didn’t get into Kansas City until around 1 o’clock in the morning. There was a terrible ice storm, the airport was deserted, no Yellow cabs around, but I was able to get a private cab to take me to the nursing home where my Mother was. I sat with her the rest of the night and she quietly passed away around 10 o’clock the next morning. She was not conscious when I got there, but I think she knew I was there."

Written in February, 2006 (As I approach my 80th birthday)

Copyright 2012