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Zona Eby Navelle, recently published poet Aug. 27, 1907 -- Dec. 25, 2005

Zona Eby Navelle, who, after 70 years of writing poetry, recently published her first book of poems, died Christmas Day in her residence at Bristol Village in Clarence. She was 98.

"The Scratchings of a Summer Chicken" was published in November, while she was recovering from a broken hip in ElderWood Health Care at Oakwood.

"That's everything in the world that I wanted," she said during an interview with The Buffalo News, "and now all my dreams have come true."

The article drew scores of calls and e-mails from readers asking where to purchase the book, published by Abecedarian Books of Baldwin, Md. More than 100 copies were sold here, and it will soon be marketed in paperback. Limited copies are available by calling 542-4386.

Born Zona Eby in Ocean Grove, N.J., Mrs. Navelle graduated from Buffalo Seminary and William Smith College.

In 1930, she married Ward J. Navelle, an accountant, who created Grampie Wonderful wooden pull toys in their basement in East Aurora in 1968. Orders for the toys came in from all over the world.

After retirement, the couple wintered in Venice, Fla., where they continued their toy business. Mrs. Navelle moved to Akron after her husband died in 1989. She moved to Clarence last year.

In 1995, after four decades of research, Mrs. Navelle finished the manuscript for a book on her family, "Through the Windows of Time: From Theodorus to Me." It traced her family's genealogy through nine generations from Theodorus Aebi, her Swiss Mennonite ancestor who fled religious persecution in 1712 and settled in Lancaster, Pa.

Based on this research, she was admitted to membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution. She also was a member of Clan MacAlister and the Village Red Hatters.

Survivors include two daughters, Barbara Kobler of Fallston, Md., and Zona Shreves of Akron; a foster daughter, Gayle Parrish of East Aurora; 11 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held in the spring in First United Methodist Church of Akron. Burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery, East Aurora.


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