Georgia Lois Van Ornam
Georgia Lois Van Ornam, 95, of Melbourne Beach, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, January 30, 2024. She was born on September 23, 1928, in Grafton, Nebraska, to the late George and Mildred Jackson as their much-loved only child. She was preceded in death by her beloved daughter Valerie (Todd) Workman just last year. It gives the family comfort to know that she and Valerie are together again.
Georgia received a Bachelor of Science degree from Nebraska State Teachers College in Kearney, Nebraska, in 1950. She married Robert Van Ornam in 1949 (divorced in 1966) and had four children with him: Matthew and Joyanna, who were stillborn, and Vanessa and Valerie. She was a home economics teacher in Wyoming until Vanessa was born. She and Robert later spent six years on an air force base in Puerto Rico, where she discovered the joys of year-round warm weather.
After earning a teaching endorsement in library science at Kearney State College, Georgia relocated from Nebraska to sunny Florida in 1969. She was an elementary school librarian at Indialantic Elementary School, where the children called her “Mrs. Van.” Georgia was often recognized by those same children, now grown up, years later when shopping or out at a concert in Melbourne. After she retired in 1992, she initiated a regular breakfast meeting for Indialantic Elementary’s retired teachers that became known as “Georgia’s Breakfast.”
Georgia was an avid reader, concertgoer, and lifelong learner who loved to travel, from the adventurous early years of staying in youth hostels with college summer programs in her 40s to the later trips she took with Elderhostel (later renamed Road Scholar). She loved history and discovering new destinations, so these programs were ideal for her. She also kept in touch for years with many of her fellow Elderhostelers.
Till the end, she had a smile that lit up her face. Georgia touched so many lives, also as a devoted member of her church, the former Grace Lutheran Church of Melbourne Beach, which she joined decades ago. She will be missed most as an exceptionally loving mother and grandmother, who was always proud of her children and grandchildren. She is survived by her daughter Vanessa (Hans) Van Ornam and her grandchildren Tara Workman, Halle Workman, and Kellan Workman.
A memorial service to honor and celebrate her life will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 9, 2024, at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Melbourne.