Who was Violet?

Violet Cheeseman Unwin was born in February 1922 and passed away in August 2003.

Violet was my grandmother. To me, she was simply Granny. She is one of the most influential persons from my childhood. My brothers and I didn’t share her with any cousins, and as such I spent many, many hours with her as a child. I remember lots of excerpts from her stories…

  • Her father dying when she was 14 years old and her subsequent move from the country to a suburb of London
  • Experiences being a telephone operator during World War II
  • Showing up at work one day, but a co-worker not being there, obviously a victim of the previous night’s bombing
  • Her ration book
  • A bomb raid sounding on her wedding day
  • Laughing hysterically with her bridesmaids during her wedding ceremony upon hearing her husband’s middle name for the first time
  • Returning home from shopping as a new mother and realizing she left her baby at the shops

Violet was a faithful diary writer in her later years. She loved and was good at sports as a child; she had a love and talent for knitting; she spent hours serving her community; she snored loudly; she loved wondering what was going on around her; she enjoyed crossword puzzles and Scrabble games; and one of her favorite snacks was cheese and apples.  

Though I can achieve a high-score in Scrabble, one of Granny’s greatest lessons to me is her example of serving others. Violet was always involved in volunteer work. Whether she was serving with Meals on Wheels, shopping for seniors, volunteering in the Cancer Research shop, or baking a chocolate layered cake topped with walnuts to take somewhere, Violet cared for others. I wish I knew what compelled her to spend so much of her time serving her community. 

Violet’s reasons for serving others may never be known but Rising Violet’s purpose is to see that her example of compassion and her genuine interest and concern for others lives on.

~Tiffany Unwin Sowby

Founder of Rising Violet

Violet and Tiffany, December 1983