Arva Nell Needham


Arva Nell Needham, 76, of Gonzales, passed away Thursday, August 18, 2016.   Arva Nell was born at home in Shaw’s Bend on November 17, 1939 to Olga and Willie Fuchs.  She was raised in the New Bielau area south of Weimar on a dairy farm with her three brothers; she loved the outdoors where she learned to work right alongside them.  She would wake at 3am to milk the cows before riding her horse to school.  Arva Nell was baptized in the New Bielau church and confirmed in the Weimar United Church of Christ.  She was active in the First United Methodist Church in Gonzales at the time of her death.

She graduated from Weimar High School in 1958 and went on to graduate from Southwest Texas State University.  Her teaching career began at La Grange High School where she taught Home Economics.  After moving to Gonzales she taught third grade at North Avenue and later served 17 years as the Home Economics teacher at Gonzales High School.  In 1999, she received the Mason’s Excellence in Teaching Award.  At the age of 47, she went back to Southwest Texas to earn a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Guidance.  She finished her career in education as the counselor at Gonzales Junior High for 17 years.  Her service to education totaled 43 years.  Arva Nell loved her career as an educator and could be quoted as saying how great it was to get up and look forward to going to work every day.  She loved working with young people and being a part of their activities for so many years.

Arva Nell loved her sons Wade, Jason, and Dane and was involved in their activities throughout the years.  While they were growing up she was kept busy with their sports activities, showing calves, and working on their ranch.  The boy’s friends were always welcome at the Needham home and she loved every one of them.

Her grandchildren, Brittany, Coltyn, and Brett, were a special blessing and became her special interest when they arrived.  She was active in all of their activities and interests.  One of their favorite activities was riding around exploring and feeding cattle on the mule.  She always looked forward to family vacations at Schlitterbahn with friends and their families.

She wore many hats throughout the years.  She helped run South Texas Cattle Company in the 80’s.  She worked and hauled cattle and even drove an 18 wheeler hauling cattle from the Flatonia Auction to the Houston Stock Yards.

Arva Nell loved being outdoors.  Her passion was working on the ranch and overseeing her herd of black commercial cattle.  She took pride in everything being productive as well as looking just right.  For this she was selected as the Outstanding Conservation Rancher of the Year in 2005.

Her hobbies throughout her life included golf, tennis, snow and water skiing, deer and duck hunting, hiking, biking, white water rafting, kayaking and traveling.  She visited 49 states, not Hawaii, and all of the provinces of Canada.  She was a San Antonio Spurs fan and looked forward to watching them any chance she got.

Her friends were a very special part of her life.  They loved playing dominoes, especially 42.  When and wherever they traveled there was always a game to be played.  It might be on the beach, at an airport, on a train, and in an RV going down the road.  Their yearly domino tournament was looked forward to all year long with bragging rights for the women of the “Domin - Know – It – Alls”.  Nell was the self-appointed sheriff of the group.

She is survived by her sons Jason Needham and his special friend Charlene Avant, Dane Needham and wife Jennifer, grandchildren Brittany, Coltyn, and Brett Needham, her special friend and companion James Fehner, brother Wilfred Fuchs and wife Jeanne, sister Cathy Holman and husband Phil, special cousins Mary and Melvin Otto, sisters-in-law Ginny Sears and Earline Moffett and numerous nieces, nephews, and friends.
Arva Nell was preceded in death by her son Wade Needham, parents Olga and Willie Fuchs, brothers Byron and Delbert Fuchs, nephew Jess Holman, and niece Gina Sears.

Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, August 20, 2016 in the Gonzales First United Methodist Church with Pastor Andy Smith officiating.  Interment will follow in the Weimar Masonic Cemetery.    Pallbearers:  Travis McKee, Ryan Towns, Mitchell Hardcastle, Royce Farrar, Jared Grantham, Lance Benes, Mark Yackel, Darrell Kifer, Scott Friedrich, Troy Houser,. Honorary Pallbearers, The Domin- Know-It–Alls, Lynette Cooper, Shirley Breitschopf, Carol Rhea Hardcastle, Pat Von Dohlen, Maggie McConnell, Kay Lynn Sanders, Shelly Chrismon, Melissa Diettrich, Valarie Harmon, Michelle Marlow and Nicole Cooper Styre.  The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday in Seydler-Hill Funeral Home.  Memorials may be made to the Gonzales First United Methodist Church. Services are under the care and direction of Seydler-Hill Funeral.