Boise woman finished glamorous costumes for Hollywood stars

Cecelia Mary Ann Geib Nevins was an artist when it came to adding delicate finishing touches on costumes for some of Hollywood's biggest entertainers in the 1940s, including Brazilian bombshell Carmen Miranda and Latin band leader Xavier Cugat.

Life outside the glamour of Hollywood was not always easy, but Nevins never lost her creative touch and continued to demonstrate her artistic abilities up until the day she died on Feb. 26 in Boise at age 89.

Nevin was working in Hollywood as a calligrapher when she met her first husband Charles Geib, a haberdasher (dealer of men's clothing) from New York. A neighbor got her started in the costume industry.

"She was very good at doing very intricate bead and sequin work; Carmen did a lot of her own dress-work and headdresses, but mom would do the finish work," said son Dan Geib of Boise. "She also made beautiful dolls with papier-mache and crepe paper, centerpieces for different organizations and was still crocheting up until her death."

Nevins held many jobs to sustain her young family, including managing a Currie's Ice Cream parlor, parking cars for celebrities and working in the food service industry. She retired after a long career with F.W. Woolworth department stores.

Hollywood was not the only recipient of Nevin's talents. She would often help her sons with school projects, including a California mission made of plaster of Paris and cardboard for son Chuck and a large-scale model of a sailing ship for Dan. Both sons and their families have heirloom quilts and collections of special Christmas tree ornaments she fashioned for them throughout the years.

Charles Geib died in 1961. Cecelia later married Oscar Nevins, who passed away in 1971. After moving to Boise 15 years ago, Cecelia continued to share her creativity with those around her.

"She was extremely talented and worked constantly with her handwork, crocheting afghans, doilies and table runners, and making crafts for the annual Christmas bazaar at Shenandoah Park," said daughter-in-law Kathy Geib.

Marianne Buzan of Boise holds fast to a special kinship she had her grandmother, she said.

"When I was barely old enough to walk, my mom got sick and my grandmother took care of me. It was during this time that we began our journey as a bonded pair," Buzan said.

"No matter what happened in her life, she maintained a hope that those she cherished would have a wonderful and full life. I can only hope to love the way she loved. I will carry her in my heart always. She is forever a part of who I am."

In Remembrance is a weekly profile on a local resident who has recently died. Contact Boise news assistant Stephanie Eddy at seddy@idahostatesman.com or 377-6481.