McCOOK, Nebraska -- Vella LaVerne (Mann) Ham, 86, passed away May 17, 2010, at the Sanford Hospice Cottages, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
She was born in the early morning of Feb. 13, 1924, to Oscar Marvin and Ida Belle (Burkey) Mann at the family home four and a half miles north west of Beardsley, Kansas. She had seven brothers and six sisters to welcome her into a loving family.
She was taught to live by God's law, very early in life. The family worked hard but also enjoyed life to the fullest, lots of laughter and love ran deep for one another. Her pony was her best friend, where riding was the love, and they spent a lot of time together.
She spoke highly of all her teachers in school and Sunday school. They all left her with the fondest of memories and all influenced her life as she grew into a young lady.
LaVerne went to California with some of her family during WWII where she worked for J.W. Woolworth and became head cashier. She made many friends and loved her job, but when her parents decided to go back to Kansas she returned with them.
LaVerne married Lawrence Roy Ham on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1945, in St Francis, Kansas. To this union three children were born, Nancy Jane, Vicki Linn and George Allen. Taking care of her children and their needs, and her home took first place in her life. She enjoyed gardening and canning for her family.
With her husband and children, she was confirmed and baptized into the United Methodist Church March 22, 1959. At this time she asked Jesus to come into her life.
She took an active part in her church. She taught pre-school and Sunday school, became a Bible school leader, an active member in Bible study and was an officer for the United Methodist Women.
Her health declined in the '80s after by-pass surgery, but she still was active in the church by attending and helping with what she could. She even continued to work in the yard and garden some.
She did lots of fancy work and ceramics and gave most of it as gifts.
She moved to McCook, Nebraska in 1997 where she lived at Willow Ridge Retirement home. She became a member of the United Methodist Church in McCook, and found it to be a real joy with good Christian people to enjoy. She moved to Kelly Court for 5 years then to Maplewood Apartments.
In April 2010, she moved to South Dakota to be closer to her son.
LaVerne will be missed by a host of family, including eight grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren and many, many friends.
She was proceeded in death by her mom and dad; all seven brothers and seven sisters; a grandson, Kevin Allen Wright; and son-in-law Gaylord Wright.
She leaves to mourn Nancy (Wright) and husband, Calvin Semler of Bird City, Kansas, their children Lori Janicke and husband, Clayton and their three children Walker, Devon and Jordan Janicke; Tonia Vallejo and husband, Steve, their three children Jayden, Riley and Dalton Vallejo; Cary Migchelbrink and husband, Eric and their two children Kennedy and Brody Migchelbrink; Vicki Marquis and husband, Jaylin of Brighton, Colorado and their children Michelle Mallory and husband, Joel and their three children, Alex, Callie and Rhys Mallory; Jaysen Marquis and wife, Carrie and their two children Mackenzie and Abby Marquis; son George Ham and wife, Janet of Hartford, South Dakota and their children Misty Quick and husband, Ryan and their two children William and Henry Quick; Brian Ham and wife, Natalie and their daughter Emmelia Ham; Amber Ham and Loren Smydra; and sister-in-law Josephine Mann.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the United Methodist Church in McCook on Saturday, May 29, at 10 a.m. Please bring your stories and memories of LaVerne to share.
She requested no flowers, but instead requested memorial gifts which will be divided equally between the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Association and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. These ailments affect two of her great grandchildren.
Checks can be sent to her personal representative: George Ham, 700 Shamrock Drive, Hartford, SD 57033.