Velma Marie Thurmond of Branson, MO, formerly Leasburg, MO and Union, MO, departed this life at her home, surrounded by the love of her family, on July 18, 2017, having reached the age of seventy-nine years, five months and twenty-nine days. Velma was born in Potosi, MO, on January 19, 1938, daughter of William James Richards and Irene Sarah Richards nee Fowler. On October 23, 1955, she was united in marriage to John Henry Thurmond, known to many as Doodle, and four children came to bless this union.
Velma is survived by her son Johnnie Thurmond, known to all as Jett, and wife, Juanita, of Cuba, MO; by her daughters, Brenda Krattli and husband, Dale, of Branson, MO, Robin Eickhoff and husband, Gary, of Owensville, MO and Lisa Lefler and husband, Joseph, of Cuba; by two brothers, her twin, Elmer Richards and wife, Loretta, of Potosi, MO, and Ralph Richards of Arcadia, MO; by one sister, Geraldine Wards, known to all as Aunt Whitey, and husband, Jim, of Meeker, OK; by ten grandchildren, twenty-two great-grandchildren, brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, great and great-great-nieces and nephews, cousins, other relatives and many friends.
Velma was preceded in death by her parents, William and Irene Richards; by her husband, John Thurmond; by five brothers, Alan Richards, Albert Richards, known to all as Shorty, Walter Richards, Eddie Richards and Herbert Richards; by three sisters, Geraldine's twin, Sheraldine Henderson, known as Aunt Curly, and infant twin sisters, and by one grandchild, James Dean Thurmond, known to all as J.D.
Velma was a Christian and since moving to Branson had been attending Woodland Hills Church in Branson, MO. During her working career years, she had worked in various factories, including the shoe industry and most recently as an assembly line worker at Pacer Industries in Washington, MO. She loved to paint and to crochet and sew beautiful keepsakes for her family. Velma also loved to go camping, work in her garden and can her produce. She enjoyed listening to country music, especially Conway Twitty, and going to music concerts. Velma was a caring woman who always put others first and had a special place in her heart for children. She was happiest when spending time with her children and never tired of caring for her grandchildren.
A sweet, devoted and loving mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, great and great-great-aunt, cousin and friend, she will be sadly missed and lovingly remembered by all who knew and loved her.
Funeral services were held at 1:00 PM Friday, July 21, 2017, at Russell Colonial Funeral Home in St. Clair, MO, with the Rev. Jim Watson officiating. Interment was in Prospect Cemetery near Lonedell, MO. Memorials may be made to Woodland Hills Church in Branson, MO.