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Verna Arlene (Risland) Wathor

Passed away: May 26, 2011
Funeral Home: Harman-Wright Mortuary

November 20, 1924 - May 26, 2011

Verna Arlene (Risland) Wathor , 86, Beatrice, died Thursday, May 26, 2011 at the Beatrice Good Samaritan Center. Verna was born in Bemidji, MN on 11/20/24 to Ole & Sarah Risland, the 4th child of six children. She attended school in Bagley, MN until the 9th grade, and then moved back to Bemidji. Tough times required Verna to quit school in the 11th grade, however, years later after her children were grown, she achieved her GED. Her family gave her a graduation party and she made everyone proud, but especially herself.  After leaving school, she went to work for Munsingware in Bemidji and met a friend, Louella Luehring. Louella wanted Verna to move to Hollenburg, KS with her, where Louella’s parents lived. They both began employment at Tabitha Homes in Lincoln, NE. Louella introduced Mom to Louella’s 2nd cousin, Raymond Wathor. Verna married Raymond on March 4, 1945 at Zion Lutheran Church, rural Hollenburg, Pastor Paul Otto Spehr performed the ceremony and baptized Verna on 1/28/45 and confirmed Verna on 4/1/45 at the same church, and her confirmation verse was Psalms 18:2. After living with Ray’s parents for awhile, they moved to a farm in rural Hollenburg.  Their five children were all born in Odell, NE and were raised on this farm. Verna worked very hard as a farmer’s wife tending to the five kids, helping milk cows, raising chickens, tending to the hogs, and helping with butchering, separating the milk and cream, dressing chickens, and raising a huge garden that kept her family with food all year long. She spent hours and hours canning vegetables, fruits and meats while helping her children with 4-H, school, piano lessons and etc.  The family hardly ever missed attending church and Sunday school at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Hollenburg.  Verna and Ray loved to polka, waltz and in later years enjoyed dancing quite a bit. Verna made a special quilt for each of her children grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

They decided to move off of the farm and move to Beatrice in 1962.  Verna started working at the Beatrice State Developmental Center (Beatrice State Home). She retired from there after 25 years.  She worked on the wards and the last 17 years there she was the Sewing Room Supervisor.  Verna loved to sew and made many clothes for her daughters, including prom dresses. After her retirement, Verna worked at Dee’s Daycare and Kiddie Campus daycare where all of the kids called her “Grandma”.  Verna was always very active in her church throughout all of her years. She was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church from 1962 until it closed in 2011 and then attended Cornerstone Church. At Trinity Lutheran Church, Verna served on various committees, serving on the Council, singing in the Choir, was co-chairman of the Altar committee, representative for Thrivent Lutheran, was a member of Ruth Circle and was an active member up until her passing.  She assisted with Braille in Harbine, helped with Sewing for Babies, made lap robes for Good Samaritan Home, sewed 100+ quilts for World Relief as well as diapers and robes for baby layettes.  She delivered Meals on Wheels and was a blood donor for American Red Cross.  Verna made her home at Homestead Village in September, 2005. She made many friends there, but especially enjoyed her two best friends, Garnet Cox and Eddie Lampe. They enjoyed playing ten point pitch, dominoes, activities there and attended weekly bible study. Verna also substituted for a group that played Hound Dog. Verna has always volunteered helping others in need, driving people to church, taking goodies to shut-ins, visiting the sick and those who were homebound. She would do anything to bring a ray of sunshine to someone else.

Verna was a true example of what a wonderful mother would “give up” to make life for her children a little better. She devoted her life to her kids and husband and worked very hard to raise them with a strong religious upbringing and work ethics. She carried her love to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and enjoyed attending their activities when possible. 

Verna is survived by her four daughters, Marge Bigelow, Dayton, MN, Susan Brown and husband Chuck and Linda Barnard and husband Dennis of Beatrice, and Bonnie Wieskamp and husband David of Elizabeth, CO.  She is survived by 11 grandchildren, Sherri Jaworski and husband Steve, Daniel Lancaster and wife Kristine, Monica Russell and husband Jeremy, Shannon Brinkman and husband Paul, Michelle Chenoweth, Marty Coates, Jennifer Frerichs and husband, Jeff, Julie Erickson, Tara MacKenzie and husband Kevin, Eli Wieskamp and wife Denise, Sara Sweetser and husband Matt; 24 great-grandchildren; brother, Oren Risland, Bemidji, MN; nieces, nephews and many friends.  

Verna was preceded in death by her parents, Ole & Sarah Risland; husband, Raymond,(10/1984); son, Ronald, (10/1992); son-in-law, Wayne Bigelow, (6/2010); brother, Donald Risland; sisters, Myrtle Klingbeil and Edna Beer;  Brothers-in-law, Harry Wathor,  Albert Wathor; sisters-in-law, Sadie Wollenburg, Josephine Gross, Lula Hennerberg, and Helen Lippka; parents-in-law, Joseph & Trace Wathor.   

Funeral Services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 9th& Elk St., Beatrice with Pastor Doyle Karst officiating. A family prayer service will be held at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday in church basement. Burial will be at the Evergreen Home Cemetery in Beatrice. The body will lie in state at the Harman-Wright Mortuary from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday with the family greeting friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday night. A memorial has been established to Trinity Lutheran Church. Harman-Wright Mortuary, Beatrice in charge of arrangements.