Velma E. DeVries |

Velma E. DeVries

Velma DeVries, 87, of Sterling, KS, formerly of Belvidere, SD, died Nov. 16, 2011, at the Promise Regional Medical Center in Hutchinson, KS.

Velma was born Aug. 21, 1924, in Oelrichs, SD, the daughter of L.O. “Levi” and Ada (Ott) Rickenbach. She grew up in Oelrichs, graduating from Oelrichs High School in 1941. She then attended Dakota Wesleyan University for four years and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1945. She taught one year at Olive Hill, KY, before returning to South Dakota.

Velma was united in marriage to Wallace “Wally” DeVries on May 17, 1947, at her parents’ home near Oelrichs. After their marriage they made their home on a ranch south of Belvidere, where they remained all their married life. Wally and Velma took an active role in education, industry and government. Their home at the end of the road saw many visitors throughout the years.

Her husband Wally preceded her in death on Dec. 6, 1998. Velma continued to make her home at the ranch south of Belvidere, until the past three years when she resided first in the Gateway Apartments in Kadoka and then in a cottage at the Presbyterian Manor in Sterling, KS.

Velma was an active member of the Belvidere Community Church, the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, and the South Dakota Cowbelles. She had a life-long love for horses, especially Arabians. She enjoyed identifying and watching the great variety of birds native to and migrating through the area, although her appreciation for wild turkeys diminished noticeably as they became more numerous and friendly. Through hobbies of painting and photography she found pleasure in artistic expression.

Survivors include: two sons, Jim (Lynn) DeVries of Sterling, KS, and Tom DeVries of Midland; three daughters, Marjorie (Tom) Kraushaar of Warsaw, IL, Barb (Bob) Schroeder of Blue Hill, NE, and Norma (Bill) Headlee of Belvidere; 18 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; one sister Elsie Kunze of Tumwater, WA; and a host of other relatives and friends.

Velma was preceded in death by her husband Wallace “Wally” DeVries; her parents; three brothers, Max, Joel and Donald Rickenbach; and a daughter-in-law Grace DeVries.

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