Velma Eileen Zent passed away peacefully, into the embrace of our Lord, with her loving family by her side, on the morning of January 4th, 2024, in Albert Lea, MN.
Velma was born July 17th, 1930, in McIntosh, SD to Bessie and Hayes Strampher. She was the second oldest of eight children. The majority of her childhood was spent in Keldron, SD. Later in her teens the family moved to Lemmon, SD. There she graduated High School and got her first job at Nick’s Produce. This is where she met Werner and as the story goes - Velma accepted his eager courting pursuits and said yes to a date. The rest is a beautiful history that began with their wedding on June 16th, 1952. Werner and Velma created a life together on the rugged and often unforgiving prairies of North Dakota. As a devoted team they worked tirelessly at farming, ranching and raising a family of eight. After all the children were grown, Velma began her new career of caring for others as a nursing assistant at the Good Samaritan home in Mott, ND. She continued this career after moving to Clarks Grove, MN - working at both Good Samaritan and Saint John’s nursing homes in Albert Lea, MN.
Velma was a very gifted and generous lady - not only was she able to run a household full of young children, she also managed the business side of farming and was Werner’s supportive partner in all aspects of their endeavors together. Values that Mom possessed, and we admired most, were her charitable nature, graciousness, resiliency and selflessness. She prayed, loved and helped her children through thick and thin. Her message to us was to, “always do the right thing.” She listened more than she talked, and when she had something to say - you paid attention. Many of us endearingly still use some of her words of wisdom; such as - “You are what your parents make you, but it’s your own fault if you stay that way”; “Can’t never did anything”; “Many hands make light work”; “Bloom where you are planted”; “This too shall pass”; and “That will go over like a fart in church” - are just a few of our favorites.
Velma leaves us with many wonderful thoughts and memories. The sparkle in her eye and her capacity to appreciate life’s irony enabled her to laugh easily. Velma enjoyed birds, gardening, reading and crocheting. She crocheted many prayer shawls and donated them to local prayer shawl ministries and nursing care centers. She enjoyed traveling with Werner and they spent many hours on the beaches of Florida combing for perfect seashells. When her grandchildren were young, she enjoyed watching them grow and shared in taking care of them. Velma never missed a beat when it came to local, national and world events. She always enjoyed good conversations on many topics, and held fast in faith, hope and prayer for the future.
Velma we are deeply grateful for having you as a Mother, Grandmother, Sister, Aunt and Friend. A part of us goes with you. Your spirit and strength will remain within us until we meet again. (1st Corinthians 13:7) Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Velma is survived by her seven children, Valerie Budd (Paul), Howard Zent (Jenny), Renee Zent Ruble, Richard Zent (Gwen), Donald Zent (Priscilla), Jacqueline Zent (Joseph), Deanna Zent; fourteen grandchildren; twenty great grandchildren; and a sister, Bonnie Sams.
She was preceded in death by husband, Werner; daughter, Kimberly; son in-law, Daniel McDowell; parents, Hayes and Bessie Strampher; sisters, Mary and Iona; and brothers, Charles, Oliver, Howard and Earl.
A memorial Service will be held Saturday, January 27, 2024, at Bonnerup Funeral & Cremation Service, located at 2210 East Main Street, Albert Lea, MN 56007. Visitation will begin at 11:00 am, and the service will commence at 12:00 pm. Lunch will be served following the service. Internment at Saint Theodore Cemetery, Lakewood Avenue, Albert Lea, MN, will follow the luncheon.
The family wishes to thank Thorne Crest Nursing Care Center and Mayo Hospice for their exemplary care, kindness and love they showed to Velma.
In lieu of flowers the family wishes that donations be made to your favorite charity in Velma’s memory.