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Velda Heckenlaible

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Velda C. Heckenlaible, age 81 of Menno, S.D., passed away on Saturday, April 20, 2019 at the Menno-Olivet Care Center in Menno. A funeral service was held Thursday, April 25 at Peace Christian Reformed Church in Menno, with the Rev. Steven Moerman officiating. Burial followed in the Menno Cemetery. 

Velda Heckenlaible was born to Robert and Alice (Descombaz) Schlechter on June 6, 1937, on the family farm near Kaylor, S.D. She was baptized and confirmed at the First Congregational Church in Scotland, S.D. She attended Brown Country School and Scotland High School, graduating in 1955. After high school, Velda worked as a telephone operator until she was united in marriage to Glenn Heckenlaible on April 28, 1957. They moved to Glenn’s family farm in rural Menno where they raised four children.

Over the years, Velda held various jobs in Menno and Freeman, S.D.: Pine Hill Printery, Fensel’s Greenhouse, Freeman Community Hospital, Prairie Town Plaza and the Dairy Bar. In 1977 she attended Cliff Mann Floral Design School in Denver, Colo., and then opened a small flower shop on the farm. Years later, she continued to develop her skills and spent a month in Portland, Ore., with her twin sister attending a floral training program there. For 18 years she designed flowers for various community functions and established an excellent business for wedding flowers. 

Music was a big part of Velda’s life. She used her singing talents for many weddings. She also used her talents to serve her God, singing in the church sextet, church trio, duets and solos, directing various choirs and playing the church organ for 30 years until her health made it no longer possible. She served as a Sunday school teacher and was a member of the Ladies’ Aide, holding various offices over the years. She also joined an extension club in 1965 and had remained a faithful member ever since. In recent years, the highlight of her life was attending school and sporting events to support her grandchildren and great-grandson. She loved visiting with people and had a heart for those in need, offering her support and prayers.

Left to cherish her memory are her husband of 61 years, Glenn; her children: Cynthia Heckenlaible, Wayne (Shelly) Heckenlaible, Arlys Heckenlaible and Robert (Stephanie) Heckenlaible; grandchildren: Carmen Heckenlaible, Cory (Cindy) Heckenlaible, Paige Heckenlaible and Madelyn Heckenlaible; great-grandson, Aiden Heckenlaible; sisters, Geraldine (Leroy) Herrboldt and Verletta Egan; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Elmer and Verna Zeeb; sister-in-law, Darlene Heckenlaible; brother-in-law, Calvin Herrboldt; many nieces and nephews and many friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Alice Schlechter; in-laws Edwin and Albina Heckenlaible; sister Marilyn Herrboldt; brother-in-law Neil Egan; nephew Scott Herrboldt; great-nephews Joseph Herrboldt and Kyle Comeau, and infant daughter Carmen June.