Velma Jean (Smith) Cooper, 96, of Tekamah NE

Velma Jean (Smith) Cooper was born December 16, 1920 to Orrin and Jennie (Hampton) Smith at their farm home northeast of Craig, Nebraska. She passed away April 21, 2017 at Memorial Community Hospital in Blair, Nebraska, at the age of 96 years.

Velma attended the Prairie View rural school, and then graduated from Craig High School. After one year at Dana College, she began teaching in rural schools.

On June 29, 1941 Velma married Phillip Cooper. They lived on a farm near Tekamah, then near Oakland, and later moved to a place near Decatur. After selling their farm, Phillip and Velma moved to Tekamah in 1991.

Their children Lee, Carol, Mike and Wayne were born during the years that she was an at-home mother. When all of the kids were old enough to attend school, she returned to teaching and to college classes; she graduated from Dana College in 1968. After several years teaching in rural schools, she taught in Bancroft; Whiting, Iowa and in Lyons. She taught for a total of 21 years.

Velma was a Sunday school teacher and helped with the music there. She volunteered in church, 4H and the county fair. She was a charter member and officer of the Northeastern Nebraska Genealogical Society and the Nebraska State Genealogical Society, and has helped hundreds of people with their family histories. In 1975 her interest in local history led to her ongoing work with the Burt County Museum. She walked cemeteries in Decatur and Craig to record and publish needed information for family histories and was instrumental in making that kind of book for Tekamah’s cemetery. She produced a history of the Prairie View neighborhood and helped to publish a history of the Lyons area and a Lyons cemetery book. Her other interests were flowers, crafts, music, painting, and in earlier years she and Phillip enjoyed dancing, especially square dancing.

She loved her family and they were her greatest interest.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Phillip; older brother, William O. Smith.

She is survived by her sons, Lee (Linda) Cooper of Council Bluffs, IA, Mike (Debra) Cooper of Pipestone, MN, Wayne (Karen) Cooper of Lipezk, Russia; daughter Carol (John) Kuhfahl of Blair, NE; 12 grandchildren; 24 great grandchildren; sisters, Marjorie (Smith) Johnson of Fremont, NE, Opal (Smith) Lofdahl of Tekamah, NE; brother, Dan (Elaine) Smith of Lyons.


Tuesday April 25th
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Pelan Funeral Services Tekamah1103 J Street
Tekamah, NE 68061

Family will receive friends 5-7 pm. Visitation will also be held one hour prior to service at the church.


Wednesday April 26th
11:00 AM
United Methodist Church, Tekamah1408 L Street
Tekamah, NE 68061

Cemetery Details


Herman Cemetery

Herman, Nebraska 68029

Memorial Contribution


319 N 13th Street
Tekamah, NE 68061

Velma Cooper

About katcountryhub
I am a graduate of Northeast Community College with a degree in journalism. I am married to Jeff Gilliland. We have two grown children, Justin and Whitney and four grandchildren, Grayce, Grayhm, Charli and Penelope. I will be covering Lyons, Decatur, Bancroft and Rosalie and am hoping to expand my horizons as time progresses!

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