Fri, Sept. 25

February 19, 2006

Velma M. Klassen

Velma Meckley Klassen, 87, of Sunrise Vista in Cornville, died Feb. 12, 2006.

She was born in Junita Gap, Pa., to Clarence and Martha Maurer Meckley on April 17, 1918.

She is survived by her son, Leroy Klassen, his wife Sandra and son Nigel; a sister, Marian Belcher; in-laws, Rudy and Allene Klassen, Orlando and Lee Klassen, Della Klassen; and 27 nieces and nephews.

She attended high school in Altoona, Pa., graduating in 1936. She graduated from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science with a degree in bacteriology in 1940. That same year she came to Ganado Mission on the Navajo Reservation to work at Sage Memorial Hospital as a Medical Laboratory Technician.

She met Johnnie Klassen at Ganado and they were married on April 2, 1955, on the windiest day of the year.

After leaving Ganado, they lived in Kansas for a period of 14 years. In 1986 they returned to Arizona, moving to Cottonwood.

She loved to sing and play the piano and was a member of the church choirs wherever she went. She enjoyed hiking (including the Grand Canyon) and camping activities with friends and family. She was gifted in knitting, needlepoint and quilt-making. Her cathedral window quilt was a blue-ribbon winner at the fair.

In spite of her disability in her later years, she kept a gentle and sweet spirit and was loved by family, friends and caregivers.

There will be a Memorial Service at the Verde Valley Presbyterian Church on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 10:30 a.m.

All donations please send to: Verde Valley Presbyterian Church, 1500 E. Hombre Drive, Cottonwood AZ 86326

An online guest book is available at

Robert P. LaPort

Robert Paul La Port, 83, of Cornville, died at home on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2006.

He was born on July 14, 1922, in Turtle Lake, Wis., to David and Katherine LaPort. Robert grew up in Spooner, Wis., and the surrounding area, and he remained in the area, until he enlisted into the military in 1942.

Robert came home to Spooner on military leave and little did he know that this leave from duty would forever change his life. It was during this time at home that he met and married the love of his life, Jeanne Marilyn Galligan.

Robert made his career in the U.S. Navy. He and Jeanne were stationed in San Diego, where they raised their children. During his time with the Navy, he served his country during World War II and the Korean War. Upon his retirement from the military in 1968, he and Jeanne decided to remain in San Diego. He was always proud to carry the respectful title of U.S. Retired Navy Veteran.

Robert then gained employment with PSA (Pacific Southwest Airlines), where he devoted another 10 years of his life. It was in 1978 that Robert took his retirement from PSA, and he and his adored wife moved back home to Spooner, Wis., where he could be close to his very elderly mother, as well as other family members, on both sides of their families.

Upon arriving back home, he personally built, for him and Jeanne, the most beautiful home on Casey Lake, and if that wasn't enough, he then filled this home with his magnificent hand-made woodwork.

Their time spent in Spooner was remarkable. If they weren't traveling, they were keeping busy around their home with chores and hobbies. Robert enjoyed many a day fishing on the Lake, and he always grew the most extravagant garden.

In 1995 he and Jeanne decided to move once again, making their final home in Cornville. Here they were fortunate enough to be near two of their daughters and their families.

Once again, Robert and Jeanne filled their time with travels, and he continued in his gardening and woodworking. He built the most gorgeous pond and waterfall in the backyard of his home.

Upon losing his bride of 62 years, life again for Robert would never be the same ... and so, just short of 11 months later, he went to meet her. Also waiting to greet him are his two sons, John T. LaPort and Robert P. LaPort; and many other family members.

He leaves behind five daughters, Sheryl Lajeunesse with husband, Paul, of Cornville, Kathleen LaPort, also of Cornville, Marilyn LaPort of Cicero, Ind., Barbara Harroun with husband, William, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Diana Vigil with husband, Michael, of San Diego; his daughter-in-law, Mitzie LaPort of Oxnard, Calif.; nine adored grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, as well as his brother, Herbert LaPort with wife, Barbara, of West Plains, Mo.; and his sisters, Kathleen Lichtamer, with husband, Bobby, of San Diego, and Ruth Pfundheller of Spooner, Wis.

In memory of Robert, Memorial Services are tentatively scheduled for sometime this spring in Ashland, Wis.

An online guestbook is available at

Mary B. Lambard

Mary B. Lambard, 94, of Cottonwood, died Feb. 16, 2006. She was born on April 15, 1911, to Michael and Julia (Kilko) Slota in Cadiz, Ohio. As a young adult, she spent most of her life in Cleveland, Ohio, and the surrounding area. She was always very socially active and she was a member of the St. Theodosius Women's Society. It was also in Cleveland that she met and married Walter Bobkivich in 1933.

Mary worked for Texaco, as a clerk, and dedicated herself to this position and company until she took her retirement.

Mary was a very independent woman, even after Walter passed in 1966. She always took care of her own affairs and never relied on her family or friends for anything to sustain her ... except for their love, and so, following Walter's passing she did move to Virginia, and then on to Maryland, to be closer to her son and his family.

The time she spent in Maryland was a good time in her life, as she loved her family deeply, and by this time in her life, they were her only priority.

She was also fortunate enough to enjoy some worldwide traveling; she went on a couple of fantastic cruises and she visited Germany.

In the mid-'70s Mary came to Arizona to housesit for her sister and fell in love with the desert. She has called it home ever since. It was later that her son and daughter-in-law moved here to be closer to her.

Mary was very gifted with her knitting and crocheting, and made many beautiful articles. She loved playing Bingo, and she enjoyed going to the casino.

Mary is preceded in death by all four of her brothers; Steve, Alex, Al, and John, as well as their spouses. She is also preceded by a grandson (in-law), Gray Ford.

Mary leaves behind her dear son, Richard Lambard with his loving wife, Joan, of Cottonwood; her sweet sister, Anne Dykstra of Bodfish, Calif.; three adored grandchildren, Alison Ford of Fallston, Md., David Lambard with his wife, Joan, of Baltimore, Md., and Gregory Lambard with his wife, Carol, of Yardley, Pa; and three precious great-grandchildren, Derek and Alexandria (Alison's children) and Calli (Gregory's daughter).

She will be missed dearly by all who knew mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister and friend.

An online guestbook is available at

Harold Edwin Richards

Harold Edwin Richards, 84, resident of Cornville, passed away Feb. 16, 2006. He was born on Sept. 4, 1921, to Ivan and Hulda (Westie) Richards in Detroit, Mich., where he lived his entire life.

Harold served his country during World War II as a sergeant in the United States Air Force. While he was stationed in Australia, he met and married Margaret "Peggy" Turner.

When it was time for Harold to return to the states, he was not able to come back with his sweet wife and infant daughter. It seemed a long awaited reunion when they were finally able to settle down back in his hometown of Detroit.

After his time in the military, Harold found employment with Ford Motors, where he started out as a tool and dye maker. Throughout his career with Ford Motor, Harold worked in various capacities that enabled him to be involved in many significant advancements in the auto industry. By the time he took his retirement, he had been supervisor for many years.

After his retirement, he and Peggy decided to make one final move. In 1982, they moved to Arizona and made their home in Cornville so they could be closer to their children, granddaughter and great-grandchildren.

They settled in Oak Creek Valley, where Harold was a member of the board. Although he did keep busy around the community and at home, and though occasionally he would go over to Clarkdale and play a good game of golf on the greens, Harold's time was devoted to his family. The time spent with them was where he found his deepest enjoyment.

Harold leaves behind his devoted wife of 60 years, Margaret "Peggy", of Oak Creek Valley in Cornville; his only grandchild and adored granddaughter, Maree Bradshaw, with husband, John, of Sedona; and two cherished great-grandchildren, Jillian and Mason Bradshaw.

An online guest book is available at

James Robert Derrick

James Robert Derrick, 95, of Cornville died Feb. 17, 2006. He was born July 2, 1910, near the Pfau Mine northeast of Cherry, to Frank and Lou Derrick. He was one of seven children.

Jim spent all his life in the Verde Valley. He attended school in Cornville and Clarkdale. After school he went to work on a "fence gang," building range fences for the Benedict Ranch. Following that he worked at the Salt Mine in Camp Verde where he drove mule teams. From there he went to work for Bill Clark, son of the founder of Clarkdale, helping develop the Cottonwood Airport. During the depression he mined gold with his brothers in the hills south of Jerome. Jim worked for the Clarkdale Smelter in the Powerhouse and Assay Office. While working for Jerome Utilities, he began training as a carpenter. During his career as a carpenter he helped to build the Clarkdale Cement Plant, worked on many valley highway projects, as well as many residences around the Verde Valley including the home that he and his wife have lived in for 46 years. Jim retired as a member of the local Carpenter's Union. After retiring he spent many hours gardening, woodworking and carving. His family will treasure the many beautiful pieces of art that he created.

Jim is survived by his wife of 65 years Margaret; his brother Joe, 98, as well as his five children: James Derrick (Alice), Maureen Justus (Bob), Peggy Moore (Dale), Dan Derrick (Sue) and Ron Derrick. Jim was also blessed with nine grandchildren: Rob, Joe, Laura, Sharon, Becky, Tracy, Jesse, Craig, and Erin and seven great-grandchildren: Sean, Bria, Isiah, Gabrielle, Noah, Katelyn, Carter and Gavin. Jim also leaves behind many nieces, nephews and good friends. Above all, family was most important to Jim. He spent much of his time with his family, to whom he passed on his love of the outdoors. His life was filled with hunting and fishing and during his 94th year, he went on his last successful Elk hunt with sons Jim and Dan. Jim loved to tell stories of the early days in the Verde Valley. His local knowledge of events and places was a living history of an area he truly loved.

Graveside services are planned for 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, at Cottonwood Cemetery. A celebration of Jim's life will follow the service.

Westcott Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

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