Velma lived on a farm in Kansas until 1925 when the family moved to a farm six miles north of Mountain Grove, Missouri. She went to grade school at the one-room Willow Springs School, then graduated from Mountain Grove High School in 1937. Shortly after graduation she moved to St. Louis, Missouri, and graduated from Excello Beauty School. Velma worked in St. Louis at the Carter Carburetor Corporation for five years during World War II.
She then moved to Montpelier, Ohio, and was united in marriage to Earl “Carl” Wiyrick on March 10, 1946. Three daughters were born to this union, Velda Carol, Brenda Carla and Debra Carleen.
In 1953 Velma and Carl moved their young family to Cabool, Missouri, and began building Wells Motel, one unit at a time. They dug and hauled the native rock from her childhood farm north of Mountain Grove and did most of the construction themselves. They sold the motel in 1957 and opened Car-Vel’s Clothing and Gifts. Velma kept it packed from floor to ceiling, offering a large selection of household items, clothing for the entire family and assorted gifts. She kept it open for 33 years until 1990.
In 1960 Velma and Carl bought a bowling alley in Moberly, Missouri, and moved it, rebuilding it into Cabool Bowl, which they sold in 1975. Also during the same time period, they bought, remodeled and sold many homes in Cabool.
As long as her health permitted, she enjoyed membership with Cabool Chamber of Commerce, Cabool Revitalization Group, Arts and Crafts Club, Cabool Art Club, and Cabool Christian Church.
Velma loved to travel. Because of always working, she didn’t take a lot of trips, but she squeezed a lot of traveling and enjoyment into each trip she took. She visited 18 European countries, northern Africa, Mexico, Canada, and almost every state in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. She loved her trips to Branson and the theatre, card games, craft projects, and entertaining friends. The home she designed and built with Carl was her pride and joy. She loved decorating it and working in her yard with her flowers, shrubs and garden.
Velma is survived by her three daughters, Velda Carol Keay and husband Curt of Covington, Louisiana, Brenda Carla Wingerter and husband Dennis of Labadie, Missouri, and Debra Carleen Fox and husband Danny of Cabool; eight grandchildren, Courtney Keay, Cindy Wicker, Bryan Keay, Tony Wingerter, Sandy Hanneken, Carvella Bennett, Shayna Peery and Raegan Fox; 12 great-grandchildren, Brandon Keay, Brooke Wicker, Jacob and Justin Wingerter, Tyler and Johanna Hanneken, Alex, Adam and Abby Bennett, Emma and Hartley Bassett, and Cohen Peery.
No services were held per her wishes. Burial was at Willow Springs Cemetery north of Mountain Grove on Monday, June 25, 2012, under the direction of Elliott-Gentry-Carder Funeral Home of Cabool.
Online condolences may be made at www.egcfuneralhome.com.