Service


Date:

January 18, 2020

Start Time:

11:00 a.m.

Location:

Merle Hay Funeral Home

Address:

4400 Merle Hay Road
Des Moines, Iowa

Arrangements By:

Merle Hay Funeral Home

Visitation


Date:

January 18, 2020

Start Time:

10:00 a.m. until service time at 11:00 a.m.

Location:

Merle Hay Funeral Home

Address:

4400 Merle Hay Road

Velda Jean Brown

Velda Jean DeLapp was born on the 23rd of September 1921 on her grandmother’s farm close to Confidence, Iowa. She was the first-born and later there was a sister, Zelma and a brother Ernie. The farm was later lost in the depression and so she and her family moved to Chariton, Iowa on 5 acres located between the Burlington and Rock Island railroad tracks. She graduated from Chariton High School and following her 18th birthday decided to move to Des Moines, Iowa for work. Her first work was caring for a heart patient. After his death, his wife asked Velda to work in the family business at Life Brand Feed and Liberty Oil. She did secretary duties and posted labels. She worked there until her marriage on February 21st, 1944 to Orville Theodore Brown Jr. from Sharpsburg, Iowa. After marriage they farmed on farms in Southern Iowa. A son, Doyle Dean, was born in 1946. The marriage ended in 1950 and Velda and her son came to Des Moines to live. Velda, as a single mother, worked at American Farmer’s Mutual Insurance Company, as a typist and administrative work. She was there for 9 years. During that time, she walked the 2 miles to and from work in all weather. Her son would often say to her after she had walked home, that the best thing they could do was to go for a nice long walk, which she would do. Following the 9 years at American Farmer’s Mutual Insurance Company, Velda was employed at Ohio Casualty Insurance Company for 32 years. Her duties started as administrative, but later she became the first woman claims adjuster in her office, which she did until she retired. While she could retire at 65 from the company, she remained working until she was 73.

She worked in the insurance business for 41 years. Velda’s son, Doyle, was in the Air Force and she visited him and his family in various places in the United States, Europe, and Australia. She lived in the Pleasant Manor apartments in Urbandale for 30 years. At the age of 93, Velda decided it was time to stop living alone and moved to Bickford Cottage in West Des Moines. Velda loved to walk. She didn’t have a car until she was 72 years old. Part of the reason she chose Bickford Cottage was that she could walk around the facility every day. Velda had a strong work ethic an didn’t’ believe in complaining about life’s pressures. She believed everyone should be treated with dignity. Velda was a rational person. She decided when it was time to limit her driving, stop driving, and stop living alone. Velda didn’t understand people who went to the doctor and then did not follow their advice. She would often say, “if you go to the doctor and then don’t do what they tell you, why did you go and waste your money?” Velda loved to read and when her eyes failed her and there was no option to make them better, it was very hard on her. Her body might have failed in many ways, but her mind remained intact, which she was very thankful. Velda was a member of the Glen Echo Christian Church and her relationship with the church and its members was a very special part of her life. Velda was honored to have the friendship of her friend, Juanita Legget for over 65 years. Velda left this life on January 11th, 2020. She is remembered with love, respect, and admiration by all that knew her in life’s journey. She will continue to be a light to follow by her family and friends.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 18, 2020, at the Merle Hay Funeral Home, 4400 Merle Hay Road, Des Moines, Iowa. Visitation will be one hour prior to the funeral service starting at 10:00 a.m.

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