Velma Irene (Lauritsen) James passed away on April 18th, 2019 at home in Hood River, Oregon. Velma was born on December 06, 1919 and was 99 years of age at the time of her passing.
She was born in Wolsey, South Dakota on December 6, 1919 to parents, Frank and Jo Hannah Thorpe.
The family moved to Wilmot, South Dakota in 1928 where they lived on a farm. Growing up on
the farm held many fond memories of family and friends for Velma. She was trained at a very
young age to clean house, washing laundry by hand and ironing everything, cook hearty meals
and can fruits and vegetables from the very large garden they grew. She proudly passed her
cooking and canning skills on to all her children. Velma rode her horse five miles to a country
school through 8th grade and graduated from Wilmot High School in 1937.
Velma married to Ernest E. Lauritsen in March 1938. They had two children in Wilmot, a daughter,
Valoris and son, Morris, and then they moved to Yacolt, Washington in 1943. A job in the woods brought
them to Dee Flat, OR in 1944, where they had four more children; Tony, Lance, Renee, and
Kerry. From there they moved to Odell, OR in 1960 and then to Hood River in 1970. Ernest passed
away in September 1977. Velma married John James in June 1980. John passed away in August
Velma was a strong, hard-working, devoted wife and mother with a dry sense of humor and quick
wit. Her family knew they could count on her in times of need. Velma worked as a short order
cook for 27 years at various places including; Dee Elementary School, Fern's Cafe in Odell,
Diamond Fruit cafeteria, and she retired from the American Legion Club after twelve years in 1982.
She was well known around town for her down-home cooking and delicious pies.
She never learned to drive and always had to depend on others to take her places. But one day in
1966, she decided she wanted to be more independent and enlisted her 16 year old son, Kerry, to
teach her to drive. She drove about a mile down the road through Odell, pulled over to the side
of the road and said, "I've had enough, this is too scary." That's the last time she sat behind the
wheel of a car.
Velma loved the Lord all of her life and was very active in the church. She attended Mt. View
Baptist Church in Dee Flat, Odell Baptist Church and Tucker Road Baptist Church.
She is survived by her son, Kerry (wife Cindy) Lauritsen; daughter-in-law Becky Lauritsen; her
sister Fran; eleven grandchildren; seventeen great grandchildren; and twelve great-great
grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, three brothers, one sister, two
husbands, three sons, two daughters and one grandson.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 18 at Tucker Road Baptist Church (1455 Tucker Road Hood River, OR). A potluck reception will follow.
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson's Tribute Center (Funerals • Receptions • Cremations) 1401 Belmont Avenue, Hood River, Oregon 97031. Visit www.AndersonsTributeCenter.com to leave a note of condolence for the family.