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LaVerne Lee Janzen Brooks, 87, beloved Wife, Mother, Mother-in-law, Grandmother, and Gigi went home to her Savior Jesus on April 8, 2017. She was born on November 11, 1929 in Weatherford, OK to Cornelius and Anna Flaming Janzen. She is survived by her husband of 61 years, William Brooks; daughters Nancy Myers & Diane Cloud (Doug) all of Albuquerque; grandchildren Brianna Myers & Taylor Myers of Brooklyn, NY, Carly Floyd (Luke) of Albuquerque, Melanie Mudge (Josh) of Durango, CO, & Mandy Underwood (Josh) of Dillon, CO; great-grandchildren Judah, Alexander, Hazel, and Josie Floyd (due May 2). She is also survived by 4 beloved siblings, sisters Hulda Nickel (104) of San Luis Obispo, CA, Hilda Kayser (95) and Ruth Jones (90) both of Yukon, OK, and brother Fred Janzen (84) of Owasso, OK. She was predeceased by 3 brothers, Allen, Gus and Marvin Janzen and her first grandchild, Christopher Cloud.
In her own words from a Janzen Family Heritage Chronicle (1990):
"Mother always told me it was snowing the day I was born. We were living at the time on what we called the Schlichting Farm south of Weatherford, Oklahoma. There was a nurse to assist with my delivery by the name of Anna Neufeld and Mother always spoke very fondly of her.
"I remember a very happy childhood, playing with dolls and paper dolls was so much fun. Ruth and I had a large Shirley Temple paper doll we played with, and then also the Dionne Quintuplets. After we moved to Custer City, Fred and I would spend hours with our toy cars and trucks under the trees in the orchard. We built roads, covering them with silica (which we got from the pit just south of the farm), made bridges, putting water underneath, and, in general, just having fun.
"One of the earliest Christmases I remember was the year all of us together got a red wagon and we pulled it through the house, taking turns riding in it. That was also the year Dad bought us each an apple and orange, and I remember they tasted about as delicious as anything I had ever eaten.
"I started school at Springfield when we were living on the Baergen farm. It was a small country school in Washita County, Oklahoma, having all eight grades in one room and only one teacher. I took my first piano lessons at that time and just loved to play. We moved from there to Custer City in the middle of my fourth grade. I graduated from Custer City High School in 1948, then attended Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, Oklahoma for one semester. When Dr. Ward, a professor in the Business Department, approached me about going to work in Oklahoma City in the State Legislature for the District State Senator, Max Cook, Dad let me go, and I found I really enjoyed being a secretary. I worked there that session of the Legislature, and then attended the University of Oklahoma for a year.
"That summer I got a job in Enid at the Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company and, while there, began attending a small Baptist Church. My Sunday School teacher later became my wonderful mother-in-law. Bill and I were married in Enid on August 26, 1955. We moved to Norman where Bill graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1956. In 1956 we moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Bill went to work for Sandia National Laboratories as a physicist.
"We are blessed with two wonderful daughters, Nancy and Diane, and their families."
"We enjoy traveling, nearly every which way, but lately it's with our motor home. I enjoy baby-sitting my little grandchildren, sewing, singing in our church choir, and Bible Study Fellowship. I feel God has given me a wonderful life and family, and feel richly blessed."
Bill and LaVerne were almost inseparable, staying in close contact anytime they were apart even for an hour! They enjoyed traveling together in their RV from 1984 until 2015, through all states (except Hawaii), including Alaska twice, and most of the Canadian provinces They made numerous close friends in their travels, returning year after year to Arizona and California for weeks at a time, LaVerne often playing the piano for weekly RV park church services.
LaVerne has been an active member of Hoffmantown Church since 1957. She sang in the church choir, often holding hands with her sister Ruth Jones by her side for more than 30 years. LaVerne also really enjoyed working with the students, teaching 9th grade girls in Sunday School for 25 years and was a Revelation Choir sponsor with Bill from 1976 to 1980, chaperoning choir tours to Seattle, Durango, San Antonio, and San Diego.
LaVerne loved being active, whether gardening, shopping with her daughters, designing and sewing numerous keepsake aprons, playing the piano, singing, 4-wheeling with Bill in southern Colorado, visiting with friends and family, making weekly calls to all her siblings and various nieces, nephews, and friends, and especially cooking delicious meals and setting beautiful tables for her family. Throughout her life she was always up for adventure: playing high school basketball, water skiing, hiking, playing games, and even snow-shoeing and sledding in her 80s. She served and loved people in any way she could and had the most amazing ability to make anyone she encountered feel special, because they truly were to her. LaVerne truly brought light, energy, and lots of fun wherever she went, and by all accounts was one of the sweetest people anyone has ever met.
LaVerne cherished being a wife and mother and was a homemaker until her daughters were in high school, when she became a teacher's aide in the Business Department at Eldorado High School for several years. After this she became the Music Secretary at Hoffmantown Church for about 10 years until she retired the day her first granddaughter Carly was