Velma K. Kingsley
Velma Katherine Kingsley, 97, died at 7:00 a.m. on Friday, December 20, 2013 at Frieda House in Bluffton, Ohio. She was born on September 30, 1916 in Topeka to John and Grace (Plank) Emmert. She was married on September 1, 1940 to Leonard D. Kingsley.
Nurturing children, both in her family life and her teaching career, was the passion of her life. To both of these spheres she brought great creativity and enthusiasm. Her early teaching career was interrupted by her whole-hearted embrace of motherhood. She later homeschooled some of her eight children when the family lived in Kupang, Timor, Indonesia.
After her retirement from formal teaching, she hosted families and school groups on “Your Day-Off Farm” at Adrian, Michigan, where she shared hobbies, books and animals. Many international students benefitted from her volunteer service teaching English. Her dedication to service to others led her to serve as a hospice visitor, and, until she was 92, she also visited the “elderly” in nursing homes.
Church and community involvement were important to her wherever she lived. She connected with neighbors in the spirit of bringing folks together for fellowship and fun. She built a Peace Chapel at the farm, which was a favorite place to worship in a beloved natural setting.
Horses figured prominently in her life, from the draft horses and the pony shared with her twin sister, Vera, in her childhood, to a long line of horses, which she continued to ride into her eighties.
Her love of world travel started with a three-year church-related assignment for her and her husband and their seven (soon to be eight) children in Timor, Indonesia in the 1950s. Other travels took them to Africa, South and Central America, and again to Asia.
She will be remembered by numerous friends, neighbors and caregivers for her ready smile, cheerful disposition and unassuming wit.
She is survived by six sons, Phillip (Judith) Kingsley; and Mitchell (Ann) Kingsley, both of Bluffton, Ohio; Keith (Gretchen) Kingsley; and Karl (Karen) Kingsley, both of Elkhart; Matthew Kingsley of Lone Pine, California; and Frederick (Craig) Kingsley of Pewaukee, Wisconsin; and two daughters, Sue Ellen Kingsley (Terry Kinzel) of Hancock, Michigan; Jane Steinmetz of Bluffton, Ohio; 20 grandchildren; and 20 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband on June 5, 2012; four brothers, Roy Emmert; Howard Emmert; Arthur Emmert; and Paul Emmert; and two sisters, Evelyn Eash; and Vera Ulmer.
Visitation will be one and a half hours prior to the 11:00 a.m. memorial service on Saturday, March 8, 2014 at First Mennonite Church in Bluffton.
Memorials may be made to Heifer International (http://www.heifer.org) or to First Mennonite Church in Bluffton, Ohio.
Arrangements provided by Chiles-Laman Funeral and Cremation Services in Bluffton, Ohio. Online condolences may be made at www.chiles-lamanfh.com.