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1931 Verna 2020

Verna Mae Sohl

April 28, 1931 — May 28, 2020

Verna Mae Sohl passed away peacefully Thursday, May 28, 2020, at the age of 89 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She was the middle daughter of ten children born to August Behrens and Marie Woelber of George, Iowa. Verna leaves behind her husband of 64 years, Robert, her children Lisa (David) Roth, Paul (Kathryn), and Sarah. She was the beloved grandmother of August, Olivia, Luke, Sophia, Erin, Amanda and Kate. Her surviving siblings are brother William Behrens, and sisters Wilma Ransom and Betty Schisel. She was preceded in death by siblings Walter, Frances, Arnold, Harley, Vernon, Elmer and son-in-law Curtis Post.

Verna grew up on a farm in the northwest corner of Iowa during the Great Depression. She attended a country schoolhouse with a handful of children from nearby farms. At home with eight siblings, she had many jobs including churning butter and collecting eggs from the chicken coop every day. Sunday was a welcome day off from household chores, and Verna enjoyed the opportunity to dress up and meet friends from neighboring farms at St. Paul Lutheran Church. One Sunday morning “Legs Behrens” caught the eye of an older boy named Bob Sohl, and a 70 year love story began.

Ever curious, young Verna had aspirations of life beyond the farm. Determined to earn a college degree after high school, she worked in a newspaper office to pay for her studies at Wartburg College. Following her graduation in 1952, Verna taught first grade in rural Iowa. Meanwhile, the Korean War was raging. Boyfriend Bob enlisted in the Air Force and was sent to Okinawa Japan, telling Verna “not to wait for him.” Two years later Bob returned and the sweethearts were married in June 1955 among the peonies at the church where they first met.

As a teacher, education was Verna’s passion. Verna made it clear to her young husband that she wanted a ‘college man’ and found Bob an application to Iowa State University. Bob got the message and earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering (ISU 1961) and MBA from MIT in 1969. As Bob recalls it, Verna worked so he could go to school.

As Bob’s career with Deere & Company advanced, Verna never lost her rural roots. She loved gardening and anything that brought her close to nature. While living near Clemson, South Carolina, Verna developed a butterfly garden with the students at Code Elementary School. Bob dug the trenches for the sprinkler system while Verna taught the children how to plant and care for the flowers they selected. Thereafter, Verna was lovingly known throughout the school as the “Butterfly Lady”.

Verna never lost her zest for life. She had her own sense of fashion, whether it was decorating a lunch box to carry as a purse, canning 50 quarts of homegrown tomatoes or dying her hair carrot orange. She loved being outdoors; hanging laundry on the clothesline, riding a bike and trailer at 5AM to help her young son deliver newspapers or running the last six miles of the Boston Marathon - at age 60 - with her daughter.

In 2013, Verna and Bob moved to the Montereau retirement community in Tulsa, OK. During these twilight years, Verna and Bob’s lifetime of love and unwavering faith continued to shine. They were inseparable...riding bikes side-by-side, walking their favorite pathways hand-in-hand or simply reading the newspaper together while sipping coffee. Verna graced all she encountered with her sweet smile, fierce determination and gentle spirit. And in return, she was blessed with a community of family, friends and staff who genuinely loved and cared for her every step of her journey.

A celebration of Verna’s life will be held at a later date. Donations in her memory may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org or to Fellowship Lutheran Church at www.flctulsa.org/give

Arrangements are entrusted to Schaudt's Tulsa Funeral Service & Cremation Care. Family and friends may send memories and condolences to the family online at www.schaudtfuneralservice.com

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Verna Mae Sohl, please visit our flower store.

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