Laveta Louise Edwards, 78, of Gordon, Nebraska, passed away Thursday, July 13 at Monument Hospital in Rapid City, SD. Known for her welcoming smile, infectious laugh, and joyful spirit, she will be dearly missed.
Laveta was born on November 5, 1944, at Gordon General Hospital to Leigh and Belle Dahlgren, the fourth of five children. The family had a homestead south of Merriman, NE. She and her siblings were born multitaskers, wearing their clothes in the nearby Niobrara river so they could take their baths and do their laundry at the same time. Laveta’s childhood was spent mowing hay, hunting jackrabbits, fishing, sleeping in the barnyard with her cousins, and enjoying many other shenanigans. She attended Rockford country school from kindergarten through eighth grade. She and her siblings, Jack and Oleta, would walk the mile and a half to school or Jack would serve as the girls’ personal chauffeur as they hung on to the tractor for dear life.
Laveta attended Merriman High School, where she participated in darn near everything. Known as “Beeter”, she was the starting server and star of the volleyball team and a member of the Pep Club all four years. She also dabbled in Chorus, Dramatics, Yearbook and Student Council (serving as President and Secretary-Treasurer). She worked in the superintendent’s office all through high school, attended ALA Girls State her Junior year, and was crowned Homecoming Queen and graduated Valedictorian of the Class of 1963. Her classmates predicted that Laveta would one day become the President of the United States.
After high school Laveta attended a trade school in Omaha, NE, and landed a job as a telegraph operator in New York City. She formed some lifelong friendships there, and had good times not only in New York, but also traipsing around Europe. After they had all the fun they could possibly have, Laveta moved back to Merriman to help her dad on his ranch. It wasn’t long before she headed to California to visit those party animals from New York. She decided to move to the Los Angeles area, formed even more lifelong friendships, and eventually met a handsome troublemaker named Irving Edwards at a picnic. She married him on June 26, 1971 and spent the next fifty-two years keeping him in line. They were blessed with two daughters: Laveta Belle in 1976 and Helen Lynnet in 1978. The family moved to Gordon, Nebraska in 1985.
Small town life didn’t slow Laveta down. She did bookkeeping for several businesses in town, including Irving’s auto repair shop, and opened her own H & R Block franchise there, eventually adding locations in Rushville, NE, and Pine Ridge and Martin, SD. An avid golfer and bowler, she became involved with the business side of both the Gordon Golf and Country Club and King Pin Lanes as a bookkeeper and league secretary. When each faced the threat of closing down, Laveta swooped in to save them. She was also active in the local D.A.R. Chapter and American Legion Auxiliary Unit. After she sold her businesses and retired, she began a life of ease managing King Pin Lanes. It has been said that if it wasn’t for Laveta, Gordon wouldn’t have any recreation.
Laveta’s survivors include her husband, Irving; daughters, Belle Edwards and Helen (Mike) Bouquet; sister, Oleta (Quincy) Skinner; grandchildren, Lily Edwards-Nipp and David and Jacob Bouquet; step-sons Christopher (Jean) Edwards and Irving Edwards; step- grandchildren Tarleton Marchant, Matthew (Anne) Edwards, Rozlyn Edwards, and Nicole, Christopher, Tarleton, and Michael Edwards; and step-great-grandchildren, Noah, Leo, and Max. She was preceded in death by siblings Bernita Safe and Arthur and Jack Dahlgren, and stepson Tarleton Edwards.
Services will be 10:00 a.m. Monday, July 24 at Gordon City Auditorium. Burial will be at the Gordon Cemetery, then a luncheon at the Gordon American Legion, please bring a salad or dessert if you are able.
A memorial has been established to benefit C.A.R.E. (Cancer ~ Awareness ~ Resource ~ Expenses). Donations can be sent in care of Chamberlain-Pier Funeral Home, P.O. Box 366, Gordon NE 69343.