Velma Delphine Boettcher Skelley passed away Jan 7, 2020

Velma Delphine Boettcher Skelley of St. Joseph, Michigan, died peacefully at her home in Dowagiac on January 7, 2020.

A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday, January 11, 2020 at 11:00 A.M. at First Presbyterian Church, 475 Green Ave., Benton Harbor, MI with Pastor Scott Paul-Bonham officiating. Friends may visit with the family Friday, January 10, 2020 from 5:00-7:00 P.M. at the funeral home and one hour prior to the service on Saturday at the church. Memorial contributions may be may to Caring Circle Hospice, the Good Fellow Fund or the Berrien County Association of Churches Street Ministries. Those wishing to leave an online condolence may do so at

Velma was born in Anamoose, North Dakota, on July 5, 1933. She graduated from Benton Harbor High School in 1951, attended Western Michigan College, and graduated from Michigan State University in 1955 with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.

Velma taught second grade in the Warren, Michigan and Benton Harbor school districts. Beginning in 1973, Berrien Hills Country Club became her “home”. Originally hired as the hostess, she expanded that position to banquet manager and retired in 2002.

Velma had a rich spiritual life. She was a member of the First Congregational Church in Benton Harbor and was actively involved teaching Sunday School and participating in countless church committees until its closure. She then became a member of Fairplain Presbyterian Church, where she taught Sunday School, and later transferred her membership to First Presbyterian Church, Benton Harbor.

Service was always a central part of Velma’s life. She was a member of the Twin Cities Exchange Club and Alpha Beta Epsilon. Over the years, she volunteered at Street Ministries of Berrien County Association of Churches, Church Women United, Capstone Family Center, Blossomtime Inc., and the Soup Kitchen. She mentored for Peace Partners and led Girl Scouts troops for a number of years.

Above all, Velma found joy in her lifelong friends and family. She never met a stranger and delighted in sharing stories with anyone and everyone! She also enjoyed her collections of bells, Santa Clauses, and John Deere tractors.

Velma’s family was the most important part of her life, and she spent as much time as possible with them. She taught her family a number of practical skills, chief among them being how to set a formal dinner table and the proper use of adverbs. She adored her grandchildren and took special pleasure in getting to know her great-grandchildren.

Velma is survived by three daughters, Kim (Jerry) Klinke of Stevensville, Michigan, Elizabeth (Rev. Dr. Christopher) Momany of Dowagiac, Michigan, and Patty (Craig) Hopkins of St. Joseph, Michigan; siblings Emerson (Joanne) Boettcher, Gordon (Sandra) Boettcher, and Sharon (Henry) Schaus; sister-in-law Claire (Hulbert) Boettcher; thirteen grandchildren Kara (Brandon) Antal, Megan Cushman, Kevin (Annie) Klinke, Christopher Momany, Hannah (Phillip) Cushman Garland, Jake (Catherine) Hopkins, Paige Cushman, Gracie Hopkins, and Zach Hopkins; great-grandchildren Abigail Antal, Cecilia Klinke, and Charlie Hopkins; many nieces and nephews; and her beloved cat, Birt. 

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