Velma A. Harlan

Velma A. (Cobb) Harlan 1923-2015

Funeral services for Velma Harlan, Plano, TX (formerly of Lawrence, KS) will be held at 1:00 p.m. Thursday, August 20, 2015, at Warren-McElwain Mortuary. Her burial celebrating her life will follow at Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence, KS. The family will greet friends at noon, one hour prior to the service.

Our loving and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother passed away Wednesday, August 5, 2015, in Plano, TX at the age of 92. Velma was born May 26, 1923, in Lawrence, KS and was the youngest of twelve children born to Francis E. Cobb and Laurain (Snow) Cobb. She married Willis “Bill” Harlan on December 22, 1943. They shared 71 years together. Surviving to honor her memory are her beloved three children, Gary S. Harlan of Denver, CO, Marsha B. Johnson of McKinney, TX and W. Michael Harlan of Plano, TX and their families, including five grandchildren, two great grandsons, nieces and nephews. Her husband, parents, seven sisters and four brothers, preceded her in death.

Raised on a nearby farm, Velma graduated from Lawrence High School in 1940. After high school she worked for a short time for Skelly Oil Company in Kansas City, MO. She met a young Naval officer, Bill Harlan, and married him in Glendale, CA. After the war, they settled first in Little Rock, AK then moved to Springfield, MO, Detroit, MI, St. Louis, MO, Wichita, KS and Bay Point FL before retiring to Lawrence KS in 1985.

Velma was a kind, gentle mother who blessed everyone with her loving spirit and the sweetest of smiles. Her life centered on caring for her family and friends. Her greatest gift to others was her incredible loving heart. She was selflessly devoted to her husband, her children and her large extended family. She made many personal sacrifices to ensure her loved ones were well cared for, educated and happy. She and her eleven siblings were very close and enjoyed many vacations and wonderful large family gatherings. In her early years, she loved music, singing and dancing (including competition pairs roller skating). She was a member of the Sweet Adeline’s International choral group in Springfield, MO. She was a member of the First Methodist Church in Springfield, MO and a member of the Asbury Methodist Church in Wichita, KS.

During her long life, she courageously battled serious health issues, but always maintained her loving heart and faith. While profoundly deaf for the last forty years of her life, she found joy in simple visual pleasures: flowers and nature, car trips, crossword puzzles and, surprisingly, KU basketball (she knew all of the players’ names). But her greatest joy was being with her family. She always shared her loving heart with all that knew her.

The family suggests memorials in her name to the National Association for the Deaf or the National Alliance For Mental Illness (NAMI). Donations may be sent in care of the Warren-McElwain Mortuary.

1 Condolences

  1. Susie Darbonne on August 13, 2015 at 4:06 pm


    So sorry to learn of your mother’s passing. Please know that you and your family are in our prayers. Wade and I are here to help you if you need us.

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