LaVerna was born Jan. 3, 1934, in Mound City, S.D., to Edward and Pauline Ritter, one of six children. She parted this world on Jan. 8, surrounded by her family.
She married Clarence Stoick in 1954, in Yellowstone County, and they had three children before they divorced in 1967.
She met and married Nickolas Welter in 1970. Nick brought three children into the family. In 1975, they moved from Billings to a small farm near Laurel. They remodeled the old house, but fire leveled it in 1976, destroying many treasures and photos. They built a new home that we all call "our place."
A tragic car accident in 1984 claimed Nick's life and very nearly LaVerna's too, but she held on to life. Recovering slowly, doctors said she wouldn't walk again. She not only walked again, she thrived, enjoying many years of playing pinochle, socializing with her many friends, doing projects for the homeless, and even taking care of "old folks." Recently, however, her injuries began to take their toll.
She is survived by her children, Herb Stoick (Laurel), Rod Stoick (Laurel) and Karen Kay (Stoick) Jones (Worden); stepchildren, Lynda (Wright-Waite), Karen Ann (Tait) and Traci (Zankowski) Welter; three sisters, Lois Glenn (Pennsylvania), Phyllis Luce (South Dakota), and Ruby Stotz (South Dakota); grandchildren, Michael Jones (Arizona), Karlie Stoick-Jones (Stevensville), and Amanda Bonesteel (Indiana); great-grandchildren, Logan Gibson, Brandon Lee and Jessalyn Jones; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Her family would like to thank the St. Vincent's staff and all of the relatives and friends who have given her, and us, their love and support. Services will be Saturday, Jan. 21, 10 a.m. at Smith's Funeral home in Laurel, MT. In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch Foundation, PO Box 80807, Billings, MT 59108.