Cover photo for Velma  Gene Epler's Obituary
Velma  Gene Epler Profile Photo
1927 Velma 2019

Velma Gene Epler

October 22, 1927 — March 23, 2019

A positive, encouraging, and thoughtful lady, with a genuine concern for others, are just a few ways to describe Gene Epler.

A few historical events that occurred in 1927 included the first transatlantic telephone call, Ford stopped production of the Model T and began selling the Model A with prices starting at $460 and Charles Lindbergh completes the first solo flight across the Atlantic. The devastating Great Mississippi Flood struck, "The Jazz Singer" opens, ending the era of silent movies, the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) was created and work began on Mount Rushmore's Sculpture of Presidents, and on October 22, 1927 William Harold and Elma (Winterrowd) Fanning welcomed the birth of Velma Gene Fanning in Tippecanoe, Indiana. She was the oldest of three children.

Gene grew up during the depression and helped out on the family farm. She attended Tippecanoe High School and graduated with the Class of 1945. As a young adult, Gene worked at the Ball Band Rubber Company to support the war efforts. She often entertained her brother Jay and his friends at her home after basketball practice, then made snacks and played cards.

Gene saw the best in everyone and everything, always putting the needs of others first and ahead of her own. She was very independent and a great caretaker, had a job, bought her own house and car by the time she was 24 years old. Gene was the office manager at the grain elevator, where she met her future husband Delbert. On October 21, 1951 she married Delbert C. Epler in Tippecanoe, Indiana, at her parent's home. Gene was a homemaker for most of her life. She faithfully attended Columbia City Church of the Brethren. Gene enjoyed gardening, cooking, card ministry to others at church, and playing the piano.

Family time and spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren were special times for all. Another special moment in Gene's life was when she travelled to Guatamala to bring home her newly adopted granddaughter. All the grandchildren knew there were always pickles to be eaten in the refrigerator for them too!

She also found time to go on a cruise with her brother and his wife to New England and being a Boilermaker through and through, watching Purdue Basketball and the Big Ten Tournament. Gene loved filling her NCAA bracket so much, her family printed a huge bracket for her kitchen wall!

She will always be remembered in the hearts of those who loved and knew her so well.

Velma Gene Epler, age 91, of Columbia City, IN, passed away at 9:55 am on Saturday March 23, 2019 at her residence.

Survivors include her daughter Marilyn (Scott) Stender of Columbia City; brother Jay (Beaverly)Fanning of Taylors, South Carolina; grandchildren Shelby (Landon) Rehrer, Augustus Stender, and Marta Stender; great-grandchildren Norah and Olivia Rehrer, and one on the way; special nieces and nephews Craig (Tania) Scholl, Brian (Neriza) Scholl, Lanette (Tom) Bauters, Linda (Doug) Thompson, and Lora (Thadd) Mellott, Kim (Jeff) Lindsey, and Kelly (Greg) Robertson; special great nieces and nephews Ben (Kesiah) Thompson, Alyssa (Robert) Bohuk, Sara and Corey Wright, Kaydence, William, Noah, and Cooper Mellott, Brad, Corey, TJ, Robert, and Trent Bauters; special great-great nieces and nephews Charlie, Ora Mae, and Coble Thompson, Fiona Bohuk, Madison Wright, and Emma Bailey. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Delbert C. Epler, and sister Carol Jane Minix. Friends may call on Tuesday March 26, 2019 from 4:00- 7:00pm at DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City, IN.
Funeral services for Gene will be held at 11:00am on Wednesday March 27, 2019 at Columbia City Church of the Brethren, 112 North Washington Street, Columbia City, with calling one hour prior to service. A graveside service will be held at 2:00 pm in Walnut Church of the Brethren Cemetery, Argos, IN. Memorial contributions in memory of Gene may be made to Columbia City Church of the Brethren. Visit to send the family an online condolence.


DeMoney-Grimes a Life Story Funeral Home
600 Countryside Drive Columbia City, Indiana 46725

4:00 PM - 7:00 PM


Columbia City Church of the Brethren
112 West Washington Street Columbia City, Indiana 46725

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM


Columbia City Church of the Brethren
112 West Washington Street Columbia City, Indiana 46725

11:00 AM

Graveside Service

Walnut Church of the Brethren Cemetery
5975 19th Road Argos, Indiana 46501

2:00 PM
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Velma Gene Epler, please visit our flower store.


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