Almost seven decades ago, a Midwestern train ride with a handsome Marine sergeant took Vermelle Freeman to Montana for the rest of her life. In Helena, Richard and Vermelle raised two daughters, Adele Seitz (Mrs. Frank) and Mardee Verdina (Mrs. Vic), frequently sparing the rod and spoiling the girls (according to her son-in-laws). She often bragged about their three grandchildren (Scott Rate, Christopher Rate, and Debra Rate-Davidson), and marveled as the number of her great grandchildren grew to eight.
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The Wilkinsons joined the First Baptist Church family and Vermelle served in the Order of Eastern Star. She was a talented craft artist and a craftier fisherwoman. She made a habit of catching the most and biggest trout, leaving her frustrated husband to mumble about "the one that got away."
Born to Emmitt B. Freeman and Murtie Josephine McBride Freeman on Jan. 2, 1919, in Huntington, Texas, Vermelle was blessed with a full life. The third youngest of four Freeman children, she worked hard to help support her family through difficult times.
As she approached her 92nd year, Vermelle enjoyed good health until recently struggling with several serious illnesses. Up until her last breath, however, she asserted her steadfast independence and insisted on living in her home of 63 years on Knight Street until "her time was up." Gabriel's trumpet blew on Nov. 4, 2010, when Vermelle moved to her eternal home "just over the rise" from Helena's borders.
A Graveside Service at the Montana State Veterans Cemetery will be held at a later date and will be announced. Memorials in Vermelle's name are suggested to a charity of the donor's choice. Arrangements are under the care of Retz Funeral Home. To offer a condolence to the family or to share a memory of Vermelle, please visit www.retzfuneralhome.com.
Retz Funeral Home
315 East Sixth Ave
Helena, MT 59601
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Nov. 7, 2010