Velma Rae (Brandfas) Utt

Velma Rae (Brandfas) Utt, age 75, left this earth and was reunited with her beloved grandmother and other family members. She was born June 13, 1941 in New Plymouth, Idaho to parents William Henry and Ida Merle (Hovey) Brandfas.

The family moved to Spanaway, Wash. where Velma attended school and graduated from Bethel High School in 1959. A week later, Velma and Arthur Utt were married in Spanaway. They started their life together in Grand Coulee, Wash., where their daughter Debbie was born. They later lived in Electric City, Wash. before moving to Tonasket, Wash. in 1961. Their sons, David, Jerry, Gary and daughter Tracie were all born in Tonasket.

Velma packed apples for Dwinnel Orchards and Chief Tonasket Growers until 1970, when she and Art started their bee business, Apple Valley Honey. For many years, Velma worked alongside Art, taking care of the bees, extracting honey, plus raising kids and all the day to day stuff. Her favorite part of the bee business was giving school kids tours of the honey house.

Velma’s true joy in life were her children and grand/great grandchildren. She was happiest when she had a house full of family or was watching one of them play sports, participate in 4-H or any other numerous activities. Velma spoiled generations of kids and adults alike with her famous chocolate chip cookies.

To Velma, there were no strangers, only friends she hadn’t met. She loved deeply, was always ready to do for others and loved watching her Zags. She had the best laugh in the world and the biggest heart.

She will be missed deeply by her family and those she loved.

Velma is survived by her loving husband Art, of 57 years; daughter Debbie (Don) Johnson; sons Dave (Clara Jo Bradshaw) Utt, Jerry (Tari) Utt, Gary Utt and daughter Tracie (Cary) Tonasket; one sister, Donna (Dennis) Shirrel; nephew Christopher (Marney) Shirrel; niece Mindy (Jeff) Lucas and numerous cousins. She is also survived by grandchildren Dustin Johnson, Kenny (Taylor) Russell, Ashley Utt, Amber Utt, Cameron Utt, Corey Utt, Devan Utt, Wyatt Utt, Brady Tonasket and Mia Tonasket and great grandchildren Ryden, Trisha, Blaine and Reylynne.

Velma was preceded by her parents; brother William J. Brandfas; granddaughter Amanda Utt and great granddaughters Sophia and Aimee Russell.

A Celebration of Life will be held later this spring, date to be announced.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, P.O. Box 50, Memphis, TN 38101.Tonasket/Okanogan Valley Lions Club c/o Scholarship Program, P.O. Box 120, Tonasket, WA 98855.

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