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Wilma R. Quelle, Age 89

Thursday, April 15, 2021
Wilma R. Quelle, Age 89

Wilma R. Quelle

Wilma Rose Quelle, 89 of Fairbury, NE passed peacefully in her sleep at her home on April 9th, 2021.

She was born the daughter to William and Adelaide Jensen Christiansen on May 18th,1931. Where she lived with her brother and 2 sisters - older brother, Earl, older sister Helga and younger sister, Gail.

She attended school at District 13 riding a horse when it was nice outside. One horse always loved to rub its halter off just as she knew school was out. We followed her home carrying the bridle.

As a child, growing up on the farm, she loved to be outside helping her dad repair things or take care of the cattle as well as joining her mother on a trip to the library as she had a large appetite for knowledge.

She went to college at Dana College in Blair, NE and Chadron State College, where she graduated with a teaching degree. Then later went to UNK - Kearney to receive certification as a special education teacher.

She met her husband at a church social and they married in June of 1950. Moving to a farm just outside of Oshkosh, NE to start a family. After a decade, no longer being able to farm, her and her husband became teachers and taught at various schools. Including, Norton, KS; Arapahoe, NE; Hinley NE; Mesa and Gilbert school districts in Arizona and it is here that she found she could make a difference and became a fierce advocate for education and nutrition. In the late 1980s, she accepted a position to teach in Low Mountain, AZ on the Navajo Reservation and remained in that position for 11 years as an elementary and then special education teacher.

During her time on the reservation, she realized the students didn't know their own history, so she began collecting stories from the parents, peers and friends she met and with their permission put them into a children's book for schools to use to learn the history of some prominent Navajo figures, that had not previously been shared.

A Navajo History, authored at age 73, is now used in classrooms and libraries both Nebraska and Arizona.

In 2019, she was celebrated and awarded an honor by the Homestead National Monument Honorarium for being one of the teachers who taught in a one-room schoolhouse.

Constantly looking to learn and grow, while living in NE she was the first female member of the local Toastmaster's organization. She was proud to hold this distinction.

Outside of her career, her interests included genealogy, quilting, crochet, reading, caring for her husband and learning nutrition, and general writing.

She leaves behind her 2 children, Rose Clauson of Fairbury, NE and Bill Quelle of Pine Island, MN; 8 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren, and the innumerable students and lives she encouraged, supported, educated and loved.

Wilma was preceded in death by her husband Wilbur of 52 years; her parents; brothers, Earl and Alvin Christiansen; sisters Helga Anderson and Gail Reed.

Services will be held on Thursday, April 15th at 10:00 a.m. at Gerdes-Meyer Funeral Chapel in Fairbury. Public Graveside Services will take place at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 15th at the St. Johns Lutheran Cemetery, Cozad, NE.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, please purchase one of her books to donate to your local elementary school or library (suitable for 4th grade and up).

All proceeds from the book will be used to help build the new Children's Library on the Navajo reservation in Chinle, AZ.

You can purchase the book here: