Our beloved Verona Helen Graef Harmon died on May 15, 2017 at the age of 97 years young. Our Oma, our Grandma, our “Sunshine” passed peacefully surrounded by loved ones at her home in Lockhart, Texas.
She was born to Eugene and Hertha Graef of Lockhart on May 2, 1920. She was sister to three brothers: Hilmar, Gilbert and Milton who, with her parents, all preceded her in de
She was an amazing young child as evident of her story of losing her right thumb at the age of 11 and learning to write all over with her left hand. She had beautiful handwriting and always took special care to make exquisite cards for others on special occasions.
She became an accomplished tennis player at Lockhart High School and graduated with a district tennis title in 1938. After high school, Verona went on to graduate from Clayton Women’s Business School in Austin.
While in Austin she met and married the love of her life, Lyman West Harmon. They met at a bowling alley, which started a lifelong shared passion for the sport. They returned to Verona’s family farm to help run the family’s farm implement business, Graef and Sons. Through marriage Verona became mother of three children: Colleen, Demont, and Wayne. In 1946, Lyman and Verona had their youngest daughter, Judy Kay Harmon Davis.
Verona was the loving grandmother of 12 devoted grandchildren: Jacquelyn Thomas (Neil), Madelyn Auld (Phil Miller), F. Tate Davis, III (Sherry), Eric Utto-Galarneau (Beth), Valerie Fortner (John), Andy Harmon (Sharron), Tina Lang, Sheryl Musick (Allen Kanouse), Brenda Matthis, Kristine Cambio (deceased), Michael Kunard (deceased) and Craig Kunard (Carolyn). She was able to see the family for which she was always so proud grow to be an amazing 80-plus descendants strong. This total includes 20 great-grandchildren, 12 great-great grandchildren, two great-great-great grandchildren, five nieces and nephews, 13 great-nieces and nephews, and 18 great-great nieces and nephews.
This beautiful lady always welcomed anyone in need, be they family, friends, or strays (pets). She opened her home and always laid out a spread of food for all the “company,” big or small. She loved holidays and family celebrations, and in the summer her table always included fresh tomatoes and other produce from her garden, watermelons and homemade bread. Summers also often included sprinklers, slip-n-slides, and everyone’s Farm favorite: the “mud pies.”
Even though she only had the one thumb, her remaining one was certainly green. She could grow anything and make it thrive. She even saved a cut Christmas tree one year by sticking it in the ground at The Farm, and it is still living there today. The family’s favorite holiday celebration is Christmas Eve, which Verona hosted herself, and then later oversaw with care. She never missed one. These parties included every Christmas tradition: a secretly-decorated beautiful 12-foot tree, tons of gifts for every child, an amazing table of fabulous food and made-from-scratch, made-with-love, German Spice Cookies from the family’s secret recipe. The entire family loved gathering at The Farm making and sharing wonderful memories with this great lady who filled everyone with love, and made everyone feel special and unique. Verona was a truly amazing woman. Her strength and love was only matched by her sweet spirit, farm toughness and true wisdom. She liked to tell the family that she loved us more because “she was the oldest! “You are dearly missed and “we love you more!” – Your Farm Family.
Family and friends are gathering at The Farm for a remembrance, followed by a short graveside service at Lockhart City Cemetery. Please call Judy Davis at (512) 284-3534 for further details.