Darlene “Jeff” Vahlkamp, 82, of Faribault, Minnesota, formerly of Columbus, Nebraska passed away on Sunday, April 21, 2019 at The Emeralds at Faribault. She was born on November 18, 1936, in Norfolk, Nebraska to William and Frieda (Appel) Jeffries. She attended grade school and high school in Norfolk, NE and resided there until she met the love of her life, Del Vahlkamp, while on a blind date. The two were married on November 30, 1958 and blessed with four children, Cyndi (1959), Cathy (1960), Mike (1967), and Kim (1976). Throughout her life she lived in many places such as: Wichita KS, Wayne NE, Lincoln NE, Washington DC, Columbus NE and Faribault MN.
Mom was more than just the facts we have shared here. She had a great sense of humor; cherished taking her GTE co-workers under her wing and watching them grow; and cheered as any super fan would for her favorite Nebraska Cornhuskers. She also loved jewelry – wearing it as well as selling it at Crown Jewelry; perfectly pink manicured nails were a trademark. Mom doted on her two cats … and then there was Garfield – there were Christmas ornaments and pillow cases, a PEZ dispenser and of course a phone in his likeness. Other things you may not have known – she traveled to Iowa to see the covered bridges of Madison County, went to a Neil Diamond concert with her daughters when she was in her seventies, knitted dish clothes and gifted them to family and friends; she had an interest in all things British Royal Family, developed an uncanny liking for candied spearmint leaves dipped in peanut butter, she was known for gifting $2 bills-they really are magical money, and mom made sure that every return visit to Columbus included Runza Hut. We will spend a lifetime holding these and many more memories close to our hearts.
She is survived by daughters Cathy and (John) Schulz, Faribault, MN and Kim and (Brad) Steele, Spring Creek, NV and a son Mike Vahlkamp, Columbus, NE. She cherished her grandchildren Claire, Nora, Kyle, Esai and Bodhi and her great-grandson Carson - they will miss her endless love and generous spirit. She was preceded in death by her husband Del, daughter Cyndi, parents, siblings Bud Jeffries, Dortha Nelson and Jimmy Ray Jeffries, and two nephews. A memorial service in celebration of mom’s life will be held at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Columbus, NE on May 17, 2019 at 11:00 am. To honor her love of birds, especially cardinals, we ask that memorials be made to Audubon Nebraska (http://ne.audubon.org/)