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Verena 'Vene' Ann McNellis

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Verena “Vene” Ann McNellis, 94, of DeGraff, Minnesota died peacefully Tuesday, March 26, 2024, at Bethesda Nursing Home in Willmar, Minnesota. Visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday, April 1, 2024, at St. Bridget’s Catholic Church in DeGraff, with the rosary being prayed at 4:45 p.m. Visitation will continue from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, April 2, 2024, at St. Bridget’s Catholic Church, with the Mass of Christian Burial to follow at 11:00 a.m. Interment will be in St. Bridget’s Catholic Cemetery in DeGraff.

Vene was born October 7, 1929, in DeGraff, to John (Jack) and Anna Fath O'Malley. She was proud to have spent her entire life living in the DeGraff area. She had many fond memories of attending Country School, working on her family's farm helping to take care of the animals, and spoke fondly of her parents and five siblings long into her adult years. She spent her young adult life working at Simmonds Produce and Clarence's Place in DeGraff.

She was united in marriage to James (Jim) McNellis,  October 23, 1954, at St. Bridget's Church in DeGraff. Their marriage was blessed with four children, and they were able to spend 37 happy years together at their home in DeGraff before Jim's death in July of 1992. After raising her children, Vene worked at The Flower Shop in Benson and Countryside Public Nursing. She also spent many years enjoying the company of special friend Jerry Osterbauer.

Over the years, Vene was blessed with six grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and one great-great granddaughter. Vene treasured her time with her family and enjoyed nothing more than having her house filled with lots of laughter. She enjoyed baking, dancing and singing (especially yodeling), bike rides, and playing Scrabble. She always loved being outside and spent many days mowing her lawn, tending to her flowers, and decorating "The Mighty Oak." Vene was never without a cup of coffee in her hand and every day looked forward to hosting her morning "coffee customers."

Vene will be remembered for her kindness, generosity and quick wit, but most of all, she will be remembered for her faith and service to her church. Vene devoted countless hours to serve St. Bridget's in various ways. She served as a CCD teacher, as a member of the Council of Catholic Women, and served on the liturgy committee. She was a lector and Eucharistic minister to the homebound. She loved making flower arrangements and decorating for each and every season. Vene even earned the Bishop's Medal of Service. The only thing stronger than Vene’s love for her family was her love for the Lord.

Vene is survived by her children: Margo McNellis of Benson, Jimmie McNellis of DeGraff, Mary (Kevin) Kent of Benson, and Cathy (Jon) Connelly of Benson; six grandchildren: Amy (Mark Conner) Alsaker, Brady Alsaker, Mitchell (Ashley) Kent, Caitlin (Michael) Lawrence, Brennan (Brennan) Kent, and Logan (Samantha) Connelly; six great-grandchildren: Brett (Autumn) Sulier, Adrian Young, Bria Kent, Grady Kent, Dierks Kent, and Cooper Kent; and one great-great-grandchild Braylee Verena Sulier; and special friend Jerry Osterbauer.

Vene was preceded in death by her husband James McNellis, her parents John and Anna O’Malley, siblings/spouses: Francis (Sally) O’Malley, Liz (Nels) Dahl, Johnny O’Malley, Mary (Louie) Petersen, Jim (RoJean) O’Malley; sister-in-law Fay O’Malley, sister-in-law and good friend Mary (Dave) Collins, and many other relatives.

Blessed be the memory of Vene McNellis.

Zniewski Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

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