Retha Mae Wycoff, 96, passed away June 2nd, 2018, at Linden Court in North Platte, Nebraska.
She was born March 31st, 1922, to Alvin Silvester Edeal and Edna Mae (Cole) Edeal in the rural Fairhaven area northwest of Overton, Nebraska, and grew up on a family farm. She attended rural school at Fairhaven (Dawson County District #21) and after graduation from Lexington High School continued her education at the University of Nebraska College of Agriculture earning her bachelor’s degree in Home Economics in 1942. The following year, she taught Home Economics at Gothenburg, Nebraska.
On June 12th, 1943, she married Keith Hamlin Wycoff in Seattle, Washington, where the newlyweds spent the summer before settling in Chicago. Retha was employed at Marshall Field’s in children’s wear sales before being promoted to the personnel office.
The next year, while her husband was at sea, she taught in Hay Springs, Nebraska. In 1945 Retha and Keith settled in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and started a family. They were active in the Northampton Methodist Church and made friendships which endured a lifetime.
From 1949 to 1963 the family lived near Overton, Nebraska. Retha was a homemaker and busy mother as her family eventually grew to three sons and two daughters. Retha designed her next house and personally did all the floorplan and elevation drawings. It was built in Lexington, Nebraska, and the family moved there in 1963 where she continued to live until age 89.
Retha loved dancing. She was tap dancing by age 7 and at age 10 performed on the Paramont Theater stage in North Platte. At her 80th birthday party she astonished her family by demonstrating the splits and straight-leg high kicks. She excelled academically in college with awards including a Danforth summer study fellowship for outstanding young women.
Her interests in later life included music, gardening and writing. She served many years as a Sunday School teacher and was a devoted member and past District President of United Methodist Women. Retha had a keen interest in fostering international understanding and had many opportunities for travel. She sometimes accompanied her husband on international business trips. Together they visited mission or service organizations and former international exchange students. They served as delegates to international Methodist Conferences. She took pride in five children with adult careers in the arts or in medicine and in their families. She was an example to all of generosity and kindness.
Retha was preceded in death by her parents, Alvin and Edna Edeal, brother, Dean Edeal, her husband Keith H. Wycoff, sister-in-law, Ruby (Wycoff) Crandall, and niece Karen (Edeal) Kander.
Survivors include sons Delane [Dorothy] Wycoff, Kevin [Paige] Wycoff, Timothy Wycoff [Susan West], daughters Janine Wycoff, Valerie Wycoff [James Lovell-Smith], exchange daughter, Naoko [Tomo] Okamoto, grandchildren Jason Wycoff, Kathryn (Wycoff) Gross, K. Tyler Wycoff, Reid Wycoff, Cole Wycoff, Isaac Wycoff, Olivia Wycoff, Timothy Lovell-Smith and Jasmine Lovell-Smith, sister-in-law Arlene Edeal, brother in-law George Crandall, nieces Georgene (Crandall) Smidt, Eldeana (Edeal) Boals, nephews Russell Edeal, Brian Edeal, Arlin Edeal, Robert Crandall, Richard Crandall, James Crandall, step-grandchildren, Chad Woodrum, Derek Woodrum, Jeremy Woodrum, and Ben Woodrum, plus multiple great-grandchildren, great nieces and great nephews.
Retha chose cremation. Her life was honored on August 15th, 2018, with a 10:30 AM memorial service at the First United Methodist Church in Lexington. Further celebration of her life followed with lunch in the fellowship hall. A private inurnment will take place, at a later time. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the church, to The Dawson County Historical Society and Museum or to donor’s choice. Reynolds-Love Funeral Home, Lexington, Nebraska, assisted the family with arrangements.