Laurel E. Fletcher
October 23,1924 – July 24, 2020
Laurel was a longtime resident of Bennington, Nebraska. He retired after 25 years at Western Electric. In 1975 he moved to Riverside Lakes, Waterloo, and nine years later moved to Tucson, Arizona.
Laurel was preceded in death by his wife of more than 60 years, Darlene (Novotny); and son Curtis. He was the last survivor of eight children born to Will and Lillian Fletcher. Laurel is survived by his children: Ron Fletcher, Bill Fletcher (Sharon), and Vicki Hahn (Sig); thirteen grandchildren; thirty great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
CELEBRATION of LIFE SERVICE: Tuesday, July 28th at 11am, followed by Luncheon; Interment in Evergreen Memorial Park, with full Military Honors by Benson VFW Post 2503. In lieu of flowers donations may be directed to the family for future designations.
Laurel Fletcher was born on October 23, 1924 in Reliance, South Dakota. He was the 7th of 9 children born to William and Lillian Fletcher. Laurel loved sports and played basketball, softball, and baseball. In his senior year he played in a championship basketball game. The final score was 21 to 18. His team won and he had scored 19 of the 21 points!
When he graduated from high school Laurel worked for South Dakota’s Lt. Governor and earned enough money to go to college in Vermillion, SD for 9 months. When he ran out of money, he joined the Army Air Corp. In 1944 he graduated from training but got scarlet fever. He was semi-conscious for 10 days and lost 1/3 of his body weight. He spent 3 months in recuperation before he was able to join a new class of cadets and resume pilot training. By this time the war was winding down, so they stopped pilot training and he was assigned to Phoenix to be assistant to the provost Marshall. He lived in a hotel in downtown Phoenix and was welcome at the Biltmore Hotel where all the rich and famous gathered. He lived the good life.
Laurel was discharged on Nov. 5, 1945. He met his future wife, Darlene, at the Moonlight Ballroom at Peony Park in May of 1946. They were married on March 2 1947. Their son Ron was born in Omaha on October 21, 1947. Bill was born just a year later. Then came Vicki in 1950. The family moved to South Dakota (Reliance) in 1951 and Curt was born on July 31 of that year. In four years they had four kids! They soon moved to a farm where Laurel gave farming a try. He was not successful and in 1955 they moved back to Omaha. Darlene worked at Western Electric in personnel and Laurel worked as a supervisor at Lozier Manufacturing until he joined her at Western and was soon promoted to management.
The kids hated living in the city so in 1958 they found a farmhouse in Washington County and commuted every day. The kids were in heaven. They went to a one room schoolhouse and had a huge farm, with a pond, as their playground! When Ron started 8th grade in 1960, they were forced to move to Bennington because their country school only went through the seventh grade.
Bennington was a small town and they got involved in everything. Laurel formed the Boy scouts and served as the Scoutmaster for several years; formed the Community Club in order to get lights for our baseball diamond; coached baseball and served as the Athletic Director for the summer program; served on the City Council as Treasurer and Secretary, along with many other things. In 1975 they bought a home on Riverside Lakes and enjoyed the good life that lakeside living brought. It was a gathering place for all their kids, grandkids, and their friends.
Laurel and Darlene retired on April 29, 1983. In 1986 they moved to Tucson, Arizona where Laurel learned to golf, and they made many new friends through their church. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in Tucson. Darlene passed away on April 2, 2009 and Laurel moved back to Omaha to be with his family. He was living in Prairie Meadows Memory Care when he passed away on July 24, 2020.