LaVerne Sanders

Photo of LaVerne Sanders

LaVerne Leonard Sanders, age 83, of Jefferson City, Mo., passed peacefully on Thursday, February 8, 2024, and was cared for by her family throughout her final journey.
LaVerne made decisions prior to this illness so that her children would not have to make the hardest choices regarding her care. For that, they are very grateful.
LaVerne was born on October 23, 1940, the youngest child of four and the only daughter of William and Josephine (Welch) Leonard in St. Martins, Missouri. She lived on the family farm down a gravel road where the tall trees surrounded her home, the train tracks could be heard from her window, and where all her childhood memories were made. Her family attended St. Martins Catholic Church and were committed to their faith.
She attended St. Martins Grade School, St. Peters High, and finally, California R-1 High School. She was blessed with a lot of friends during her high school days and that is where she met her first husband, Kelly Messerli, whom she married in 1957. They bought their first home and farm on State K and created a family with four children. This union ended in 1974.
In 1980, LaVerne married Lester Means and spent the next 15 years creating a life of travel, visiting family, and moving to Bartlesville, Okla., where she finally found her dream job of being an Interior Designer. She enjoyed everything about creating a beautiful space in every home they lived in. She always had a warm and relaxing atmosphere for her friends and children to enjoy. With the passing of Lester in 1995, LaVerne moved back to Missouri to be closer to her family.
In 2000, she married Carl Sanders and enjoyed a companionship that has never left her memory. She and Carl had a wonderful eight years together, with Carl passing in 2008. They shared a love of family get togethers, traveling, birds and the dislike of squirrels.
LaVerne’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were fortunate to have three wonderful men who loved them throughout her life.
For over 30 years, LaVerne was a member of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles #2693 and she was also a past officer of the auxiliary. She always prided herself on what good the ladies of the Eagles Club could do. She was also a member of the American Legion Post #5, Elks Lodge of Jefferson City, and Moose Lodge of Tulsa, Okla.
She enjoyed picture taking, owning her own 8mm movie camera from Montgomery Wards in 1962, which we have watched many a movie from. Her photos filled many albums, she kept countless thank-you notes from the grandchildren and adored the Polaroid camera. She enjoyed adding her little touches to her grandchildren’s weddings and dressing for the occasions. She was a fan of music early on and Conway Twitty and Alan Jackson were two of her favorites. She also had a love for QVC shopping for everyone.
Survivors include her four children, Becky Bax (Leon) of Jefferson City, Rick Messerli (Karen) of California, Kevin Messerli (Cheri) of California, Kelley Owsley (Joe) of Jefferson City; a very special niece who was always a daughter, Joyce Schaefferkoetter (Vic) of Rolla; one sister-in-law, Patty Ann Leonard; numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Melissa Niekamp (Chris) and their children Abigail and Madison, Emily Carroll (Jay) and their children Brendan, Kaylee and Hayden, Nick Bax (Brittney) and their children Brody, Nolan, Porter and Reed, Justin Messerli (Rachel) and their children, Miranda Messerli (Dillon Loesing) and the only great-great-granddaughter Paislee, Carly Messerli, Chris Messerli (Megan) and their son Clabe, Jenny Cain (Lance) and their children Hudler and Piper, Josh Messerli (Amy) and their children Ellye, Brody and Cora, Tyler Jones (Laura) and their children Molly and Zoiey, Jon Rehagen (Amber) and Joey Owsley (Elizabeth Wyss); numerous nieces, nephews and a host of friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husbands, and three brothers, Marvin, Melvin, and Edward Leonard.
Visitation will be held from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m., Thursday, February 15, 2024, at Freeman Mortuary.
Funeral services will be conducted at 12:00 p.m., Thursday, February 15, 2024, in the Freeman Chapel with the Reverend Dan Owsley officiating. Graveside services and interment will follow at Riverview Cemetery.
A webcast of the funeral service will begin at 12:00 p.m., Thursday, February 15, 2024, for friends who are not able to attend by going to her memorial page on Freeman Mortuary’s website.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105, a long-time charity that holds a special place in the family’s heart; American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 6704, Hagerstown, MD 21741; or Compassus Hospice, 3405 W Truman Blvd # 210, Jefferson City, MO 65109.
Funeral arrangements are under the care of Freeman Mortuary.

Published February 11, 2024