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Verna Elizabeth Bassett

August 8, 1924 ~ August 24, 2020 (age 96)


Verna Elizabeth Bassett died peacefully in her home on Monday, August 24th at the age of 96, with family Cynthia (Bassett) Finlayson, Christine (Bassett) Bilodeau, Wendy and Mel Bartleson and children at her side.

Verna was born in Brockton, MA on August 8th, 1924 to Ralph A. and Estelle Copeland, the (third} of five daughters.  She graduated from Brockton High School in 1942.  Nicknamed “Copy” (Copeland) she was active in school as the Home Room treasurer.  An exuberant outdoors woman she loved ice skating, swimming, riding, and flying.  Her hobbies also included bowling, dancing, sewing and roller skating. In 1945 Verna married her high school sweetheart Seabee Bosan’s 2nd Mate Orville Kingsley Bassett after he returned from his WWII tour of duty in Okinawa and the Philippines.  They raised five children and were married 35 years when he died in 1980.

In 1989 Verna retired from Woolworth’s Department Store in Burlington, VT and moved from her home in New England to Alamogordo, NM to be near her daughter V. Christine Bilodeau and family after the tragic death of their 18-year-old daughter, Wendy Ann.

True to her outgoing, independent nature Verna was soon involved as a volunteer with the Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Alamogordo Public Library and Alamogordo Senior Center where she taught exercise class and crafts class.  She was a prolific creator of quilts, afghans, pillows, ceramics, and many other art projects that she donated to the Center.  She was a member of Desert Dancers line-dancing group and participated in and won many awards in the Senior Olympics. 

In April 2016 at age 92, Verna received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for over 25 years of RSVP Service signed by President Barack Obama.  At a celebration hosted by her daughters and the Alamogordo Senior Center, the City Commissioner Nadia Sykes presented Verna with a Proclamation by Alamogordo Mayor Richard Boss declaring April 22, 2016 “Verna E. Bassett Day.” Mayor Boss extended “heartfelt congratulations for her legacy of unselfishness and charity and her example of giving of her time and energy generously to our community.”

Verna continued to serve on the food line and help with Meals on Wheels at the Alamogordo Senior Center into the year 2017.  She loved playing Skip-Bo and pool.

Verna was proceeded in death by her husband Orville K. Bassett in 1980, son Russell K. Bassett, a Vietnam Vet in 2010, granddaughter Wendy Ann Bilodeau in 1988 and three sisters, Phyllis, Dorothy and Ruth.  She is survived by her children Cynthia and Ronald B. Finlayson of New Hampshire, V. Christine Bilodeau of New Mexico, Darlene Bassett of New Mexico, Cheryl and Mike Burpee of Alaska, her sister Lillian Webby of Massachusetts, 15 grandchildren, 20 Great grandchildren, 2 Great, great grandchildren, at least 10 grand cats and 30 grand dogs. 

Funeral Services were held at Alamogordo Funeral Home on Wednesday September 2, 2020 beginning at 8:00 a.m. in the Chapel. Service was conducted by Pastor Chuck Moon, Eulogy by Darlene Bassett, Pallbearers were Vinny Bassett, Mel Bartleson, Joaquin Rodriguez, and Newell Slagle.

The Bassett family has entrusted their loved one to the care of Alamogordo Funeral Home to direct the funeral services.

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