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Veleda Penrod Willis

03/26/1931 - 06/13/2024
Service Date: 06/21/2024
Service Time: 10:00 AM
Service Location: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 6655 E Preston St, Mesa, AZ 85215
Visitation Date: 06/21/2024
Visitation Time: 9:00 AM
Visitation Location: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 6655 E Preston St, Mesa, AZ 85215
Interment: Show Low Cemetery

Veleda Penrod Willis was born in Pinon, Arizona on the family ranch outside of Vernon.  Veleda was born to Wallace Latham Penrod and Martha Alice Adams on March 26th, 1931.  She was the youngest of 3 girls and adored her older sisters Dorma and Alberta.  Life on the ranch was filled with lots of cousins and family gatherings, horse drawn sleighs in the winter, climbing trees, and attending school in a one room school house.

Her parents moved into Show Low, Arizona when she was 8.  Her parents owned a restaurant where the whole family worked many hours but enjoyed many friends and family visiting the restaurant. While attending Snowflake High School, she was a cheerleader, and her future husband Ronald Allen Willis was quite the sports star lettering in baseball, football and basketball.  They saw each other often and fell in love.

Ronald and Veleda were married in the Mesa Arizona Temple in 1949, enjoying 61 beautiful years of marriage when he passed December 7, 2010.

Throughout her life Veleda served valiantly in many opportunities in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  She loved to work with the youth, and she also volunteered many, many hours assisting with the Indexing Program for genealogists.  Other than Ron, Veleda’s greatest passion was dancing.  She spent three years teaching Ronald to dance in the kitchen before he finally felt comfortable dancing at the dances.  Just a few short years later a call was extended directly from Salt Lake for them both to be Regional Dance Festival Directors for all of Arizona and parts of New Mexico and California.  They served in this calling for 15 years and loved the many people they served, the friendships they made and the numerous youth they had a positive impact on.

Veleda’s gregarious personality, attention to detail and eye for style made her a natural in the real estate industry. First earning her license in 1974, she was an incredible salesperson and remained licensed until she was 89.   It was not surprising that she loved working alongside Ronald to build many family homes and numerous other custom homes.  She had a designers’ eye which showed in the homes they built and, in their efforts, working with the Dance Festivals.  She was gifted at anything she endeavored in, in her 50’s she discovered she could sketch portraits and was very talented in capturing the complexities and spirit in the eyes.  Completely self-taught, she picked up a pencil and just started drawing one day and had a beautiful drawing the next day.  Her capabilities and interests were diverse also including hunting, camping, as well as an excellent seamstress.

Veleda and Ronald are together again.  They were blessed with 5 children, Rhonda Valee (Ronald) Smith, Keevin L (Judy) Willis-Mesa, Stacey L(Gary) Farr-Mesa, Cricket (Doug) Hatch-Flagstaff, Mark A. Willis-Mesa.  Their posterity is 139 including spouses, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Veleda was proceeded in death by her daughter Rhonda Valee Smith, Son-in-law Ronald Kay Smith, Granddaughters Jordan Jae Hatch and Valee D’Lynn Smith, and Grandson Brett Brewer.


The viewing will be held June 21st, 2024 at 9:00 a.m. and Memorial Services at 10:00 a.m. at the LDS Chapel of the Mountain Vista Ward located at 6655 E Preston Street, Mesa AZ 85215.

Burial will be 3:00 pm at the Show Low AZ Cemetery located at 414 E Adams, Show Low AZ 85901




Arrangements by Bunker’s University Chapel, www.bunkerfuneral.com. Should this obituary appear anywhere but bunkerfuneral.com, please check our website for accurate details and service information.


  • Marcia and Errol Larson

    Sad to learn of the passing of a dear friend, dancing instructor, neighbor l. I can’t count the many ways and times Veleda was there for me! Great memories of a dear sweet lady for many years. Later my daughter Melissa and Veleda’s grandaughter Valee became friends at Snowflake Jr. High. They were mighty and busy girls all 70# of them. Cute little gals.
    I know the heart ache of losing a precious daughter, just as Veleda has with the last few years. But when ever I saw her online we always just pickup where we left off, those many years ago. R.I.P
    Dear friend, so thankful for all the good times we shared.

  • Christine Whipple

    I loved this lady, although I couldn’t see her up in the booth at ASU when I was a teenager from Mesa and in one of her dance festivals. But the impression she made on me as she directed us from the booth and she could perfect those thousands of kids during rehearsals.. and make a beautiful performance later that night! She was amazing at dance!

  • Jeff and Tammy Brewer

    What a beautiful classy lady. She was a sweet to us always and raised some amazing kids! She will be missed !

  • I did not know Keevins mother but I’m an old friend of Keevin and Judy’s. I wanted to tell Keevin how sorry I am for his loss. Losing our dearest mothers is a difficult time. Thinking of you during this time. Lori

  • Marilyn Crosby

    A lady of faith, class and determination. What a wonderful example she has been to all of us. We miss you dearly Veleda.

  • Gregory & Sheldean Cluff

    I had just married Greg, when he took me to Nick’s Market in ShowLow where Valeda Willis had a Dress Shop upstairs in a loft, where a bubbly, happy smiling lady asked-what can I help you with? Well that was the beginning of our friendship and knowing her for 49 years and all her beautiful family! All hard working, caring, kind, gospel loving families. She will be missed by many. Love and prayers to her family.❤️❤️

  • Geraldine Hall

    My memories of Veleda also go with Ronald her husband as well! They were my family Ron was cousin to my mother Elizabeth Lewis Nikolaus and also Veleda because she was a sister to my Aunt Alberta on My Dad’s side Lamar Nikolaus which was married to his brother Garth Nikolaus.
    I also remember the Dance Festivals that Ronald and Veleda Willis were involved with us as youth in
    teaching and organizing our performances. The high light was to be apart of an all girl dance performance in Salt Lake City in an All Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Dance Festival!
    I send Love and Appreciation to the Family and So Proud to have known and been apart of their lives!

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