In Memory

Velma L. Crumbley VIEW PROFILE

1954 - 1/27/2016

Survived by husband, Elmer J. Crumbley; son, Jasan Alan; daughter, Nicole Marie; parents, Benard and Effie Smith; sisters, Lillie (Harry) Williams, Dorothy (Willliam) Penn, Louise Swanagin, Darlene Smith, Vickie (Cleophus) Williams, Hope (Michael) Atkins; brother, Benard Smith, Jr.; sisters-in-law, Sandra (Lawrence) Peterson, Sr., M. Gayle Lawanda, S.G.S., Judy (Steven) Gregory, Cathy (Ronald) DeLeon, Mary Thomas; brothers-in-law, George A., Jr., Wayne (Cathy), Sr., and James (Kim) Crumbley; god sons, Robbie Lovercheck and Rodney Wayne; dear friends, Arvin R. Frazier and James E. Thomas, Sr.; a host of nieces, nephews, and friends.

VIEWING and Rosary 4-8pm Sunday, Church.

MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL 10am Monday, St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church, 2423 Grant St. Interment, Mt. Hope Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Ad Gentes Missionary Society, 4514 Aurora St, Omaha, NE 68134.

THOMAS FUNERAL HOME 3920 N. 24th St. 402-453-7111

Worldly educator loved to explore, learn and teach

By Reece Ristau, World-Herald staff writer The Omaha World-Herald

Velma Crumbley was a student of the world, visiting Bermuda, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, Mexico City and Jamaica, just to name a few.

New York City and Chicago were two of her favorite stops. And when Crumbley wasn’t learning more about the globe, she was passing on her vast knowledge to her Omaha Public Schools students. With 33 years in education, she taught a lot of them.

Crumbley, 62, died Jan. 27 from appendix cancer.

She spent a large part of her career at Gilder Elementary School, first as a teacher in 1975, then as an instructional supervisor in special education and finally as principal for a decade, until her retirement in 2008. Her husband, Elmer Crumbley, 63, said she excelled at teaching by connecting with each student.

“She had a personality that people gravitated to,” Elmer said. “You thought that in talking with her that you were the most important individual that there was because she was in tune with you that much.”

In a 2008 World-Herald article, Crumbley said some of her proudest teaching moments came from educating students from other countries.

“We’ve had an influx of Sudanese children and children from Somalia — and to hear them read essays after they’ve been here a year or two ... that really makes you feel good, that you’ve really done your job.”

Elmer and Velma met at Omaha North High School, where he said he saw something special in her immediately. The couple then went to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, something he said she encouraged him to do.

Crumbley was born in 1954 in New Orleans and a few years later, her family moved to Omaha, where she attended Lothrop Magnet Center and then Horace Mann Junior High School. At both schools, Crumbley was taught by Eugene Skinner, Omaha’s first African-American principal. She graduated from Omaha North in 1971.

Elmer said the two would often visit family in New Orleans. When in New York and Chicago, the two enjoyed Broadway musicals. As for their favorite, Elmer said that was easy.

“Always the last one that we saw,” he said. He said “The Color Purple” was at the top of their list.

Crumbley’s love of exploring new countries with her husband never ceased. The two were planning a trip to Nigeria before her final bout of cancer restricted her travel ability.

Crumbley is survived by her children: Jason, 37, and Nicole, 35.

A visitation is set for Sunday at St. Benedict the Moor Parish from 4 to 8 p.m. The funeral will be 10 a.m. Monday at St. Benedict.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1304,

Click here to see Velma L.'s last Profile entry.