Maiden Name: Edeal

Retha Mae Wycoff, 96, passed away June 2, 2018, at Linden Court in North Platte, Nebraska.

She was born March 31, 1922, to Alvin Silvester Edeal and Edna Mae (Cole) Edeal in the rural Fairhaven area northwest of Overton, Nebraska, and grew up on a family farm. She attended rural school at Fairhaven (Dawson County District #21) and after graduation from Lexington High School continued her education at the University of Nebraska College of Agriculture earning her bachelor’s degree in Home Economics in 1942. The following year, she taught Home Economics at Gothenburg, Nebraska.  

On June 12, 1943, she married Keith Hamlin Wycoff in Seattle, Washington, where the newlyweds spent the summer before settling in Chicago. Retha was employed at Marshall Field’s in children’s wear sales before being promoted to the personnel office.  

The next year, while her husband was at sea, she taught in Hay Springs, Nebraska. In 1945 Retha and Keith settled in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and started a family. They were active in the Northampton Methodist Church and made friendships which endured a lifetime.

From 1949 to 1963 the family lived near Overton, Nebraska. Retha was a homemaker and busy mother as her family eventually grew to three sons and two daughters.   Retha designed her next house and personally did all the floorplan and elevation drawings. It was built in Lexington, Nebraska, and the family moved there in 1963 where she continued to live until age 89.

Retha loved dancing and was tap dancing by age 7 on the Fox Theater stage in North Platte. At her 80th birthday party she astonished her family by demonstrating the splits and straight-leg high kicks. She excelled academically in college with awards including a Danforth summer study scholarship for outstanding young women.  

Her interests in later life included music, gardening and writing. She served many years as a Sunday School teacher and was a devoted member and past President of the Nebraska Conference of United Methodist Women. Retha had a keen interest in fostering international understanding and had many opportunities for travel. She sometimes accompanied her husband on international business trips. Together they visited mission or service organizations and former international exchange students. They served as delegates to international Methodist Conferences. She took pride in five children with adult careers in the arts or in medicine and in their families. She was an example to all of generosity and kindness.

Retha was preceded in death by her parents, Alvin and Edna Edeal, brother, Dean Edeal, her husband Keith H. Wycoff, sister-in-law, Ruby (Wycoff) Crandall, and niece Karen (Edeal) Kander.

Survivors include sons Delane (Dorothy) Wycoff, Kevin (Paige) Wycoff, Timothy Wycoff (Susan West) and daughters Janine Wycoff, Valerie Wycoff (James Lovell-Smith), exchange daughter, Naoko (Takemoto) Okamoto, grandchildren Jason Wycoff, Kathryn Wycoff Gross, K. Tyler Wycoff, Reid Wycoff, Cole Wycoff, Isaac Wycoff, Olivia Wycoff, Timothy Lovell-Smith and Jasmine Lovell-Smith, plus great grandchildren, step-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Cremation was chosen. Retha’s life will be honored on August 15, 2018, with a 10:00 a.m. Memorial Service at the First United Methodist Church in Lexington with Pastor Anne Gahn, officiating.

Her committal service will follow at Greenwood Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the church or The Dawson County Historical Society and Museum or donor’s choice.

Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington is honored to be assisting the family with arrangements. Please share online condolences with the family by visiting: