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Vera Gehle Bills

September 30, 1934 - May 19, 2022

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Vera Gehle Bills, 87, of Lynchburg, VA, passed away May 19, 2022. For 67 years Vera was the loving wife of Col. Walter Bernard Bills and mother of 6 children. She was born in Fort Recovery, Ohio, a daughter of the late Henry Gehle and Josephine Abels Gehle. Vera was known for her warm, welcoming smile, her strong faith, and her profound love of family. 


Vera was all heart – she loved her husband of 67 years, her 6 children, 18 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren. As the matriarch of our family, she was the ever-present example of service, who brought family together for large Thanksgiving dinners with beautifully arranged tables and delicious food. Vera was known for her hospitality within the family as well as within the military squadron. She supported her husband throughout his 30 year career in the US Air Force and made lifelong friends along the way, supplying grace and good home cooking to all that entered her home. Vera was a steady force for her family as they moved 27 times during their Air Force career and she quickly made each house a home. Vera was remarkably versatile and adept, whether entertaining generals at the Officers Club or driving a 1970s station wagon through the Italian Alps.


Vera grew up on a farm with a close-knit family and Catholic community. She often got in trouble for reading instead of finishing her chores, yet her Ohio farm roots gave her common sense and strength. She made sure her kids learned the same farm values by sending each of them to work on the farm in the summer. Ohio never left Vera; no matter where she lived, she always had a beautiful garden and a love for the Cincinnati Reds. After raising her children, Vera became a highly successful realtor. She had a strong mind and a fierce sense of independence that helped her and Walt live independently until her passing.


She is survived by her husband and six children: Jeffrey Bills (Debby) of Charlotte, NC, Michael Bills (Sonjia Smith) of Charlottesville, VA, Tina Friar (Edward) of Concord, VA, Victoria Hanson (Kenneth) of Amherst, VA, Col. Steven Bills (Elizabeth) of Toano, VA, and David Bills (Carol Dullmeyer) of Venice Beach, CA, 18 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by two sisters, Joan Bruns and Marge Nolan, and one brother Donald Gehle.


The family will receive friends from 5-7 pm Wednesday, May 25 at the Tharp Funeral Home on Breezewood Dr., Lynchburg.


On Thursday, May 26, 2022, there will be a viewing at 11 am before the funeral mass at 12:00 pm at St. Thomas More Catholic Church. A lunch reception will follow at the church. Interment will be held at a later date in Arlington National Cemetery.


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