Breckenridge Texan

Loretta Elder

Loretta Elder
July 25
08:51 2021

Loretta Elder, 90, of Breckenridge, passed away on Thursday, July 22, 2021. Her funeral service will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, July 26, 2021, at the First Baptist Church, with Andy Rodgers and Danny Lee officiating. Her interment at Evergreen Cemetery outside of Ranger will immediately follow under the direction of Melton-Kitchens Funeral Home.

Emma Loretta Stephen was born in Ranger, Texas, on December 13, 1930, to parents Bennie Edward Stephen and Vida Belle (Chambers) Stephen. She graduated in 1948 from Ranger High School, where she was voted as the Personality Plus award winner. Shortly after graduation, she married the love of her life, Sammie Lee Elder. The two were married in Ranger on August 27, 1948. The couple was married for over four decades until his passing in December of 1989. Together they had three children: two sons and a daughter.

Loretta lived a long and happy life, and on her 90th birthday, she expressed that she would not have changed one thing about her life!

She loved playing cards and dominoes with her friends, and she did a pretty good job at bowling as well. She and Sammie spent several nights a week at the bowling alley enjoying the game and laughing with friends. She also loved camping at Possum Kingdom State Park and cooking on the campfire along with Nalda Cockrell, her lifetime friend and sidekick.

Loretta was extremely fond of traveling and being able to see new things. She had such fun memories of the First Baptist Church Triple L group and her trips to the mountains with Uncle Alvin.

She had a fierce love for her grandchildren and followed and supported everything they did. Whether it was a baseball game, softball game, volleyball game, or track meet, you would always find her in the stands wearing her visor, ready to cheer them on. That love only increased as her great-grandchildren grew and became involved in sports. She loved to watch them play and was always excited to talk about how good she thought they had done. She was so proud of each and every single one of them!

She loved her family, and we will miss her greatly, but we know that “To be absent from the body is to be with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8), and we now cheer her on as she starts her new life in heaven.

Our family would like to say a special thank you to Dr. Cynthia Perry for her care for so many years. Our heartfelt gratitude to the special nurses in the ICU at Medical City and at Universal Hospice, both in Fort Worth, for their kind hearts and caring spirits as each one cared so attentively for Mother. Our hearts will be forever grateful for all of you.

Loretta was preceded in death by her parents, Bennie Edward and Vida Belle Stephen; her husband, Sammie Lee Elder; brothers, Jack Stephen and Edward Lee Stephen; and sister, Zelda Faye Johnson.

Loretta’s legacy is the family she leaves behind – a family who will dearly miss her. She is survived by her sons, Bennie Dean Elder and wife Stephanie of Kilgore, Texas, and Clay Elder and wife Carole of Breckenridge; daughter, Derinda Holland and husband Rocky of Breckenridge; grandchildren, Cindy Elder Rose, Ronnie Elder, Kari Holland Shea and husband Jason, Kelly Holland Hedge and husband Codie, Cassie Elder Wimberley and husband Cory, Kippi Holland Lattimore and husband Tres, and Caleb Elder and wife Stephanie; 14 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; along with numerous nieces and nephews.

Memorial donations in Loretta’s name can be made to the First Baptist Church building fund and can be left at the Melton-Kitchens Funeral Home office. Condolences can be made online at

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