Velva Klaessy attended Iowa State Teachers College earning a Bachelor's Degree in mathematics. In 1944, she joined the World War II cryptologic effort remaining in the field even after the war. For many years she was a member of the highly respected Technical Consultants group assisting other analytic offices with their most difficult problems.
From 1958-1967, Ms. Klaessy held positions of high responsibility in organizations dealing with cutting edge technology. She became the deputy chief of the New and Unidentified Signals Division and was made chief in 1964.
Ms. Klaessy was named Deputy Senior United States Liaison Officer (Deputy SUSLO) in Ottawa, Canada in 1967 and then SUSLO in 1970. She was the first woman to hold a senior liaison officer post anywhere in the world.