Betty Laura Strunk was born March 15th, 1924 and passed away September 5, 2019 at Sunnyview Care Center in Ankeny Iowa at the age of 95 years old, surrounded by family.
She was the third of three girls born to Robert E. Luse and Glennie May (Hixson) Luse at their home in Main Station, Iowa. When Betty was born the doctor rode out on the inter-urban (small train system). Her papa had to ride over a mile to meet the doctor with a horse and wagon to bring him home. “When the doctor arrived her mother said “you are not my doctor, you have never seen me”. Her papa was going to take him back, but her mother said “no you must stay and deliver my baby”, so he was allowed to stay. Life was hard in the Depression era; she remembered short square iron stoves heated with cobs, sticks or coal, and kerosene lamps. She loved to go with her papa in a wagon to the coal mine where they had small ponies pulling mining carts that she tried to get rides on. Growing up for Betty was living on her family farm near Rathbun, living a few years in Centerville, and an experience in living a short time in Detroit, Michigan, when her father decided to try selling shoes rather than milking cows. He sold all of his machinery, team of horses, cows and chickens. They lived in a very small one-bedroom house and when one of her father’s friends decided to move to Detroit, Betty’s dad took pity on his friend and he said they could live with them and had Glennie hang a sheet up between the two families for privacy. This was short lived and the cows, chickens and gardening of Iowa seemed to win over the city life of Detroit in a hurry!
Betty was a great student, great trumpet player and loved to play ball with her dad. She learned how to cook from her mother and made the best pies, biscuits and roast, potatoes, carrots and gravy in Appanoose County. She loved when her older sister came home from Nebraska and brought her pretty dresses and such things as deodorant and china dolls. Betty learned to share and be giving from her parents and older sister Ione. She had a quiet and meek spirit, and loved the Lord, her family and the good old USA! She trusted Christ as her personal Savior in high school. She graduated from Moravia High School in 1942 with a Normal Certificate to teach elementary grades. She then, immediately in the fall of 1942, started teaching school at the age of 18; 1st – 8th grades all in a one room school. She was the janitor, HVC person and disciplinarian! She planned all the social events and was the school nurse.
Betty married Lester Paul Strunk (Punk) who was quoted saying “Betty was the best girl he could find!” On May 20th, 1945 at her parents’ home just south of Moravia. They started life with the 80 acres that Lester had in a small house that had been used most recently for corn storage and a few head of heifers that Betty purchased with her money from teaching school. Betty and Lester were recognized as Alfalfa growers, cattle, hog, and sheep producers and received awards for their accomplishments.
Betty is survived by three Daughters; Beverly Ann Strunk of CA, Mary (Don) Godwin, Joan (Dwight) Axtell both from Ankeny, IA; Son, John (Teresa) Strunk of Moravia; Six Grandchildren, Paul (Beth) Silas of Italy, Phil (Saira) Silas of Springfield, IL, Carey (Matt) Clark of Ankeny, IA, Chris (Mary) Axtell of Van Meter, IA, Courtney (Adam) Dahl of Cheyenne, Wyoming, Michael (Leah) Strunk of Moravia, IA; Eleven Great Grandchildren, Michael, Joshua and Jacob Silas, Lauren, Carter, Theo Clark, Norah, Lolah and Watson Axtell, Eva and Olive Dahl.
Betty was preceded in death by: her husband Lester; her parents and grandparents; sisters Ione McConnell and infant sister Marie Luse; son-in-law David Daniels.
Betty was a dearly loved mother, daughter, sister, wife, grandmother, great grandmother and friend!!
Funeral services will be held at 10 AM, Saturday, September 21, 2019 at Lange Funeral Home in Moravia, Iowa, with Pastor Terry Chapman officiating. Burial will follow in the Hillcrest Cemetery, Moravia. A visitation will take place on Friday, September 20, 2019 at Lange Funeral Home in Moravia from 12 PM-8 PM, with the family receiving friends from 6-8 PM. A memorial has been designated to the Moravia First Responders and may be mailed to Lange Funeral Home, 1900 S. 18th St., Centerville, Iowa, 52544. Condolences may be shared online at www.langefh.com.
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