Alma Sindlinger Lusthoff

Honored by:Pauline McGinnis
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Alma Lusthoff (1900-1977) could accomplish more in one day than most of us could in one week. Beside keeping up with her daily farm life Alma could sew a dress bake a pie knit a pair of mittens (in minutes) work in her garden correspond with friends create a seasonal center-piece polish the silver and then host bridge club. Simply put she never sat still. Alma Greta Hoag graduated from Waterloo’s West High School in 1918. She taught country school in Black Hawk County and later attended Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls. From there she taught in the Des Moines area Idaho and finally business courses back in Waterloo Iowa. In 1925 Alma married Dale Sindlinger. They began operating and purchasing Dale's family farm in Orange Township close to Waterloo. Then in 1930 Dale died of pneumonia leaving Alma alone to raise their two children William and Pauline. She continued to farm with the help of her father and hired hands. In 1932 she married Charles Lusthoff. Charlie readily accepted Alma’s children as his own and together they operated the farm. Charlie also owned and operated the Lusthoff Feed and Hardware business in Waterloo. Alma and Charlie enjoyed a busy life together working hard traveling socializing and doting on their six grandchildren. Alma’s particular strength was channeling her creative energies into many different avenues exploring each one vigorously. Among her favorites were gardening sewing entertaining painting and reading. Alma was admired for her flair with flowers. She received many blue ribbons at flower shows. She also served as president of the Orange Township Garden Club and chaired the Little Garden Committee for exhibit at the National Dairy Cattle Congress. At home extensive flower borders surrounded her yard. Strawberries raspberries and vegetables completed her gardens. She took particular pride in making special jams jellies and pickles. Alma delighted in creating fashionable garments for her daughter and grandchildren. Over the years she knit numerous sweaters and afghans for her family and always had handwork going be it Christmas stockings or fine embroidery. With a group of friends Alma formed a Gourmet/Ceramic Club. Each was fond of the others' cooking and eventually the group compiled its own cookbook. During their monthly get-togethers everyone decorated ceramic greenware which was then fired in Alma’s kiln. The women were also skillful in china painting. In their retirement years Alma and Charlie traveled throughout Europe and the United States. They achieved a personal goal of traveling to all forty-eight contiguous states by automobile. Although Alma's family has many treasures to remember her by the one treasure held most dear was Alma’s ability to endure the hardships of life through her strength of character and an optimistic outlook. Alma’s life spanned a unique period in history from mud roads and no electricity to a walk on the moon. During that time people faced economic ruin debilitating illnesses war unexpected death and heartbreak. Despite all tragedy it is how one perseveres in life that distinguishes one person from another. Alma’s daughter Pauline was married to Dallas McGinnis who was a member of the Iowa State University Information Service staff for 40 years.