|Honored by:||Charles Heggen|
|Brick location:||F:1 map|
Born: September 8, 1900 - Osceola, Iowa Died: November 29, 1994 -Decorah, Iowa Married: Merle A. S. Kadel - June 27, 1925
My grandmother was the second eldest of five children. Her family lived in rural North Dakota (moving when she was five years old) where my great-grandfather farmed and tried other work until he became a rural mail carrier to support his family. Though life was hard in many ways with few luxuries Grandmother's recollections of those times were rich with family togetherness friends and fun.
Grandmother would describe herself as shy and self conscious in those years yet her strength of character sense of adventure and independent nature guided her as she taught in rural schools and realized her dream of becoming a nurse. Despite her parents' reservations of her career choice she graduated with her RN degree in 1923. She had planned to become a medical missionary but her life took another path after marrying my grandfather.
Grandmother practiced her nursing profession for 40-plus years. She was respected for her nursing skills by those she worked with and remembered for her compassion by those she cared for. It was my grandmother who encouraged me to pursue a BSN degree and it was with great pride that I had her pin my nurse's pin at graduation. As a grandmother she was a treasure. Her mind was quick and inquisitive her nature warm and accepting her interests creative.
We would spend hours reading talking and creating "projects." When she talked with you you knew you had her full attention-- what a gift to give a young child. Grandmother was an engaging storyteller and through her recollections gave us a rich family history and an appreciation for the past and present. She wrote these memories in later years and they have become a valuable source of history for family and others.
She traveled the world through her books and maps; and as we grew to adulthood my brothers and I marvelled at Grandmother's grasp of current events and her insight. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren were a great source of enjoyment to her and I can still see her fingering each charm of her grandmother's bracelet as she talked of us with affection and pride.
Grandmother was a woman who possessed great strength and courage optimism and resilience. She was a woman with a deep spiritual faith and a great capacity to love and care for others. She knew the importance of history the excitement of the future and the need to cherish living the here and now.
During her 94 years she saw and experienced many changes and faced all with strength quiet acceptance and optimism. I think if you could ask Grandmother what is important she would say faith in God, family and friends and to leave this world a better place. To me her life was that of a true everyday heroine.
Grandchildren: Wendell B. Willer, Craig P. Willer, Marcia A. (Willer) Heggen, & Stan R. Willer