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Vivian Grace Elder

December 12, 1927 October 14, 2019
Vivian Grace Elder
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Obituary for Vivian Grace Elder

Vivian Grace Elder passed away peacefully on October 14, 2019. She was 91 years old.

She was born Vivian Grace Fitzgerald in Chester township, Howard County, Iowa on December 12, 1927, and grew up in the areas in and around Lime Springs and Bonair. She attended high school in Lime Springs and graduated from Cresco High School in 1945, where she was in Glee Club and played the trumpet. After graduation, she worked at The Lind Studio in Cresco. She married Allen Elder on July 3, 1947 and they eventually settled on a farm north of Ridgeway in 1954, where she ended up living for the rest of her life.

On the farm she raised her two children and, later, babysat grandchildren often. She tended a garden each year and milked cows (a skill she perfected as a child) by herself every day until 2001, when she was 74 years old. Needless to say, she had a level of grit and perseverance that is rare. In addition to her resilient spirit, she was also incredibly kind-hearted and very charming. She had a twinkle in her eye and lit up a room when she smiled.

While she lived in the same area for most of her life, she possessed an adventurous spirit. She was an avid reader, with a preference for romance novels. She had a lifelong thirst for learning, taking a variety of community education classes, as well as earning a certificate through what is now Northeast Iowa Community College. She was creative, sewing clothing for herself (and for Barbie Dolls!) and constructed beautiful quilts for most of her life. She was always dressed stylishly. She was beautiful inside and out.

While she liked being home, she also enjoyed participating in a women’s quilting group and attending United Methodist Church in Cresco.

She loved all those in her life unconditionally. She will be missed dearly. And, as she said at the end of each phone conversation, “Bye for now.”

She was preceded in death by her son, Raymond Neil Elder; her husband, Allen Robert Elder; her parents, Frank Freeman Fitzgerald and Frances Evelyn (Barrett) Fitzgerald; and her brother, Russell Wayne Fitzgerald.

She is survived by her son, Michael Allen Elder [Nancy Reeve], 4 grand-daughters, Theresa Lynn (Elder) Peplinski [Joe], Lisa Rene (Elder) Melander [Aaron], Karrie Spring (Elder) McClellan [Peter], and Holly Spring Elder; 5 great-grand-daughters, Amber Rene Godfrey, Kayla Marie Godfrey, Charlotte Grace McClellan, Vivian Isle Melander and Madeline Jane Melander; sisters-in-law, Therma (Cornwell) Fitzgerald and Lois (Elder) Amundson; many nieces and nephews; and lifelong friends.

In honor of Vivian’s last wishes, there will be a private graveside funeral for immediate family only and no viewing. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Phillips Cemetery Fund, c/o Tim Grabau, 18764 65th Street, Lime Springs, IA 52155.

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