Edna Grace Thiese, 101, passed away June 23, 2018 at Elkader Care Center, due to natural causes.
Edna was born March 18, 1917, near Independence, IA, the middle one of three daughters to Clarence and Lela Zimpfer. During her childhood, she moved to Oelwein, Volga, Garber, and Elkader with her parents, wherever her father could find employment, helping with farming.
Edna Zimpfer attended and graduated from the Elkader School. She attended Junior College in Elkader after winning a one year scholarship. She earned her teaching certificate after completing two years at Junior College. She found employment teaching in a country school in rural Elkader, near the home of Dorothy and Herman Thiese. She met their son, Oliver, while she was a boarder at the Thiese home. Oliver proved to be a real gentleman in helping Edna load firewood into the schoolhouse’s wood stove on cold winter mornings. He also assisted in repairing books.
On June 10, 1936, Edna married Oliver John Thiese. Teachers at that time had to be single, so she gave up teaching and joined her husband in working the Thiese family farm. Together they had one son, Oliver Roy Thiese, Jr. Edna lived on the same farm outside of Elkader until the death of her husband in 1985. At that time she purchased a nearby home, which happened to be the remodeled schoolhouse where her son had attended school.
Edna Thiese was baptized as one Jehovah’s Witnesses on June 29, 1939. She was a very active member in the Elkader Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In 1999, she took up the full-time ministry in helping others to come to a knowledge of the Bible, and continued this for 11 years.
Edna enjoyed reading, gardening, yard work, caring for her flower garden, and the hummingbirds. Most of all, she enjoyed being with friends and encouraging others. She loved extending hospitality to others, as well as participating in the field ministry.
She is survived by her son, Oliver (Margaret) Thiese; Grandchildren: Robin (Danny) Hurst, Michael (Melissa) Thiese, Pauline Leinen, Joel (Elizabeth) Thiese; Great-grandchildren: Samuel (Carissa) Hurst, Jacob (Laura) Hurst, Laura (Whitney) Lindholm, Matthew Hurst, Sonya Hurst, Mariah (Lars) Rasmussen, Brittney Leinen; Claire, Joel Jr., Alexis, Ruby, and Clarence Thiese; and Great-great grandchildren: Crystal Lindholm, Alexys Hurst, and Calvin Hurst.
Edna was preceded in death by her parents, Clarence and Lela Zimpfer; her husband, Oliver Thiese, Sr.; her sisters Geneva Huggins and Bernadine Zimpfer, and a grandchild, Mary Thiese.
Visitation: 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM – Wednesday, June27, 2018, at Kingdom Hall, Elkader.
Funeral Service: 12:00 PM – Wednesday, June27, 2018, at Kingdom Hall, Elkader.
Interment: Hillcrest Cemetery, Volga, Wednesday, June27, 2018, at Kingdom Hall, Elkader.
Leonard-Grau Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Elkader is assisting the family. Online condolences may be left with www.graufuneralhomes.com