Severna Cowell, McGregor, Iowa, June 14, 2020.

Severna Aileen Cowell, 86, of McGregor, Iowa passed away on Sunday, June 14, 2020.  She was born January 3, 1934 to Severin and Eda (Heilman) Johnson. Severna was baptized and confirmed at First Lutheran Church, McGregor, Iowa. She grew up on a farm South of Highway 18 with her parents, sister, Mary Lou and her father’s Uncle Ole from Norway.  Except for a few years in Minnesota, she had lived her entire life in McGregor.  In April of 2016 when her health began to fail, she came to live with Linda and Peter in Monona, IA.

Severna enjoyed helping her dad with farm chores and her mom and sister with gardening and canning.  She especially enjoyed entertaining her cousin Richard Johnson from Minneapolis when he came to spend the summers on the farm.  She served as president of Giard Eager Hands 4-H Club while in high school.  She graduated from McGregor High School, then attended Iowa State Teachers College (now UNI) and earned a two year teaching degree. Severna taught elementary school, grades First through Fifth for over thirty-five years in West Union, Luana, Bloomington, MN, Marquette and McGregor, retiring in 1992. She loved her students and they loved her back.  She saw great potential in each of them and strove to give them her best during her career.

She loved her grandchildren and cherished every moment she was with them.  They enjoyed their trips to Disney World, Epcot, Niagra Falls and visiting them in Minnesota and Texas.  She went to numerous Football, Wrestling, Band, Vocal and musical concerts to see them perform, and was very proud of all of them. She also loved her pets and delighted in the entertainment and affection given to her by the four Kettelkamp Yorkies; Sully, Sissy, Toby & Tessie who were by her side until her last breath.

Severna was an active member of First Lutheran Church, McGregor, IA and enjoyed years of teaching Sunday School, Bible School and playing piano for the choir.  She enjoyed the fellowship in WELCA and Bible Study, quilting, and mentoring confirmation students.  She was very proud to be invited into the teaching sorority, Delta Kappa Gamma, later known as the International Society of Women Educators.

She loved music, playing piano, singing (before her throat surgery), school musicals and The Elkader Opera House performances.  Severna enjoyed playing jig-saw puzzles on computer, reading, camping and tending her flowers in the summer.  She also loved playing cards with her church friends.  She has been blessed with many wonderful neighbors in Monona, McGregor and surrounding areas who cared for her, played cards with her, visited her in her home in McGregor, and Monona.  She was grateful for neighbors Deb Parkison and Sharon Meier for their unconditional love and care, and adopted them as honorary daughters forever.  Severna’s greatest joy was spending time with family and friends.

Surviving Severna are her children, Linda (Peter) Kettelkamp of Monona, Iowa and Jeff (Billie) Cowell of Claremont, Minnesota; three grandchildren; Amy Dearborn, LaTricia (Jon) Wigham both from Minnesota, and Brent Miller from Fate, TX.; six great-grandchildren: Parker, Brody, Brantley, Eva, Lily, Lucy, and special friends, Pr. Deb Parkison and Sharon Meier from Monona.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Severin and Eda Johnson; her sister, Mary Lou McGuire; Grandson, Ryan Cowell; cousin Captain Richard Johnson, US Navy; two uncles, Bill and Elmer Johnson and brother-in-law, Bill McGuire.

Visitation will be held from 4-7 pm on Friday, June 19, 2020 at Thornburg-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service in McGregor, Iowa. There will also be a one hour visitation before services at the church on Saturday.

Funeral Service will be at 11:00 am on Saturday, June 20, 2020 at First Lutheran Church in McGregor, Iowa with Rev. Gary Hatcher as the officiant.

Burial will follow at First Lutheran Cemetery, McGregor, Iowa.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, state and federal guidance on gatherings will be followed. We ask that everyone wears a facemask and follows social distancing guidelines.  The Service will be Live-Streamed through Facebook at 11:00 AM Saturday.

Thornburg-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service of McGregor, Iowa is assisting the family.


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