Fern Elizabeth Kleppe, 93, of Elgin, Iowa, died Saturday, January 2, 2021, at Gundersen Palmer Lutheran Hospital in West Union. She was born March 5, 1927, to Jacob and Ida (Schneider) Friederich Sr. in Clayton County, Iowa. The family moved to a farm west of Elgin where Fern grew up. She attended Wander Country School, rural Clermont, through 8th grade. She was baptized and confirmed as an adult at First Lutheran Church, rural West Union.
On July 25, 1946, Fern was united in marriage with Leslie B. Kleppe in Preston, Minnesota. Fern was a dedicated and caring housewife and farmer. Fern and Leslie operated a dairy farm for many years. Fern raised the calves from birth, with a special touch. Fern cared for various cats over the years, spoiling her favorites, Midnight and Lily. She enjoyed being outdoors, gardening, baking, refinishing furniture, dancing, playing cards, and patching and mending clothes. Fern also wrote weekly letters to her children after they moved out of the home. She was a pioneer of recycling and composting. Fern was a caregiver for her parents and brothers for many years and was always there for her children and grandchildren. She found great pleasure in visiting extended family members, neighbors, and friends. She often gifted baked goods, homegrown, and homemade items to them. Fern was a member of the Elgin Lutheran Church and active in WELCA. She took great pride in being chairman of the Sunshine Committee, sending greeting cards for all occasions to church members. She sewed countless “crazy quilt tops” and helped assemble quilts for Lutheran World Relief. She was also a member of the American Legion Auxiliary.
Fern is survived by her children, Gary (Debra) Kleppe of Monroe, Wisconsin, Gayle (Beau) Wold Kleppe of Eleva, Wisconsin, Gregg (Lori) Kleppe of DeSoto, Wisconsin and Gwen (J.D.) Van Dee of Deep River, Iowa; six grandchildren, Jen (Andrew Berge) Kleppe, Christopher (Amber) Kleppe, Jeffrey (Kathryn Nael) Kleppe, John (Veronica Garza) Kleppe, Maria Van Dee and Easton Van Dee; three great-grandchildren, Emmy, TJ and Zae; brothers, Raymond (Murtis) Friederich of Postville, Iowa, and James (Delores) Friederich of West Union, Iowa; sister-in-law, Marian Friederich of Colorado; many nieces and nephews; and many great-nieces and great-nephews.
Fern was preceded in death by her husband, Leslie Kleppe on February 11, 2015; her parents, Jacob and Ida Friederich; siblings, Alma (Orville) Berg; Richard (Ila) Friederich, Dorothy (Leo) Foels, Erma (Millard) Kamaus, Jacob (Beverly) Friederich Jr., George Friederich, Alton Friederich, Lester (Bernice) Friederich, and Robert (Jean) Friederich. She was also preceded in death by 13 brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.
Memorials may be directed to the Elgin Lutheran Church.
Private Services will be held at a later date.
Leonard-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Elgin, Iowa is assisting the family with arrangements.