Virginia (Jean) Elizabeth (Bodensteiner) Schmelzer, West Union, Iowa, January 14, 2023,

Virginia (Jean) Elizabeth (Bodensteiner) Schmelzer, 92, of West Union, Iowa, passed away peacefully Saturday, January 14, 2023, at 11:05 p.m. Prior to her hospice care and passing at Gunderson Hospital, West Union, she was a resident of Good Samaritan Nursing Home. From February 2016, until July 2021, she was a resident at Copper Creek Assisted Living Facility, also in West Union.

The second of eight children, Virginia was born to Clem and Florence (Lusson) Bodensteiner on June 3, 1930, at the family farm. She received her education at St. Luke’s Schools in St. Lucas, Iowa. After high school graduation, she worked as a mother’s helper for local families and as a telephone operator.

On September 5, 1952, Virginia was united in marriage to James Schmelzer of West Union, IA, at St. Luke’s Catholic Church. The couple was blessed with four children: Kathryn, Teresa, Mary and Edward. They farmed the Schmelzer family farm in rural West Union. Virginia was employed by Brown’s (later Tierney’s) Department Store throughout the 1980’s and into the ‘90’s.

Virginia’s faith was extremely important to her. She was a member of Holy Name Catholic Church her entire married life. She was an involved member of its Rosary Society and Catholic Daughters of America, along with leading the Rosary before Mass. Virginia also lectored at daily Mass, transported others to weekend Masses, and served as one of the directors for RCIA and religious education at Holy Name for many years. A recipient of a Volunteer Award from Governor Branstad, she also served at the Good Samaritan Home, Prairie View Home and the West Union Meal Site, along with volunteering for the American Cancer Society and helping out at the polls for numerous elections. A faithful member of the Union Study Club, she was asked to be the secretary for decades due to her beautiful handwriting and mastery of proper grammar and punctuation.

Virginia enjoyed solving crossword puzzles, playing cards, reading the newspaper and spending time with family. Her loyalty to the Chicago Cubs, begun in her youth, continued for decades, also. She was pleased when members of her family shared her devotion and updated her regularly.

Virginia is survived by her daughters, Teresa Koch of Dubuque, IA and Mary Schmelzer of Huxley, IA; four grandchildren, Eric (Becky) Sowder, Christa, Danny and Benjamin Koch and two great-grandchildren, Maddy and Lucy Sowder, as well as son-in-law, Daiv Sowder and daughter-in-law, Anastasia Nicklaus Schmelzer. She is also survived by three brothers, Clem (Leona) Bodensteiner, John (Carolyn) Bodensteiner and Ivan Bodensteiner; sisters-in-law, Roberta Bodensteiner and Shirley Schmelzer, and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband, James Schmelzer in 2006; her parents, Clem and Florence Bodensteiner; her children, Kathryn Sowder and Edward Schmelzer; son-in-law, Joseph Koch; and siblings and spouses, Edward & Bernie Bodensteiner, Arlene & Brad Brockman, Dolly and Mel Kuennen, James Bodensteiner, sister-in-law, Patricia Bodensteiner, and brother-in-law, William Schmelzer.

Visitation will be held from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm with a 4:00 Rosary on Friday, January 20, 2023 at Burnham-Wood-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service in West Union, Iowa. There will also be a one hour visitation before mass at the church on Saturday.

Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:00 am on Saturday, January 21, 2023 at Holy Name Catholic Church in West Union, Iowa with Rev. Ralph Davis as the celebrant.  Interment will follow at Mt. Calvary Cemetery in West Union, Iowa.

Burnham-Wood-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service of West union, Iowa is assisting the family with services.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Dollars for Scholars at North Fayette Valley Schools, Holy Name Catholic Church or American Cancer Society.

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