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Lawrence Eldon Vogel


Posted By: Lisa Walden (email)
Date: 9/7/2020 at 01:00:17

Lawrence Eldon Vogel passed from this life on June 29th, 2020, at the age of 107 years, 5 months, and one day. His is a long obituary, but then, it was a long life!

Lawrence Vogel's parents, Herman and Ethel Werner Vogel moved to homestead in Montana the year after men legally were to quit wearing their six-shooters out there. He was born in a log cabin along the Milk River by the Vandalia Dam, on January 28, 1913, and was #2 of six children. One of his mother’s sisters was her only attendant at his birth. He says he rode horseback before he could walk, and always loved horses, caring for, training, and riding them. One of his worst memories of the Montana years was of the constant threat from rattlesnakes and he learned over time to kill them with a stick or even by hand to save on bullets. He survived all his siblings, Mrs. Celia (Robert) Kahl of Aurora, Co, Clarence who died of polio to the throat at age 10, Mrs. Marjory (Rev. David) Peterson of Billings, Montana, and his only other brother Walter (Marjorie Flucky, Maureen Jeter) Vogel of Afton, Ia. and Buena Vista, Ark. and Mrs. Lois (Weldon) Barker of Mt. Ayr, Ia.

His mother's people, Samuel and Maria Langdon Werner immigrated to Arispe, Iowa, and his father's people, Ferdinand and Marguerite Grotford Walden Vogel moved to Linn, Mo. Both families came from Germany before our American Civil war and like many who came here remembering the wars in Europe, never wanted to take sides. His mother's people went first to the Crimea because the Czar of Russia was offering farmland to people who would settle up the area the English had left. He was as good as his word and gave them land, a small sum of money to start with, a team of oxen and a plow, but when they discovered he was conscripting the immigrant boys to put at the front, which the Czar had originally promised to avoid, they decided Russian Army life was not for their sons so then they came to Arispe, Iowa. Lawrence's mother was born after they arrived in Iowa and they were told not to speak a word of German because it was dangerous to do so. Lawrence never learned the language of his grandparents.

One of his earliest memories was of Armistice Day ending World War I, and the streets of Hinsdale, Montana filled with people dancing and celebrating and the bells of every church in Hinsdale pealing for hours. He remembers our guys waving out the windows of the troop trains as they brought them home from the war.

The list of things he remembers coming into existence during his life-time is astonishing. Electricity came to be known in their town; he was in middle school when radios became common in homes, and things such as telephones, TV, railroads, steam engines, big dam and railroad construction, tractors and farm equipment, phonographs, computers, cell phones, i-phones, and much more all came into being during his life-time. From horse and buggy travel to watching the moon landing of the first space rockets was commented on from time to time. He recalls seeing the huge bones of buffalo carcasses strewn all across the prairies as he rode out after cattle. And the circles of stones left behind where the native tribes pulled up their teepees to travel on were still left all over the ground as well.

He was an enthralling storyteller and his cowboy adventures were part of the favorites in his children’s minds. But there were constant requests of “Daddy tell us about the time…” as he recalled his family and growing up years.

He also remembers being taught the Bible at his Methodist mother's knee, and growing up in "Mormon" country, being taught that everything to do with the Mormons was terrible. Fortunately, his cousin Neil Kent gave him lots of Bible tracts about the church, before lending him the Book of Mormon to read for himself. Then his devotion to Christ and Christian faith was only increased by doing so. In 1936, he was baptized into a small RLDS group at Hinsdale, Montana who loved the Book of Mormon for itself but who rejected Brighamite Mormonism. He attended church with the Hentz and Andes families in Montana until he and his parents bought farmland in Fayette Township, Decatur Co., Iowa in 1947.

He met his wife-to-be at an RLDS reunion held on the Graceland Campus in Lamoni back when the dining room was in the basement of Walker Hall. He saw this pretty lady sitting with her cousins, Olive Wathena and John Ballantyne, who had greeted him earlier, and asked to sit with them. He and Ada Irene Park were married in 1949. She was a music, art, and kindergarten through 3rd grade teacher, bassist, and artist.

They had Mary Lois, Joy Irene, received foster son Don Keeler into their home and family, then had Anna Lynn, and David Lawrence. Lawrence was father-in-law to Mary Coleman Keeler of Creston, Ia; Javier Delgado Hdz. of Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico; Debra Gard Vogel of Independence, Mo and Kendrall Flessas of Oxford, Ga. He was grandfather to 5 Keelers, 3 Vogels, 3 Flessas, and a Delgado. He had 18 great-grandchildren and 31 great-great-grandchildren.

He married Marian Brock Blumenschein in November of 1987, after Irene's passing, and had a very warm relationship with the Brocks, Blumenscheins and her children, Brent, Tom, Laura Jo, Audrey and their families, but lost his 2nd wife, Marian, also to cancer, in 2001. He then married Gerry Doty, who passed away from cancer after a short time.

Lawrence was an election judge for years in Decatur County, Ia. and then in Jackson County, Mo. until 2009, and served twelve years as a Chaplain at the Groves Nursing Home in Independence until 2011. He has served as a priest and elder in the RLDS and Community of Christ ever since he began attending the Evergreen RLDS congregation 6 miles SW of Lamoni upon arrival in Iowa.

In the '50s and '60s, long before organic food production became valued, Lawrence realized his soil needed improvement and began to bring in natural soil nutrients from all over the world, including Colorado, Idaho, and even as far away as Russia, and imported truck-loads of earthworms to aerate the soil. He continued to upgrade his land with terraces, crop rotation with fallow fields left a year, and natural fertilizers, until his production was one of the finest in Decatur County. He raised a herd of registered Aberdeen Angus cattle, all named with the prefix "Evergreen." While he farmed his own acres, he found time to help friends and neighbors with haying or other needs. His grandfather had hybridized a strain of sweetcorn that became popular under the well-known name of "Iowa Chief" when sold to the Earl May Seed Company. Lawrence produced Iowa Chief for several neighboring families along with his own, as well as selling field corn for the Earl May company.

He began learning Spanish at the age of 55, then took retirement from farming in 1976 and pastored churches and trained ministers at Matamoros, Tamaulipas; Jojutla, Morelos; and later at Guatemala City, Guatemala. He learned to use the computer at the age of 80 and used an iPad and Skype. He loved to tell jokes and was encouraged in this by his friend Clarence Snethen who had him up for Master of Ceremonies in the Lamoni Lions Club years earlier. He continued to make younger and younger friends over the years, with many attending his 85th, 90th, 95th, 100th and 105th parties, but one very sweet occasion in his life was getting to visit with long-time friends, Duane Stevenson, and Joe and Enid DeBarthe when they were all healthy nonagenarians. The four of them reminisced and told stories about loved ones and family for a couple of hours.

He enjoyed the weddings of three of his great-granddaughters: Bridget Ross to Nick Ballard, then Kesley Tame to Curtiss Bird and finally Victoria Keeler to Justin Edwards. He helped officiate in both Bridget’s and Victoria’s weddings. Then he received word at his 105th birthday party that Victoria and husband were expecting Ryan, whom he later blessed from his wheelchair at the Lamoni nursing home.

Lawrence lived at Lamoni Nursing and Rehab in Lamoni since leaving Joy and Javier’s home in Saltillo, Mexico, and returning to Iowa less than a month before his 100th birthday. He cherished his birthday cards and letters from US Presidents, Governors, Senators, and many friends. He enjoyed his roommates including Willy Barnett, who with his family were good friends over the years as neighboring farmers. He continued to affirm his love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ at any gathering when he could get the microphone!

He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, his 3 successive wives, daughter Mary Lois, son Don Keeler, and mostly in order of passing: great-great-grandson Brenden, sons Brent & Tom Blumenschein, niece Margaret Barker Bomer Ballinger, nephews Fred Barker and Ronnie Bomer, grandson Wesley Keeler, and many other friends and loved ones over the years.

He will be well remembered among those who knew him.

Source: sladefuneralhome.com/obituaries


Decatur Obituaries maintained by Constance McDaniel Hall.
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