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Fern D. Ingham 1908-2005


Posted By: michael (email)
Date: 4/18/2005 at 17:06:31

Fern D. Ingham, 96 died of natural causes due to aging at Windmill Manor, Coralville, Iowa on April 16, 2005. A Memorial Celebration of Life will be conducted by the Rev. Alecia Williams and Rev. Alvin Jingst on Saturday, April 23, 2005 at 10:00 a.m. at Lensing’s Oak Hill-210 Holiday Road, Coralville. A gathering will be held on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at Lensing’s. It was Fern’s wish to be cremated. Burial will be in Oak Hill Cemetery in Tiffin, Iowa. In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed to the Iowa City Hospice or Tiffin Grace United Methodist Church.

Fern is survived by her daughter, Rev. Beverly J. Birtcher of North Liberty. Eleven grandchildren, Bill Jr., Josanna, Brad Birtcher and Jayna Dozier, Laurie Ingham Nachbor, Vicki Fern Ingham Taylor and Jeannette Ingham Weeks, all of Sedgwick County, Kansas, Mitchell, Kenneth and Tracy Ingham of Colorado and Kirk from Lake Park, Iowa. She is also survived by twenty seven great grandchildren and nine great great grandchildren. Suzanne and Michael Ingham preceded her in death.

On December 13, 1908 Fern Dorothy Hon was born in Hocking, a coal mining place south of Albia, Iowa, the second daughter of Frank D. Hon and Maude Rae (Miller) Hon. She was baptized in the M.E. Church as a baby. She had one older sister, Lucille Marie (Mrs. Louis Chicilli) of Des Moines. One younger brother Frank LeRoy Hon and four half brothers, twins Leo and Cleo, Richard and James Andrew, all now are deceased.

Her mother moved her family to Des Moines and as a single parent she raised her family with help of her daughters Lucille and Fern who left high school early on to work for the Bell Telephone Co., which did not allow married women to work as telephone operators at that time.

Fern met Kenneth W. Ingham in 1925 at the annual Iowa State Fair. They secretly eloped to Galena, Illinois on May 16, 1929, yet shortly thereafter Bell Co. changed the “unmarried women operators” rule because the company needed all experienced operators to teach the incoming dial system.

In 1930, they moved to Enderlin, North Dakota seeking a good opportunity for their own business. A crop failure caused them to return to Cedar Rapids with their new daughter Beverly. Ken worked as opening manager for several new start-up stations for Phillips Co. Their son Kenneth LeRoy, aka KenRoy was born in Cedar Rapids in 1932. Their second son was born in Iowa City in January 1941. All the children attended kindergarten through high school graduation at the Tiffin Independent School. Fern was a stay at home mom.

In 1934 they bought their own business on the north side of Tiffin hwy 6. They then bought the Tiff Inn and later the dinner club named Club 88. Many years later they bought the Snack Shack near Galena, Kansas. Ten years later they moved back to Johnson County.

Ken Roy became an attorney and municipal court judge in Wichita, Kansas practicing for many years. Richard was a successful manager for franchise food operations. Both are deceased. Besides her huge family she has many nieces and nephews from the Ingham family and also from the Chicilli and Andrews families.

Mom was truly a marriage partner and business partner with Dad for 68 years. Dad died May 10, 1999. Fern had a strong work ethic and strove for the education of her children.

She was happiest when singing and ballroom dancing with Dad. She and her sister, Lucille had a singing and dancing stage act when they were teenagers in Des Moines. They also performed in Perry, Iowa and other suburbs around Des Moines. They named themselves “The Hon Sisters from Cherry Hill”. They had high hopes of going to Hollywood. The natural blond, Lucille and the blue eyed brunette, Fern were beautiful and a delight to their audiences. Fern strummed, playing chords on a little four stringed guitar (as she called it) until just a few years ago.

There is an old saying that just fits my mom, Fern and Dad, “They worked hard, long hours, all their lives and when possible, they played hard.”

Fern never seemed to have time for volunteer work, yet she was president of Tiffin PTA and the NIFFIT Club for one year. She organized and supervised the annual fund raising dinner, she was chair for one on the high school basketball banquets and was chaperone in 1948 for the senior class trip to Omaha, Nebraska.

Isaiah 40: 31 NSV…”But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as Eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

On line condolences may be directed to www.lensingfuneral.com


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