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Eleanor Ann Alton


Posted By: Sarah Fletcher (email)
Date: 2/26/2024 at 08:26:11

Eleanor Ann Alton was born on August 2, 1931 in Ottumwa, Iowa to Eleanor and Clarence Alton. Ann was the youngest of three children. Growing up on the Albia Road acreage, surrounded by orchards and family, Ann was doted on and always included. She was the tag-a-long – with her dad, the science teacher, in his world of animals and nature; with her mother, at the sewing machine, creating outfits for every occasion; with her older siblings George and Martha, who were required to include her in all their outings with friends; with her grandparents, spending time with them in their grocery store. Ann was loved.

Ann attended the Iowa State Teachers College, where she majored in Home Economics and spent many hours at the Lutheran Student Center. After graduating, she taught 9th grade Home Economics at Lyons Junior High in Clinton, IA. In 1955 Ann traveled to Korea with the Red Cross as a Recreational Worker, where she delivered donuts and coordinated activities for the troops. After a year overseas, she returned to the states and continued to teach Home Ec.

After her marriage to Bill Kurth, they had three children, Amelia, Emily, and William. They raised their family in Decorah, IA. The house at 208 Leif Erickson Drive was a welcoming place and Ann was at the center - In the kitchen whipping up elaborate meals for Luther colleagues, children’s birthday cakes, roast for Sunday dinner, homemade hot cocoa for cold sledders returning from Sunny Side. Each recipe notated the occasion. Everyone was welcome – youngsters learning how to make strawberry jam or jelly rolls, college students taking a break from studies, friends and neighbors stopping by to chat at the picnic table or gathering on the front lawn for the Homecoming parade, relatives visiting for the holidays, her daughters’ friends coming to play. The house was home with Ann.

When she wasn’t in the kitchen, she was in her sewing corner at the top of the stairs. Her sewing machine humming along, creating simple to intricate pieces with beautiful material from her treasured job at L&M Fabrics.

Since the moment he was born, William was the family’s heart and Ann’s focus. In 1987, she and William moved to Iowa City. Ann worked as a teacher’s aid, and he attended West High. She immersed herself in finding the best resources to create the fullest life for William. She worked to ensure his days were filled with learning, music, art, Special Olympics, jobs, and friends. Her efforts not only served William, but also those within the special needs community. Ann’s life was dedicated to William, who she loved with her entire being.

In 2000-2002, Ann became a grandmother to her two grandchildren Grayson and Ainsley. Despite the distance between them, she would always be there for birthdays and holidays to bring her special touch – homemade Halloween costumes and birthday and Easter dresses, pillows for their beds, handmade doll clothes and stuffed animals. Grandma Ann loved spending time with her grandkids.

Ann was Ann from head to toe – her straw hat to her colorful socks. Her home was filled with the sounds of classical music on the radio or MSNBC on the television. She was always working on a project in her yard, at her sewing machine, or in the kitchen. Chocolate ice cream, Panera autumn squash soup, mincemeat pie, and dark chocolate were her favorite treats. Watching squirrels and birds from her dining room window was a favored pastime and a devotion - the feeders had to be full, which meant the best fed birds in Iowa City. She found great joy tending to her yard of flowers – Daisies, Milkweed, Columbine, Lily of the Valley, and Honeysuckle. She loved her cats: Mittens, Moses, Tigger, Theo, Bella. And always wished to have another.

Maintaining friendships and staying connected to everyone in her life was important to Ann. She requested endless amounts of stamps for the countless letters she wrote to friends and family near and far. She loved her brother George and sister Martha dearly and valued the time she had with them. She adored her role as Aunt Ann, loving the frequent phone calls and visits from her nieces. She listened intently and was genuinely interested in knowing about their lives.

Ann lived life. She strived every day to learn and experience new things, even in the last months of her life. She was still a frequent traveler on SEATS, took classes at the senior center, and kept up with the news around the world. Ann wanted to keep living life.

On Monday, February 12, 2024 Ann passed away at the age of 92 at Salem Lutheran Home in Elk Horn, Iowa surrounded by loved ones. Ann is survived by her children: Amelia Kurth of Decorah, IA; Emily Kurth-Christensen (Michael) of Harlan, IA; William Kurth of Decorah, IA; her beloved grandchildren Grayson and Ainsley Christensen; nine nieces and three nephews and other cherished family members.

The service can be viewed live on Gloria Dei's Youtube channel (Gathered By Grace) or at gloriadeilive.org. It will also be archived for those who might like to view it later.

Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service

Johnson Obituaries maintained by Cindy Booth Maher.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

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