Keizer, Amy L. 1896-1998
KEIZER, DARVILLE, COOLBAUGH
Posted By: Viv Reeves (email)
Date: 1/1/2007 at 21:20:08
Centenarian Amy Keizer Dies
Former Hawarden resident Amy L. Keizer died in the early morning of July 13, at Sunrise Hill Care Center, Traer, IA. Her age was 101 years, 8 months and 17 days. Had she lived 18 months more, she would have seen three centuries...the 1800s, 1900s and 2000s. Fully aware of this being unlikely to occur, Amy Keizer told her daughter Doris, in late June, "I do not believe I will see 102 years."
Born Oct. 26, 1896 to Henry Jr. and Edith Estelle (Coolbaugh) Darville, on her parents' farm near Seney, north of LeMars, she married Gerben Keizer Jr., Nov. 29, 1917. They farmed other rental farms, and on her parents' place, and came to Hawarden from the Killam farm (across from Fairview, SD) on Dec. 5, 1935 with their three sons and a daughter. Eugene had finished Fairview High School and Leroy, Doris and Milton graduated from Hawarden High School in 1937, 1946 and 1949.
While Gerben began his business, Northwest Iowa Seed Co., and later added the Hawarden Feed Mill, Amy Keizer enjoyed serving among "We girls" in Martha Circle and later on the Board of the First Methodist Church, where she found solace for the WWII loss of Leroy in the beautiful music of the organ she and Gerben donated to the church in their son's memory. She also was a skilled craftsman/artisan whose needlecraft, pottery, copper planters and etched serving trays delighted her children, and her granddaughters especially treasure dresses made for them and their dolls on Hawarden visits.
Hawardenites who remember depression days and WWII may recall as well the printed cloth feed bags available in those years from the feed store. No one ever counted the hundreds of shirts, skirts and blouses, made from those sacks, that were worn by farm and city dwellers alike. A skilled seamstress, Amy Keizer not only outfitted her family in "bag togs" but also made handsome leather-buttoned corduroy jackets for Gerben and Milton.
Leaving Hawarden Oct. 22, 1957, the Keizers moved to Lake Wales, FL, where they welcomed many Hawarden visitors. Gerben passed away in December, 1970 at 78, but Amy continued to host many friends and relatives until retiring to Sunrise Hill in 1991. At Sunrise, she wove yarn baskets, and made slippers and booties for young and old, people or dolls, and double-crocheted wash rags were so in demand she sold them to buy more materials, even when past 101.
A teacher for two years before marriage, Amy Keizer encouraged her children to read and to seek education. She enjoyed helping many young Hawarden 1940-1950s brides select wedding themes, decoration colors and to plan their church receptions. She balanced being a homemaker, parent, church board member, and wife of a successful businessman who also was, as a Rotarian and Chamber of Commerce member (twice President), equally a vital cog in the smooth gearing of a thriving, small community...yesterday's Hawarden.
On Thursday, July 16, 1998, services for Amy Keizer were held at 11:00 a.m. in Trinity Lutheran Church by Methodist Reverend Dean Shelly (Methodist Church was under reconstruction). All arrangements were by the Overton Family Funeral Home of Traer, IA. Amy Keizer was preceded in death by her parents, husband Gerben, and son 2nd Lt. Leroy W., who was killed in action during WWII, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She is survived by two sons and their wives, Eugene and Alice Keizer of Cornwall, PA, and Milton and Joelle Keizer of Fall City, WA, one daughter and her husband, Doris and Jim Wilson of Traer, nine grandchildren and fifteen grandchildren.
Amy Lucille Keizer now rests forever at Grace Hill Cemetery.
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