IAGenWeb ~ Decatur County IA ~ Rachel Lynn Elson-Canfield obituary



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Obituary ~ Rachel Lynn Elson-Canfield
August 28, 1953 ~ May 15, 2017

Leon Journal-Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa

Rachel Lynn Elson-Canfield, 63, died following a courageous fight against melanoma, on May 15, 2017, at her home in Hot Springs, Arkansas surrounded by the love of her husband, Ted, sons, Nathan and Ben, other family, and her faithful companions, Samson and Delilah.

Rachel was the first daughter born to Charles Lee Elson and Nancy Ann (Netherton) Elson, arriving at 6:50 a.m. on August 28, 1953. She was born in Leon, Iowa, where she graduated from Central Decatur High School. During her youth, she participated in a wide variety of activities, including basketball, vocal music, instrumental music, art, drama, and many church activities. She had a love for horses and any other critter, often bringing home strays or injured animals. Most free time was spent riding her horse, Flicka. She was a baptized member of the United Methodist Church since May 9th, 1965.

Following high school, she was accepted into Luther College in Decorah, Iowa graduating Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Biology. She then attended Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK, where she obtained her Masterís degree in Speech therapy. Nathaniel her first son, during her first marriage, was born in Stillwater. Following graduation from OSU, they lived for a brief time in Albuquerque NM, and she became a mother for the second time to Benjamin. Her time in Albuquerque solidified her preference for Southwestern culture and style, which ultimately led to many of her artistic endeavors.

Following a move to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and a brief time at home, Rachel became employed by Grant Wood AEA as a speech and language therapist. It was a career where her incredible organizational skills merged with her creativity. She worked in the elementary schools and had a passion for helping children grow and learn. Rachel married her soul mate, protector, and best friend, Ted Canfield on February 21, 1987. Her family expanded to include Tedís five children; raising all seven children was a focus for much of their marriage. She continued to be actively involved in church at St. Paulís United Methodist church. There, she and Ted taught Sunday school classes, played hand bells, and were actively involved in the Saturday Celebration service, where she provided music for 22 years. She also served as President of the United Methodist Women, prior to moving from the area.

She retired in 2011, to pursue her dream of creating and selling art, with a specific focus on artistic gourd creations. For the first few years, she experimented and perfected her art, while enjoying travel and camping with Ted. In 2015, Ted and Rachel moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas, which provided greater opportunity for fulfilling her dream, closer proximity to her youngest son, Ben with his wife Frances, and much better weather. Together they created their ideal home. Her dream was further fulfilled with an art studio in her back yard and acceptance of her art in a well-established gallery in downtown Hot Springs, the Artist Workshop Gallery. She quickly became integrated into Hot Springs participating in her local Diamondhead community activities, Lionís club, and First United Methodist Church, where she fell in love with a new group of friends in the Saints and Sinners class and again played hand bells.

She is survived by her mother, Nancy Elson; husband, Ted; sons, Nathaniel Iverson (Julie Barst) and Benjamin (Frances) Iverson; step children, Chris, Cheri, TJ, Chad (Kristina) and Todd (Shelly); 12 step-grandchildren; her brother, David Elson (Julie); and sister, Sylvia Anspach (Larry) and their children.

It is said that ďart is intelligence having funĒ and that a little piece of the artistís heart goes into each creation. Rachelís intelligence and creativity, combined with her big heart, big smile and love for fun endeared her to friends and family alike. For those who have a piece of Rachelís art, you have a piece of her heart and mind, which will continue to live on. Her prayer would be that each piece gives you great joy.

The family is grateful for all who have loved Rachel and Ted, helping with her care in a variety of ways during her illness. We would particularly like to thank Linda Mason, whose daily care and love were far beyond what we could have imagined, the Saints and Sinners Sunday school class for their prayers, thoughts and tremendous meals. Many extended family and friends, who also provided love and support while at home. We thank Dr. Deborah Bursey, her endocrinologist at UAMS, who is an outstanding clinician, who consistently went above and beyond with great care and compassion. Dierksen Hospice, particularly Roy Lambert, RN and Melissa Wimsett, RN, who were instrumental in meeting her goal of staying at home.

A memorial service will be held at Loving Chapel United Methodist Church in Leon, Iowa on Friday, May 26, 2017, at 1:30 p.m. with burial to follow at the Leon Cemetery. A visitation will be held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa at St. Paulís United Methodist Church on Sunday, May 28, 2017. A short prayer service will be held at 3:30 p.m. with a visitation 4-6 p.m.

Memorials may be directed to First United Methodist Church of Hot Springs, Arkansas or St. Paulís United Methodist Church of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, or Loving Chapel United Methodist Church in Leon, Iowa.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, June of 2017