Nona Willette (Kelly) Hansmeier

Nona W. Hansmeier, 95, of Waukon, IA, died Sunday, October 18, 2020, at her daughter’s home in Waukon. Funeral services will be held Saturday, October 24th, at 11:00 AM at Zion United Church of Christ in Waukon with Rev. Cathy Jurgens and Rev. Corey Larson officiating. Friends may greet the family from 9:30 AM until the time of services on Saturday at the church. Burial will be at a later date at Oakland Cemetery, Waukon. In consideration of concerns regarding Covid-19, social distancing and wearing of masks are required. The service will be recorded and posted to Zion UCC’s facebook page later that day. Martin-Grau Funeral Home in Waukon is handling arrangements. Memorials may be directed to Veterans Memorial Hospital or Zion United Church of Christ, both in Waukon.

     Nona Willette (Kelly) Hansmeier was born on July 18, 1925, at the rural Rossville, IA home of her parents Clinton Lionel and Gusta Helena (Gjefle) Kelly. She was baptized and confirmed at the Rossville Presbyterian Church. Nona attended Jefferson #7 rural school and graduated from Waukon High School in 1942, where she took the Normal Training curriculum. Thirty-five years later, in 1977, she received her B.A. in Education from Upper Iowa University. On August 22, 1945, she married Roger W. Hansmeier at the Zion United Church of Christ parsonage in Waukon, IA. They divorced in 1980. She lived on farms near Rossville and Waukon until 1978, when she moved into town.

     Nona had a passion for teaching and a love of kids that translated to a long and successful career in education. She started as an elementary teacher in area rural schools and then spent 31 years teaching 4th grade in the Allamakee Community School District. Even though she retired from full-time teaching in 1990, she remained involved as a substitute teacher until 2006. Nona was an active and vital supporter of her profession and her community. She was a lifetime member of the National Education Association and the Iowa State Education Association and, in later years, the Allamakee County Retired Teachers. She was a long-time member of the Neighborhood Club and volunteered as a greeter at Veterans Memorial Hospital and as a member of the VMH Auxiliary. Nona was a faithful member of Zion United Church of Christ since her marriage. Over the years she served as Women’s Fellowship President, circle leader, coffee hour chair, and on numerous committees. She was also very involved with Sunday School and the church library, served as the coordinator of Vacation Bible School for many years, sang in the church choir, and loved baking for and assisting with the annual Cookie Walk. Nona also decorated and maintained the Sunday School bulletin boards, giving them a fresh and engaging look at least once a month.

     Some of her favorite pastimes were raising flowers, gardening, doing crafts, and embroidery, but Nona’s most cherished times were spent with people. She loved to cook and bake, especially with and for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was especially well-known for the divinity she made each Christmas. She bowled with the Beisker Team for 20 years, chaired and was actively involved in the planning of Class of ’42 reunions, which were regular events and kept the class well-connected, and truly enjoyed visiting and caring for friends, especially the elderly, who needed some extra help. Nona’s positive attitude toward life and love for people were contagious and she expressed them beautifully in how she lived. Some of Nona’s favorite sayings were: “Kids are special people.”, “There is good in everyone—look for it and forget the bad.”, and “Be slow to speak—put your brain in gear before opening your mouth because words can’t be taken back.”

     Survivors include her daughter Cathy (Rick) Larson and daughter-in-law Connie Hansmeier, both of Waukon; her grandchildren the Rev. Corey (Nicole) Larson of Eldora, IA, and Kelly (Matthew) Null of Sterling, IL; her great-grandchildren: Justin and Karson Null and Owen and Ruby Larson; numerous nieces and nephews; and the many Japanese students she hosted over the years, especially Urara Kishimoto and daughter Lucia of Tokyo.      She was preceded in death by her parents; her son Curtis; her brother Vernon Kelly; and her sister Geraldine and brother-in-law Harlan Kirkeby.

     Casketbearers are Janine DuCharme, Terry and Diane Oesterle, Donnie and DiAnne Haler, Jim and Linda Ryan, Jim and Bev Needham, Curt and Keri Larson, and Dan and JoEllen Anderson.

     Online condolences may be left at www.martinfunerals.com.

To visit the Martin-Grau Funeral Home click here.

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