LeOra M. Van Zee, 93, of Hudson, Wis., formerly of Prairie City, Iowa, passed away on Jan. 1, 2013, at the Christian Community Home in Hudson. LeOra was born on April 3, 1919, the daughter of Andrew Douwe and Maude Mae (Roberts) Jensma, on a farm near Prairie City, Iowa.
She attended Bear Grove Country School and graduated from Newton Senior High School in 1936. She taught country school for many years, and while teaching elementary school in Prairie City, Iowa, completed her degree in elementary education at Drake University. LeOra retired from teaching after 36 years in the classroom.
On Nov. 7, 1940, LeOra was united in marriage to Raymond Van Zee at her parents’ home near Prairie City, Iowa. They farmed northeast of Prairie City until Raymond’s death in 1990. They enjoyed traveling and vacationed many winters in Texas and Arkansas. They loved camping and spontaneous parties with friends and neighbors. Grandchildren Jed, Jamie, and Jonathan have wonderful memories of time spent with Grandpa Raymond and Grandma LeOra camping and experiencing farm life during summer visits. LeOra loved gardening, cooking, and quilt making, an interest shared with her mother. She made many beautiful quilts, including one for each grandchild given to them upon graduation from high school.
After Raymond’s death, LeOra left the farm and lived at Park Centre in Newton, Iowa. In 2010, she moved to Christian Community Home in Hudson, Wisconsin to be near her family. She is survived by a son, Ronald (Joyce) Van Zee of Bayport, MN; two grandsons, Jed (Lisa) Van Zee and Jonathan (Marynel) Van Zee; granddaughter Jamie; two great-grandchildren Elaine Jude and Harrison Ray Van Zee, all of Minneapolis; nieces, nephews, other relatives, and many friends.
LeOra was preceded in death by her husband, Raymond; her parents, Andrew and Maude Jensma; brothers, Edward, Albert, and Howard; and sister, Clara. LeOra will be remembered for her love of children, her many years of dedication to teaching, her interest in nature, love of friends and family, quick wit, and beautiful smile.
Funeral service for LeOra will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, at the Prairie City United Methodist Church, 706 West McMurray Street, Prairie City, Iowa, with a visitation one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be at Waveland Cemetery in Prairie City. Memorials are preferred to the Prairie City Historical Society. Services are in the care of the Coburn Funeral Home (www.coburnfuneralhomes.com).