December 09, 2021

Hazel Mildred Van Ekeren

Nov. 03, 2021

Hazel Mildred Van Ekeren, age 89 of Colfax, passed away on Wednesday, November  03, 2021 at home in her apartment at Newton Village in Newton, Iowa.  Public graveside services will be held on Monday, November 08, 2021 at 3:00 pm at Colfax Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to Colfax Public Library. Condolences may be left for the family at

The daughter of Harris and Ruth (Williams) Thomas, Hazel, the youngest of eight children, was born on December 17, 1931 in Mitchellville, Iowa. She graduated from Mitchellville High School in 1950.  On September 8, 1952, she was united in marriage to John Van Ekeren. Hazel worked as a bank clerk, Colfax City Hall clerk,  and an administrative assistant at Drake University.  She enjoyed volunteering at the  Neil Smith Wildlife Center, at the Colfax Public library, the Colfax-Mingo Area Food Pantry, and the Howard Street Christian church before her health prevented her from doing so.  Hazel was a lifelong fan of basketball, having played in high school.  She enjoyed watching college basketball and both the WNBA and NBA.  She also enjoyed knitting, making sure everyone in the family had new slippers at Christmas. Most of all Hazel enjoyed spending time with her family.

Those left to honor her memory include her daughters, Jodi Shelton of St. Charles, Vicki (Randy) Gunsaulus of Newton and Kristi (Robin) Shepard of Cottage Grove, WI; her grandchildren, Mike (Michaela) Gunsaulus, Matthew (Jessa Dickinson) Gunsaulus, Molly (Dan) Brandhorst, Dawn (Umong) Kasotia, great grandchildren, Madden, Miles, and Mae Gunsaulus, Brynn, Cole, and Parker Brandhorst, and Arjun Kasotia, sisters-in-law Virginia Thomas and Jeanne Crane. Preceding Hazel in death were her husband, parents, son-in-law Don Shelton, and her seven brothers and sisters, Harry Thomas, John Thomas, Chuck Thomas, Don Thomas, Norma Hodge,  Shirley Gooden, and Stella English.

Dana King

Dana King

Multitasking duties between the Newton News, PCM Explorer and the Jasper County Tribune.