Obituary published by Fouts Funeral Home, 501 Normal Street, Woodbine, Iowa, 51579
Della Wilma Lois (Seyl) Willett 1912 - 2010
[RFSS May 2016]
Della Wilma Lois (Seyl) Willett was born on June 30, 1912, in Belden, Nebraska. She was the fifth child of Andrew and Selma Okerbloom Seyl, who was an immigrant from Sweden. Della attended school in Belden, from kindergarten, which was then called Brownies, through high school, graduating in 1930.
Della received a two-year teaching certificate from Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska. She began her teaching career with 18 students in grades 1-8 in the Clairmont rural school, located between Belden and Laurel, Nebraska. She also taught grades 1-8 in Kerloo Country School near Coleridge, Nebraska; fourth grade in Sloan, Iowa; second grade in Woodbine, Iowa; and second grade in Spencer, Iowa.
While Della was teaching in Woodbine, she met her future husband, Dwight Willett. They were married in her family home in Belden, Nebraska, on June 21, 1947. She quit teaching to become a farmer's wife on the Willett farm between Woodbine and Logan. They had one son, Gary. As Gary grew older, Della 'got the desire' to return to teaching, so she returned to school to update her teaching certificate. She attended Dana College in Blair, Nebraska. She then taught kindergarten, first grade, and music in Magnolia, Iowa, for fourteen years until 1974 when she retired at 62 years of age. After her retirement from teaching, Della went around the countryside selling Avon products for a period of time to keep from being lonely.
Della was always a very active person. During her single years she spent her summers working in distant places. Because of gas rationing during the war years, she often traveled by train wherever she wanted to go. She worked at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, Illinois, in 1942, recording bonds cashed. She worked at Grand Lake Lodge in Colorado in 1946, making salads and enjoying the woods and the mountains.
When she married, she became active in the Woodbine community, especially in the Woodbine Presbyterian Church, where she taught Sunday school, organized and cooked for countless dinners and events, and played the piano and organ, until she was well into her nineties.
Della volunteered for many hours at the Rose Vista Care Center playing piano for sing-a-longs and church services, and she was the assistant activity director there for seven years, specializing in helping residents paint ceramics, and teaching classes. Della was also a 56 year member of the Weiss Unit #143 American Legion Auxiliary.
Della loved to cook and bake, which she usually did without measuring or following recipes, and she enjoyed family dinners and socializing. She found many opportunities to entertain. Della and Dwight went to Germany in 1973, while Gary was stationed there in the army, and during that trip they used Eurail passes to travel all over the European Continent by train. They also drove to Alaska, as well as to many other areas of the United States. Some of their travels included trips to explore places where family ancestors had lived. Della had a keen interest in both hers and Dwight's family histories.
Della kept track of many of her former students. In the spring of 2006, when she was almost 94 years old, she was honored to be invited by the Woodbine High School class of 1956, whom she had taught in second grade, to their 50th class reunion.
Della died on Saturday, July 10, 2010 at the Rose Vista Nursing Home in Woodbine, Iowa at the age of 98 years and 10 days.
Della was preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Dorthea, who died as an infant; Edna Lydon; Gladys Pflanz; and Ethel Creamer; and by her husband, Dwight, who died on January 18, 2008. She is survived by her son, Gary Willett, and his wife, Barbara, of Jefferson, Iowa; her grandson, Brent Willett, and his wife, Liberty, of Perry, Iowa; and by her great-grandchildren, Jeanette and Ivan Willett.
Final Resting Place
United States Social Security Death Index
Given Name: Della
Middle Name: S
Birth Date: 30 Jun 1912
Last Place of Residence: Woodbine, Harrison, Iowa
Previous Residence Postal Code: 51579
Event Date: 10 Jul 2010
[RFSS May 2016]
Headstone of Della Wilma Lois Willett (née Seyl) 1912 - 2010
Woodbine Cemetery, Harrison County, Iowa
|[ s4397 ]||Social Security Death Index - United States of America - Number not given|
|[ s4398 ]||Cemetery Marker - Headstone - Woodbine Cemetery, Harrison County, Iowa, United States of America - H2010-10-07-DWLW|
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