Carol (Kay) Joens of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, passed away peacefully on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. For over 45 years, she challenged a brain injury that tried to weaken her body. Yet it was this weakened physical body that gave her a strength of will that inspired everyone she'd meet. She could garden all day, wash baskets of laundry, and pull large pans of food out of the oven with only one strong hand. She believed that she could and she did. She had a faith in the Lord and in all people and did her best to serve others.
Kay was born Aug. 23, 1937, in Deep River, Iowa the youngest of 10 children. Kay graduated from Ottumwa Heights Academy (an all-girls Catholic school) in 1955. She often brought her friends home to stay on the family farm and showed them all about farm life. She was a great athlete, playing basketball and softball, and took voice lessons for years, a skill that would remain with her throughout her entire life. She sang at church and even performed on the radio, and sang Christmas carols and Frank Sinatra songs around the house. She was a farm girl who loved being outdoors, but she also loved attending dances. It was at one of these dances that she met the love of her life, George.
They married in 1959 and had six children. They moved out to a little acreage in Cedar Rapids and created a beautiful home together with gardens and a Christmas tree farm. Kay always made time to attend the events of her six kids and 14 grandchildren. When she could no longer clap, Kay started bringing a cowbell to athletic competitions, ringing it with great enthusiasm. Kay was an amazing cook and her treats homemade rolls, Danish bread, krautburgers, kolaches, and molasses cookies were legendary among family and friends and helped to carry on her family's proud Czech heritage. Her love of family encouraged the tradition of Sunday as family day, where all of her children and grandchildren would come out to swim, garden, talk and laugh together, with lots of great food and an always-full cookie jar.
Kay's spirit is carried on by five children, Craig (Helen), Scott (Robin), Angela, Sara Griffin (Troy Burckhartt) and Doug (Jeanne). Her beloved 14 grandchildren continue to shine her light as well. They are Amy, Sam, Kaitlyn, Rachel, Meghan, Jackson, Cael, Brody, Johnny, Emma, Karaleigh, Ben, Tate and Paisley; and one great-granddaughter, Brinlee Teel. Three surviving siblings (Audrey Weldon, Mick and Kevin Sauter), in-laws, nieces, nephews, friends and family that she adored will forever share in her love, generosity, and delicious treats.
She was preceded in death and is now reunited with her husband of 58 years, George; and their youngest son, Jason. Her parents, Michael and Agatha Sauter; brothers, Clair, Jim, and Paul; and sisters, Mary Kathleen, Barbara DeDecker and Joan Hadley, also went before her and are together celebrating her homecoming.
The family will host a celebration of life on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, from 2 to 5 p.m. at Ideal Social Hall, 213 16th Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. at on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, at St. Wenceslaus Parish, 1224 Fifth St. SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Brosh Chapel and The Avacentre in Cedar Rapids is serving the family.
Mom loved serving others, and to honor her, we ask our friends and family to follow her lead and do something kind for someone else. Bake cookies for your neighbors, visit the elderly, give a stranger a compliment or offer a hug to someone who needs one. Please drop us a note to let us know what our mother inspired you to do. As her favorite TV host would say, "Be kind to one another."
Online condolences may be left for the family at www.broshchapel.com.