After 94 exceptionally eventful trips around the sun, Lois Nadine Kopecky died peacefully at Hallmar on Friday, March 2. Lois was the eldest of five children and was born in Hibbing, Minn., on Oct. 30, 1923, to James and Ethel Van Vliet. The family later moved to Otley, Iowa, where proximity to all things Pella Dutch created stories to last a lifetime.
The words "determined," "feisty" and "remarkable" naturally accompanied conversations about Lois. Her greatest passion in life was her German shepherds, and Lois believed she would in death reunite with each of the 24 she had owned over the decades. Lois was a fierce advocate for the humane treatment of animals. In 1986, Lois helped create the first-ever euthanasia technician school held at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University to help ensure humane euthanasia in Iowa animal shelters.
Lois lived with a love and respect for all things natural and taught the same to her five children through simple living at home and during adventures backpacking, hiking, kayaking and exploring. She lived independently on her "small piece of land" until the end of her life. There, she planted for the butterflies, fed the birds, relished the spring days when the bloodroot would pop up in the woods, and grew to hate winter. Her many trips to Sanibel Island, Fla., provided her with deep joy.
Lois regularly attended First Congregational Church in Cedar Rapids and was a member and volunteer at the Indian Creek Nature Center.
She is survived by her brother, James Van Vliet; her son, Barry Kopecky (Anne Pace); daughters, Lisa Carr (Robert), Mary Kopecky (Thom Lusardi) and Elizabeth Kopecky (Ed Moxley); grandchildren, Hannah, Marijke and Emma Kopecky; Andrew, Peter, Adam and Katie Bergen; Kevin Anderson; Andrew, Alex and Scott Beckwith; and three great-grandchildren.
Lois was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Edward Frank Kopecky; her parents, James and Ethel Van Vliet; her daughter, Sheryl Bergen; her brother, Ralph (Sonny) Van Vliet; two sisters, Mary Peterson and Lila Van Vark; and great-granddaughter, Clara Bergen.
A memorial service for Lois will be held at the Cedar Memorial Park Chapel of Memories at 1 p.m. Friday, April 13, to coincide with the arrival of daffodils, wild bluebells and Dutchman's breeches in the woods on her beloved acreage. A private reception will follow.
Memorials may be directed to the Indian Creek Nature Center and the Companion Animal Fund at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Please leave a message or tribute to the Kopecky family on our web page, www.cedarmemorial.com under Obituaries.