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Carol Jean Gadke


Carol Joan Gadke, 83, of Clarence, Iowa, passed away on Thursday, April 23, 2020, at the Clarence Nursing Home after an extended illness. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings, a private family graveside service will be held at the St. John's Cemetery in Clarence with the Rev. Matt Schneider-Adams officiating. A Celebration of Life for Carol will be held at a later date.
Carol was born the second daughter of Edwin Ernest Ferdinand Gadke and Norma Dorothea Alvine (Gottschalk) Gadke on Jan. 5, 1937, at home on a farm northwest of Clarence, Iowa. She was welcomed home by a sister, Yvonne and later that year another sister, Emma Lou. Carol attended Clarence Consolidated school through eighth grade. She was confirmed and became a member of St. John's Evangelical and Reformed Church in Clarence in 1951.
Carol lived all her life in Cedar County, growing up on several farmsteads that raised cows, hogs, chickens, sheep, corn, soybeans, hay and oats. She always did her part on the farm, helping her dad with chores and her mom with housework, never afraid of hard work. In the spring you could find her watching over baby chickens under a heat lamp, feeding a litter of new pigs or kittens in the barn. Carol loved all animals, but especially her kittens. You could also find her in the garden, and she helped her mom fill enough canning jars with produce to last the whole winter.
Carol worked hard but found time to enjoy things like going fishing in the summer or playing a mean game of croquet on the front lawn. She loved to sit and listen to music on a summer's night on Main Street in Stanwood, attending a local summer fair, and stopping in Olin for a big tenderloin. She enjoyed putting together all kinds of puzzles, watching sports on TV and NASCAR races, and playing games and cards with family and friends.
When her parents decided to sell the farm and build a new house in Clarence in 1970, life changed for her. She didn't have a barn full of animals to tend to but enjoyed retirement by traveling with her parents, spending winters in Texas with new adventures. As her dad's health declined, Carol took on more of the yard work. He died in 1983 and by 1990 her mom sold the Clarence house and they moved to Tipton. Carol became a
full-time caregiver for her mom by preparing meals, doing laundry and yard work. Her mom died in 1999, and Carol moved into an apartment on her own for the first time in her life.
Carol did well on her own until a broken ankle from a fall walking back from the grocery store in February 2013. Not being able to go back to her apartment to live by herself, she moved to a Clarence Senior Living Apartment, which was another big change for her. But more health issues followed, which forced her to move to the Clarence Nursing Home by July 2016. Carol knew many of the residents and nurses already at the nursing home, so she settled in. Carol liked being known as ornery and enjoyed picking on the staff from the corner recliner in the lobby chair line where she people-watched all day. She liked having her fingernails painted by the beauty operators, but didn't like physical therapy. Her collection of stuffed toy cats became a source of comfort for her, endlessly running the battery down on her gold cat running it up and down the nursing home halls. Even Santa brought her a new stuffed kitty for Christmas.
Carol is survived by two sisters, Yvonne Gregory of Tipton and Emma Lou Armstrong of Mechanicsville; three nieces; five nephews; and lots of great-nieces and nephews.
Carol was a one-of-a-kind daughter, sister, aunt and friend who will be missed by all who knew her.
Memorials may be directed to the Friends of the Animals in Tipton, the Clarence Ambulance or address: P.O. Box 305, Tipton, IA 52772.
Chapman Funeral Home of Clarence is caring for the family. Memories and condolences may be left at www.chapmanfh.com.
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