Flora Heitshusen was a remarkable woman.
She was born in the Homestead, Iowa, home of her parents, Diedrich and Flora (Wolter) Maas, on June 2, 1925. She was baptized Flora Victoria Maas by her grandfather, the Rev. Fredrick Wolter, at St. John's Lutheran Church and attended St. John's Lutheran School through eighth grade.
Flora graduated Valedictorian of her class from Marengo High School in 1942. One of her fondest memories of High School was playing the lead role in the opera, Madam Butterfly. Flora loved music and was exceptionally talented both instrumentally and vocally. Her soprano voice and expertise on the piano and organ earned her vocal and instrumental scholarships to Valparaiso University. Education was incredibly important to Flora. She believed it created the foundation for successful individuals, families and communities. In 1973, she was elected to the Williamsburg School District's Board of Directors and was the first woman to serve as the district's president. She also served on the Grant Wood Area Education Agency Board of Directors.
Flora was also an entrepreneur. Later in life, she launched her own business, "Flora and Fauna," where she enjoyed talking to customers about her German heritage. Her gregarious personality and genuine interest in others resulted in a friendship with a couple visiting from Germany, who later invited her to their home near Klagenfurt, Germany, the birthplace of her ancestors. Flora was overjoyed to finally visit. But Flora's greatest joy was her family.
Flora married Harold Heitshusen on Feb. 16, 1947. Like most couples, they planned to start a family. But having children did not come easy for them. At a time when infertility was rarely discussed, Flora decided to seek help rather than stay silent. She received what was then considered ground-breaking treatment at the University of Iowa, which resulted in breakthrough results. Together, Flora and Harold raised six children.
Flora was a selfless parent. There is nothing she would not do for her family. Holidays and birthdays were special at the Heitshusen home. Flora made sure there was always a cake on the table when her children woke up the morning of their birthday, even if it meant staying up all night baking it. Flora's children have many fond memories, including working with their Mom in her impeccable garden and flower beds; helping her bake her award-winning rolls and kolaches; saying prayers each night as she tucked them into bed; holding on for dear life as she drove 70-miles-per-hour down gravel roads; her robust and infectious laugh the laugh that leaves you unable to talk and crying tears of joy; sitting on her lap, even as adults; handing us our high school diplomas; her words of wisdom, her loving touch and her goodbye kisses and hugs.
Flora's faith in the Lord Jesus Christ served as her foundation and never wavered. She passed peacefully into eternal life on Feb. 2, 2021.
She is celebrating in heaven with those who preceded her in death: her husband, Harold; their daughter, Clare; and their grandson, Joseph Heitshusen. Flora was also preceded in death by her parents and siblings, Edith Friedl and Carl Maas.
She is survived by her children, Stuart Heitshusen (Sue), Curtis Heitshusen, Willis Heitshusen (Cindy), Quentin Heitshusen (Jane) and Sonya Heitshusen (Luke); 11 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and a brother, Gerald Maas.
Flora's family will be forever grateful to the Vinton Lutheran Home staff for their loving, compassionate care of Flora in her final years and for the love and compassion showered upon her family during their time of need and grief.
Celebration Of Life Service will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 6, at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Williamsburg, Iowa. Burial will be in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery. Visitation will be Friday from 4 to
7 p.m. at the Powell Funeral Home in Williamsburg. Please practice social distancing and face mask are required. The service will be livestreamed on Powell Funeral Homes Facebook page and at www.powellfuneralhomes.com. Memorial contributions can be made to Vinton Lutheran Home, Immanuel Lutheran Church or Lutheran Interparish School.