Mava Margaret Heasley Nelson, 93, died on Feb. 23, 2020, in Cheyenne, Wyo., at the Davis Hospice Center following a long illness.
She was born in Yale, Iowa, on Aug. 30, 1926, the youngest of four children to John Obediah Heasley and Glennora Hoyt Heasley. Because of the depression, her family moved to numerous small towns in Iowa where her father managed lumber yards and sold feed to farmers. When Mava was in the seventh grade, she moved to Valparaiso, Ind., to live with relatives. The family then moved back to West Liberty, Iowa, where Mava completed her schooling, graduating from high school at the age of 16, third in her class. She graduated from West Liberty High School in 1943. Because of the war effort, they did not have a yearbook or a class trip. Mava stayed very close to her high school classmates throughout her life. She often traveled to attend their reunions.
Mava's father died when she was 17 years old. The family then moved to Cedar Rapids, where Mava worked in a variety of secretarial positions. It was in Cedar Rapids where Mava met her future husband, Shirley D. Nelson, at a dance. They were married in a Methodist church in Iowa City in 1947. They initially lived with family when their only daughter, Cherolynn, was born. Mava then served in several executive secretary positions with re-insurance companies. When she first started with Inter-Ocean Re-Insurance Co., she was the first married woman they had ever hired. Mava retired in 1988 when her husband suffered a stroke. She cared for her husband until his death in 2001.
While in Cedar Rapids, Mava was a member of a well renowned synchronized swimming group called the Aquarelles. Known for their unique floating patterns, the group performed all over the United States at swim festivals and shows, often earning the highest number one rating. Because of this, Mava was inducted into the Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Mava and Shirley lived in Atkins, Iowa. but also wintered in Fort Myers, Fla. In 2004, Mava moved to Cheyenne to be close to her daughter and her family. In Cheyenne, Mava was active in the First Presbyterian Church, Cheyenne Newcomers Club and her PEO chapter AJ. She was a passionate Mahjong player! She was well known for teaching many ladies in Cheyenne how to play Mahjong. Mava was a self-taught golfer. She actively played up until 2013 when a golf cart accident prevented her from continuing to play.
While wintering in Florida, Mava met Frank Jenkins, who resided in the same retirement park. They developed a loving relationship nurtured by common interests in golf, traveling and spending time in Florida together.
Mava is survived by her daughter, Cherolynn "Cherol" Ohde (David); three grandsons, Scott Ohde (Michale) of Drake, Colo., Brian Ohde and Chad Ohde of Berthoud; four great-grandchildren, Logan Ohde (Travis), Whit Ohde, Alexis Ohde and Tristan Ohde; and one great-great grandson, Indigo Crosswhite.
She was preceded in death by her parents; three siblings, Mildred Heasley, John Heasley and Bill Heasley; and her husband, Shirley.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 29, at First Presbyterian Church in Cheyenne.
Memorials can be sent to the First Presbyterian Church. Condolences may be offered to the family on-line at www.schradercares.com.