116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
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NANCY ANN ELSON
Nancy Ann Elson, 99, formerly of Leon, Iowa, the daughter of Virgil Elebe and Georgia Amelia (Doolin) Netherton, was born Nov. 29, 1921, at Jameson, Mo. She died at Keystone Cedars Assisted Living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Saturday, July 10, 2021.
Nancy's family lived on her grandfather's farm when she was a child. She told stories of playing games with friends, selling bakery goods door to door, and once sharing an ice cream cone with her younger brother, Chuck, who managed to lick the cone clean before his turn was up! She, with her sister Hattie, and without telling her Mom, once rode their pony 12 miles to Grandmother Netherton's house in Gallatin, Mo. After her family moved to an 80-acre farm south of Jamison, she rode in a horse drawn school bus and was always cold because the senior girls, with cigarettes rolled up in their stockings, got the seats closest to the stove heater. Life was hard as it was the time of the Great Depression and dust storms, and once swarms of grasshoppers covered their new crop and ate it all. Her Dad stopped farming and became a traveling salesman. While in her late teen years, Nancy worked at an ice cream shop and then a drug store before and after school until 9 p.m. for $9 a week. She graduated from Leon, Iowa, high school in 1939. She then lived with her grandpa, Dr. LeeRoy Doolin, a family physician. She worked with him regularly and was quite knowledgeable about folk remedies for common ailments, a skill set greatly appreciated by her Leon family and friends.
In 1950, Nancy married Charles Lee Elson. They were blessed with three children, David, Rachel and Sylvia. Over the years, she hosted AFS students, Omar, May, and Pia, and Omar's son, Alam Khan. She also helped sponsor a Laotian immigrant family's resettlement. Nancy was a Cub Scout den mother for eight years, Girl Scout leader for five years and taught Sunday school for 45 years. She was active in the Unity Club and Chapter W PEO. She served one term on the Leon City Council, was Leon chairwoman of the Iowa Centennial Celebration and served in various ways with the Leon Chamber of Commerce. She was named Outstanding Volunteer by the Decatur County Federated Womens Clubs, Woman of the Year by Business and Professional Womens Club and Citizen of the Year by the Leon Chamber of Commerce. She helped raise money for many projects for her church, community and charities of choice. Nancy was probably best known for her never dry 40-cup coffee pot, occasional cherry pies and consistent hospitality. Neighbors and friends visited daily around her kitchen table or on the front porch. Many hearts were healed, problems solved and souls exposed to Jesus in those moments. Her love, kindness, wit, acceptance, faith and generosity were hallmarks of her life.
Nancy visited every U.S. state. She also visited Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thialand, Singapore, Tiawan, Japan, Israel (three times), Egypt (three times), Greece, the Isle of Rhodes (two times), Ephesus in Turkey, Barbados, Mexico and Canada.
Being a devoted mother, Nancy spent 18 years driving one or more of her children to Lamoni for weekly piano lessons. She was an avid flower gardener. As a bird watcher, she preferred her kids adopt stray dogs, not cats. She excelled as a housekeeper and cook and hosted many large holiday meals for extended family and friends. Nancy was especially skilled at providing, by word and example, the religious and moral framework, and discipline and structure children need to succeed and be happy. She was a great Mom!
Preceding her in death were her parents; husband, Lee Elson; daughter, Rachel Elson Canfield; twin grandchildren, Sarah and Samuel Canfield; step-granddaughter, Jennifer Anspach; sister, Hattie Wheatley; and brother, Chuck Netherton.
Those missing her most include her children, David and Julie Elson of Sioux Falls, S.D., and Sylvia and Larry Anspach of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; son-in-law, Ted Canfield of Hot Springs, Ark.; six grandsons, Andrew and Celine Elson of New Orleans, La., Michael and Elizabeth Claire Elson of Westwood Hills, Kan., Nathan Iverson of Adrian, Mich., Benjamin and Frances Iverson of Hot Springs, Ark., Thomas and Rae Canfield of High Point, N.C., and Daniel Canfield of Iowa City, Iowa; stepgrandchildren, Chad and Todd Canfield, Chris, T.J. and Sherri Canfield and Christopher and Jacob Anspach; great-grandchildren, Adelie Marie, Charles, Leo, Eleanor Elizabeth and Vivienne Rose; nieces and nephews; and other relatives and friends.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 24, at Loving Chapel United Methodist Church in Leon, Iowa, with Pastor Thomas Canfield officiating. Burial will be in the Leon Cemetery, Leon, Iowa. Arrangements were through the Slade-O'Donnell Funeral Home in Leon.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be given to the Loving Chapel United Methodist Church in Leon, Iowa.