May 29, 2018

Lorene Marion Kruse passed away May 24, 2018, at age 91.

Funeral was Tuesday, May 29, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Jefferson. Interment was at Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery in Lidderdale.

Slininger-Schroeder Funeral Home in Jefferson was in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be left at www.sliningerschroeder.com.

Lorene was born on Sept. 9, 1926, on the Kruse farm near Lidderdale, Iowa, in Grant Township. She grew up during the Great Depression on the family farm. She attended a one-room schoolhouse and then Immanuel Lutheran School with her siblings in Lidderdale. She graduated from Carroll High School. She then attended and graduated from St. Anthony School of Nursing in Carroll in 1948, as did her sister, Doris, six years later.

She wed Robert E. Stevenson on Sept. 16, 1948. To this union eight children were born. Bob attended Iowa State Teachers College (University of Northern Iowa) on the GI Bill after serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After graduation his first teaching job took the young family to Dunbar, Iowa. Robert taught several subjects, including science, biology, driver’s ed and coached girls’ high school basketball. Jean and Jill were the young team mascots. The family also resided in Clemens, Wall Lake, New Hampton and Storm Lake. Lorene worked as a RN in each town. The family moved to Storm Lake when Bob accepted a position with the Department of Transportation as a safety consultant, serving in northwest Iowa. This enabled Lorene to stay home with the children.

A year and a half later Bob tragically passed away. Six children were still at home, and Lorene returned to nursing, as a Buena Vista public health nurse.

Lorene and Jim Conner, a widower, eventually became reacquainted, having grown up on farms near each other, as did Robert. They married on July 27, 1974, at St. John Lutheran Church in Storm Lake. Lorene and her three young children, Jeri, Jaye and Judy, joined Jim on the farm north of Jefferson. Combined with Jim’s children, they had 10 children between them. To this union there were many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who loved spending time on the farm. Many family meals are fondly remembered. Lorene was an excellent cook and took in stride the large gatherings. She also sewed for her young children and grandchildren.

Lorene was active in Greene County Democrats, Trees Forever, Garden Club, Community Betterment and AFS. She served on the St. Anthony School of Nursing color guard, attending fellow graduates’ funerals, including sister Doris. The farm family hosted an exchange student from Sweden, Anna Tegler. Lorene returned to nursing part time at New Hope Village in Carroll after the children had left home. She also worked as a RN in Arizona when they stopped farming and Jim managed a combine crew.

Lorene loved to travel and visited many of the U.S. states. She had visited her mother, Marie’s, home state of Missouri since she was a young girl. Her extended family spoke German, and young Lorene could understand the language by the time they left back for home in Carroll County. She traveled to Europe twice, once in the ’70s as a leader with her daughter JoAn and the Storm Lake Girl Scout troop and later with Jim, in the ’80s, to visit daughter Judy, a high school exchange student in Linkoping, Sweden. Jim was on the West Central Co-op board, and they took several co-op-related trips. They also visited Jaye in Okinawa, Hawaii, while he was serving on a submarine in the U.S. Navy. Lorene loved composing poetry and was published many years up until last year in the annual Lyrical Iowa poetry book. She encouraged her children, grandchildren and others to write and submit poetry.

Lorene struggled at the end of her life with neuropathy. She passed away on Thursday, May 24, 2018, at age 91.

She was cared for in her home by her devoted son, Jaye, as she had wanted. She continued to be mentally sharp, reading the Des Moines Register and completing the New York Times crossword daily (in ink) until writing became difficult and her eyesight failed. She stayed current on political and world news.

Lorene is survived by her daughters and sons, Jean (Tom) Thompson of Postville; Jill (Richard) Lockey of Janesville; Joel Simpson of Charleston, Illinois ; JoAn Stevenson of Decorah; Jeri Griffiths of Des Moines; Jaye Conner of Jefferson; Judy (Mark) Obermeier of Edwardsville, Illinois; Steve Conner of Concordia, Kansas; Nancy O’Rourke of Carroll; Jeff (Robin) Conner of Panora; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews; two sister-in-laws, Norma (Harold) and Leta (Raymond) Kruse of Carroll; and brother-in-law Lou Grade of Carroll.

She was preceded in death by her infant daughter, Kerry Lou; her first husband, Robert Simpson; her second husband, James Conner; her parents, Charles and Marie (Hahne) Kruse; her four older brothers, Lawrence, Raymond, Harold and Elmer Kruse; her younger sister, Doris Grade; two sons-in-law, Dave Griffiths of Des Moines and Robert Stevenson of Decorah; a niece, nephews and a sister-in-law.

Lorene was baptized, confirmed and married at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Lidderdale and was interred in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery.