WillaDean Kaeser

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WillaDean Kaeser


WillaDean Ann (Lamphier) Kaeser, 81, of Decorah, lA, formerly of Waukon, lA, died on Thursday, January 1, 2015, at the Aase Haugen Nursing Home, in Decorah, lA, following an extended illness.

WillaDean was born May 5, 1933, in Elkader, Iowa to Willis and Nellie (Landis) Lamphier. WillaDean married Neil Nelson on August 24, 1949, at the Little Brown Church in Nashua.  WillaDean worked as a sales clerk, line worker at the plating and wiring plants and also at Swiss Valley Cheese in St Olaf.   In addition she cleaned homes and business in Elkader Iowa. The job she loved the most was working at a greenhouse.

In October 1979 WillaDean married John Kaeser and moved to Waukon.  WillaDean took classes and was certified to teach ceramic classes. WillaDean’s ability to create beauty out of flowers, gardens, and her ceramics allowed for her to create many beautiful pieces.  WillaDean opened a New and Used store in Waukon before retiring.  As a member of St John’s Lutheran in Waukon, WillaDean enjoyed playing the hand bells and also singing in the Farm Bureau Choir.  WillaDean always loved doing for others and always made pies or provided transportation and had a helping hand to anyone that was in need.   

John died in November of 1997, but WillaDean remained living in Waukon until she moved to Decorah in 2007. WillaDean resided in Oneota Assisted Living until she needed the extra care provided by Aase Haugen.

WillaDean’s greatest joy in her life was her children and their families and spending time with all of them. She enjoyed angels and creating ceramic angels and she says now she will be able to sing and dance with her angels in heaven.

WillaDean;s survivors include her two children: Nina (Ron) Taylor of Decorah, IA and LeRoy (Dee) Nelson of Elkader; six children, Elizabeth Peterson of Decorah; Brad Peterson and Patrick (Dana) Peterson of Marion, IA; Leah Beaman of Earlville; Nolan Nelson of Postville; and Levin (Tina) Nelson of St. Olaf; three step-grandchildren, Dave (Karen) Taylor of Tiburon, CA, Steven (Deb) Taylor of Norwalk, IA; and Brian (Brenda) Taylor of Decorah; 12 great-grandchildren; seven step-great-grandchildren; a sister, Norma Nelson of Elkader; a brother-in-law, Ken Lemka, Elkader; many nieces and nephews, and a special niece nicknamed “Funny Face.” 

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; her daughter, Nola; her sister, Kay Lemka; a half-brother, Leonard Pophagen; and a nephew, Keith Lemka.

Funeral services were held Friday, January 9, at 2 p.m. at Aasa Haugen Senior Services, Decorah. The Rev. Simon Hanson officiated. Lorraine Meyer was organist. Honorary casket bearers were WillaDean’s six grandchildren. Interment was at Hillcrest Cemetery, Volga.

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