Archive for February, 2012

Sister Mary Lou Durbala Dies

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Sister Mary Lou Durbala died February 18, 2012 at the age of 82.

She was buried in Glendale Cemetery, Des Moines, Iowa.

She was born to Elmer and Alice (Martin) Durbala on March 10, 1929 in Lovilia, Ia. She was fourth in a family of 12 children. Their family home in Lovilia burned down and they lost everything. The family then moved to Albia where Sister graduated from high school in the class of 1947. She entered the religious order, Congregation of the Humility of Mary, and professed her vows in 1950. After obtaining her college degree she taught school. Later retiring in 1980 and spent the rest of her life in the Des Moines area.

Locally she has two first cousins. Gerald Sofranko ,whose mother was a Durbala, and Jean Hollinrake (Joe’s wife) whose maiden name was Durbala.

May Sister Mary Lou rest in eternal peace.

New Baby:Blake Richard Keegal

Born February 24, 2012 to Joe and Lindsey Keegal was a baby boy, Blake Richard Keegal.

Grandparents are Jake and Karen Keegal and the late Kendra (Pettyjohn) Pearson.

Greatgrandparents are Ben and Charlotte Pettyjohn of Lovilia.

Congratulations and enjoy your new bundle of joy!

Fifty Years in Banking

February marks the 50th year in banking for Bob O’Donnell.   There will be an open house at the bank he now works in on March 7th hosted by the bank owners the Dentels.

If you would like to surprise him and congratulate him with a card for his many years of service, here is his current address:

Robert O’Donnell, 4903 430th Avenue, Curlew, IA 50527-8531.

Bob and his wife, Sharon,  moved to Lovilia and farmed east of town. He enjoyed his horses and raising sheep.  He still does.  He first was working at People’s Bank in Albia and later at Bussey Bank in Bussey. Then he accepted the position he now has.

Enjoy your open house and the rest of your work in banking, Bob!

New Baby : Noah Wade Force

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Jake and Nikki Force of Norwalk are the proud parents of a son, Noah Wade. He was born Thursday, February 9, 2012 at Methodist West Hospital in West Des Moines. He weighed 8 pounds 8 ounces and was 20 inches long.

Grandparents are Mitch and Angie McCombs of Lovilia, Dan Force of Hamilton, and Gail Force of Pella.

Great Grandparents are Bonnie and the late George Gilbert of Lovilia, the late Phillip and Patricia McCombs of Hamilton and Jack and Phyllis Force of Hamilton.

Ruth A. Beary Dies Feb 5, 2012

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Ruth Beary died at Ottumwa hospital Feb. 5, 2012. She was born Oct. 19,1922 in Albia to Glenn and Arminta Maddison Stewart. She married Daniel Raphael “Ray” Beary on Sept. 6, 1947. He preceded her in death in 1987.

A resident of Ottumwa since 1970, she had taught in Monroe Co. schools for 6 years, had been employed at Spurgeon’s in Ottumwa, and had worked in the State Homemaker Program and at the Crisis Center.

She was a member of St. Patrick Catholic Church, Altar and Rosary Society, and Catholic Daughters of the Americas.

Surviving are her five children: Dan Beary Jr. and his wife Ann of Ottumwa. They have three children: Joey, Scott, and Samantha; David Beary and his wife Susan of Lovilia. They have three children: Morgan, Wesley, and Teresa; Donna Beary of Des Moines; and the twins Mary “Patty” Beary and Margaret “Peggy” Beary of Ottumwa. Ruth also has one sister, Marcella “Sally” Simpson of Albia.

She was preceded in death by two brothers, Edward and Glenn.

Funeral Mass was at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Ottumwa and burial was at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Albia next to her husband.

Family History which is also community history was talked over at the funeral visitation for Ruth Beary.

Daniel Beary was married to Anna McDonald. They had seven children: Helen (married a Plum), M. Leo, Kathryn (Kate-married a Glenn), Mary (married a Hindman), Edward (Ed), Anna Ruth (married a Crall), and Daniel “Ray” Beary.

Anna McDonald had two brothers, Ed and James, and three sisters. Two were twins and the third was the mother of Marie Kasper.

Anna’s brother Ed was an engineer who lived in Ottumwa and he was the lead engineer on the project to build Highway 60 (now Hwy 5) between Lovilia and Albia. M. Leo and Ed Beary were hired to bring hay to the site for the horses. Harold Waters was hired to bring water to the workers and horses.

Anna’s brother James was a veterinarian and was sent by the government to California to work on a cure for hoof and mouth disease.

Grandma’s twin sisters were teachers and the two of them along with one of their husbands were in a bad car accident close to Centerville, Iowa one night. The twins were killed in the accident and the husband was badly injured but recovered.

Does Our Past Influence our opinion in the Future: by Jerry Ethell

I was so fortunate to have grown up near the coal mining community of Lovilia, Iowa.  I was born right after the depression and right before World War II.  My family was a regular farm family “Walton” clan; father, mother, me a middle child of 3, paternal grandmother and grandfather, maternal grandmother and a maternal uncle.  I therefore hard plenty of opinions to chew up and spit out; such as all Jews are crooked, all blacks live off welfare, all Catholics do is have kids, and all coal miner’s sons will grow up to be coal miners, so stay away from them.  From a dry Methodist family, I knew I would ignore them all and form my own opinions.

I first began to think for myself when I went to school at a one room country school, where I and one other boy were the only 2 protestant children in school.  The Catholic children were just like me.  They liked the same food, the same Roy Rogers movies, and the same games of softball and etc.  None of the families had more than 4 or 5 children.

I then entered high school where I had been going to Lovilia and seeing colored people everywhere.  I talked to them and they had talked to me since I was 3 years old.  We had a black cheerleader, and star basketball players, both boys and girls.  I had written to a white guy in the army during his deployment to the Korean War.  He had worked for my father since age 10, and had graduated in the spring before I started high school in the fall.  It was natural when I asked our black star basketball player for his senior picture that he would ask me if I would write to him.  He was getting drafted, and would probably be going to Korea.  I said yes I would.  In July of 1957 I was walking with my girlfriend Mary Ann on our lunch hour under the Younkers awning in Des Moines, going to the local Woolworth lunch counter for our usual cup of soup and glass of ice tea.  I heard someone calling my name.  I turned around and there was our star basketball player.  He grabbed me up and swung me around telling me it was so good to see me.  He told me he was so glad I had written to him while he was in Korea my letters were the only ones he had received from home.  Mary Ann continued on down the sidewalk and acted as if she were window shopping.  She was thinking I am going to pretend I don’t know her, and I am not with her.  When I caught up with her she asked my why I did what I did?  Did I want everyone around me thinking I was a dumb blond who dated colored guys?

It is now 1956 with the civil rights problems in the south.  Larry and I were married on Thanksgiving, and could not take a honeymoon since he had started a new job.  He promised to take me on a honeymoon in the summer of 1957.  He kept his promise and in September 1957 he bought a 1955 blue and white Ford convertible and asked me where I wanted to go.  New Orleans  I said.  So we started off.

We were breezing along with the top down.  We were outside Shreveport, hot, sweaty, and thirsty.  We came into Shreveport with a municipal courthouse with a street running around all 4 sides.  We pulled into a parking place and jumped out.  We went in the municipal building and I saw a new refrigerated water fountain.  I ran over and pushed the button down and drank ravenously.  I felt a peck on my shoulder, and I looked up to see a Shreveport policeman standing there.  He said, “You’alls drinking from a colored fountain” as he pointed to the sign.  I looked up and sure enough on the wall was a sing in small black block letters that read “COLORED’.  I looked at the policeman and said as I pushed down the button, “Well I’m thirsty, and it sure doesn’t look colored to me” as the pure clear water poured out.

I had run smack dab into racist crap.  He said,”You’alls from up north, and you’alls are always coming down here riling up our niggers”.  He said, “You better watch out young lady, or you will find yourself in jail”.  I took one last drink of water, and told him, “I’m not staying in your town long; all I wanted was a drink of water.  I will invite you if you’all ever gets up north, come and visit us in Iowa, get that IOWA, but I will guarantee you won’t like it”.  He said, “Why is that?”  I told him, “Up north we all drink out of the same water fountains and we don’t have any niggers, only people who are colored different colors.”  I scampered out of the building, but as I looked back, the cop was standing there with his mouth wide open.

We continued on our way spending a splendid honey moon in New Orleans.  At 20 years old, we could go in bars, but could not order drinks.  The most fun we had was visiting a bar where we discovered the bar was a transvestite bar.  All the men were dressed as women and the women were dressed as men.   They had a colored jazz band that could really play the jazz music of New Orleans.  The food in the south was fabulous.  Every restaurant we went into had a colored cook.  Breakfast was out of this world.  My fondest memories of the south were the food.

Coming home in Mississippi we stopped at an outdoor Dairy Queen and walked up towards the window.  The lady running the Dairy Queen was waiting on a man and his little girl.  Standing behind him was a man of color, waiting.  As we walked up he stepped aside.  We said no you go ahead you were here first.  He got his malt and sat down at a cement table with an umbrella.  While we waited we noticed his semi truck with a load of steel re bar.  His truck had a Mississippi Steel Company address on the side.

We obtained our malts and sat down at the table with the colored man.  The lady in the Dairy Queen just glared at us like she did when we told him to go ahead and order before us.

The man said,”You guys are from up north aren’t you?”  When Larry started talking steel companies with the man, he found out Larry worked for a steel company too.  Larry was an electrician.  The man asked Larry how much his steel company paid their drivers.  Larry told him $3.18 an hour.  The man could not believe that any men of color got $3.18 an hour anywhere.  He said he only made $.65 an hour.

The man asked Larry how much he got paid an hour as an electrician.  Larry told him the same as the truck drivers.  The man said he thought about moving up north if he could make that kind of money. He would then make enough to support his family.

To the chagrin of my parents while in high school I dated a coal miner’s son for three years before he went in the Marines.  He was of the Catholic faith and had the same hopes and dreams as I did.  When I married, I married a coal miner’s son from neighboring Marion County who was an electrician all of his working life.

I had dis-proven all of my “Walton” families theories except the one about Jews  since I had no Jewish friends, or any contact with Jewish people.  At age 22, I asked my father and mother how they know all Jewish people were crooked.  They said it was because Jews did not believe in Jesus Christ.  I thought what does that have to do with anything:  I think they finally gave up on me and decided I was just strange.

Then at age 26, I announced I was going to be a charter member of the new Holy Cross Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) that was being built in Carlisle.  My mother told me, “You can’t do that, why that is just out the backdoor from the Catholic church and the Pope”.

For years I think their thoughts were, “If we pretend we don’t know her maybe people won’t blame us for how she turned out”.  The old saying is, “the apples don’t fall far from the tree”.  However, I think that a squirrel came under the apple tree and hauled me miles down the road and hid me in a hole he dug and patted the leaves over me.

Why I say that today I am glad I grew up near Lovilia, is because I was able to form my own opinions for use in later life.  I hear things like Iowa is a racist state, and the Tea Party is full of racist bigots.  I dislike comments people make that disrespect the President of the United States because he is black.  When I look at the President of the United States I do not see him as black or white, I see him as just the President of the United States.

If Iowa is a racist state, how did Obama carry the state in the last election:  Aren’t the Tea Party people just frustrated with the conditions in the economy and need someone to blame it on?  There will always be people who are racists and bigots, but when 9-11 happened, America came together like never before.  We are all one people, Americans, and we are in this boat together.  Let us reach a consensus regardless of party and not sink this boat.

Thank you Lovilia, Iowa for giving me the events that formed my opinions I have used all my life.

Time Marches On, Only the Memories Remain by Jerry Martin Ethell

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

I moved to a dairy farm northwest of Lovilia with my parents and sister when I was six months old. My father’s farm backed up to the Blackstone Coal mine on the north. I grew up going to a one room school for my education. I entered high school in the fall of 1950 and graduated with the Lovilia class of 1954.

My earlier memories of Lovilia were when I was about three years old. I would go with my father to the Cummings barbershop and while he was getting a haircut and shave, the barber would ask me if I could sing a song for him. I would sing “You Are My Sunshine” and when I was finished singing; he would give me a shiny new buffalo nickel. He asked me what I was going to do with my nickel. I told him I was going to see Mr. Dave and get me a strawberry ice cream cone.

While sitting and waiting for my father I would look out the window to the activity on Main Street. An old white haired gentleman asked me, “Little lady, what do you think of the big town of Lovilia?” I told him I thought Lovilia was a small town. I liked to go to big towns like Ottumwa, especially at night. They had big street lights that looked like five big vanilla ice cream cones. He said,”My, little lady, you sure like your ice cream. Lovilia was a big town once, why when I was your age before the turn of the century I bet 1200 people lived in Lovilia. Back then the Buxton, Miami, and Lovilia coal mines were all running full bore.  Why at one time there were 9 churches and 13 saloons in this town”. I have never been able to substantiate his word on this.

When my father was finished, we would go to Mr. Dave’s Drug Store and get the supplies we needed for the various things we needed on the farm. We would need gauze, tape, and various antiseptics (because there were no band-aids at that time in history). I would stand on tiptoe and slip my nickel up on the soda fountain counter. Mr. Dave would say, “What flavor are you having today?”, as he reached behind him and pulled a cone from the cone holder, nestled between the two mirrors behind the soda fountain. I would proudly say, “Strawberry”. Other times when I would go in the drugstore Mr. Dave would say,”Strawberry? I would say,” Yes”. Mr. Dave would say, “Do you have a nickel?”. I would say, “No”. He would tell me,”Crawl up on the stool at the end of the counter then and sing me a song”. I would sing for him and he would hand me my luscious strawberry cone. Mr. Dave would then collect up the supplies my father wanted and ring him up. Mr. Dave would then open a drawer and take out a clean wash cloth, wet it, and wipe my face and hands clean. Mr. Dave would then pick me up in his arm and ask if I had a hug and a kiss for him today, which I gave him gladly.

One of my friends in high school told me, “Jerry you eat more strawberry ice cream than anyone I know”. I told him, “Where do you think all my auburn hair comes from”.

My father told me years later that he would slide a nickel across the counter to pay for my cone as I was crawling up on the stool to sing my song. He told me Mr. Dave would push the nickel back at him and tell my father that he got more out of this than a little ice cream would ever cost him. Oh, how I loved Mr. Dave, not because he had an unlimited supply of strawberry ice cream, but because of the goodness of his heart. Everyone who was ever around the Lovilia area knows by now I am talking about Dave Papich’s Drug Store.

This drugstore held fond memories for me. The drugstore always seemed to have what you needed.  School supplies, medicines, strawberry ice cream. The grocery store and the drugstore were the only places in the early 50’s the girls could hang out since they were not allowed in the pool hall.

Now Lovilia houses hold the farmers who have retired to town or the off spring of previous Lovilia residents who choose to commute to work to surrounding big towns. They choose to stay in Lovilia and raise their children far from big city life. Should anyone from another area of the United States drive through the town of Lovilia, they would view Lovilia as just another sleepy Iowa town gasping for its last breath. I did not view Lovilia this way. It may not be the roaring town it was before the turn of the century the old man described to me; nor the busy town of the Korean War days of the early 50’s, but it was a viable town, nevertheless. If the streets of Lovilia and the halls of the high school could talk, they would be able to tell grand tales about the ancestors who lived there who are now in the cemeteries.  Also, tales of the present population, as well as tales of those like me who grew up and moved away.

I feel badly that I will never again be able to experience the feeling on a hot July day of walking into that drugstore on Main street Lovilia. Of plunking down my nickel and sinking my lips into the creamy texture of a strawberry ice cream cone, and with my teeth, pulling out a ripe red strawberry. From now on when I eat a strawberry ice cream cone, I will have to plunk down 2 bucks, but a beautiful memory from the past will come floating back to me as I devour its creamy goodness. Yes, time marches on, but for people like me who grew up around the Lovilia area, we have been left with a bazillion beautiful memories.

Editors note:
Jerry is a free lance writer who writes under the pen name of Jerry Martin Ethell. Jerry is a 1954 graduate of Lovilia High School, a 1977 graduate of Des Moines Area CommunityCollege, and a 1981 Graduate of Drake University. She and her husband, Larry, are retired and live on their 200 acre grain farm southwest of Sandyville in east central Warren County. They retired at age 70 in 2008 and like to travel around in their Ford truck and Lance pick-up camper.

Jerry is the only living survivor of the original Verla and Hazel Martin family who resided 6 miles NW of Lovilia. Her older sister was Gwen who married Bob Sims. Gwen and Bob were both in the Lovilia graduating class of 1948. Her other sister was Arlene who was married to John Wilson. Living in John and Arlene’s house at the farm is their son Marty and his wife and children.

If you would like to contact Jerry she can be reached at:
20554 Kirkwood Street, Milo, Iowa 50166-6667
Phone: 641-942-6296