60th Wedding Anniversary Today

July 19th, 2012

Gerald and Beverly Sofranko are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary today, July 19, 2012.
May you celebrate the day with lovely family memories. Happy Anniversary!!

Weller Picnic August 4, 2012, Saturday

July 18th, 2012

The Weller bunch will meet at Weller 11am-5pm. Lunch served at 11:30am. Menu: pork loin, brats, side dishes, soda, iced tea, and lemonade.
There will be live country and Irish music as well as Traditional Irish dancing. Bringing your own lawn chairs is essential or if you prefer a blanket to sit on. You are welcome to bring your own coolers too. Everyone is welcome!!

Rain Dances Welcome

We are seriously in need of rain in Lovilia and on the farms of our area.  If you know the fabulous footwork to bring the rain drops down like cats and dogs, we welcome you to start the dance now if not sooner!!  I pity my parents who were kids in the nineteen twenties and thirties when there were no ice cubes and no refrigerators.  I think I will start hugging my frig every morning.  And thank the good Lord and the electric company for keeping it humming.  Remember to be thankful for the good stuff-  it could always be worse.

Rita Kathleen Fowler Betts Died July 8,2012

July 17th, 2012

Rita was born in Lovilia, Iowa on September 23, 1932. Her parents were Charles and Nelle Fowler(deceased now). Her older siblings (all deceased now) are Charles, Lois and Jeri.
Rita graduated from the University of Iowa and served as a Registered Radiologic Technologist for forty years. She married Robert Betts and they made their home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They were blessed with three children: James, Julie, and John. She has seven grandchildren and one great grandchild. Besides her family she enjoyed bridge, bowling, and jazz music. In lieu of flowers, memorials in her name would be appreciated for the St. Benedict the Moor Parish, Meal Program, 1015 N. 9th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53233.

May she now rest in peace.

Lovilia Class of 1962 Celebrates 50th Reunion

July 12th, 2012

The Lovilia High School class of 1962 celebrated their 50th year class reunion on Saturday, June 30, 2012 at the Lovilia Community Building. The original class of 20 was the last graduating class from Lovilia High School and to date, has only lost one classmate-Ronnie Jones.

Fourteen classmates with spouses or guests attended. Also attending were friends from other schools who were a part of the early high school roster for this class. Lots of getting caught up on each others lives, recalling memories of our school days together, and a great sit-down-meal were the highlights of the day… and a great time was had by all!

These attending were: Rose(Hull)Stuchel, Barbara (Robinson) Fick, Sherry (Blomgren) Clark, Sheila (Crall) Sager, Betty (Tierney) Ballalatak, Judy (Weldon) Conner, Bonnie (Gullion) Purdy, Joyce (Lowry) Jones, Jerry Blomgren, Bill Ballalatak, Elaine (Plum) Podnar, Don Etcher, Judy (Franzen) McGinn, and Mark Waters.

Other classmates not attending are: Shirley (Jones) Yenger, Armadine (Waters) Schmitt, Betty (Burk) Woollums, Carol (Bunch) Belzer, and Wendell Dunkin.


Does Anyone Have Contact Information for John Betts?

One of our blog readers said John’s mother was Rita Fowler Betts and she died at age 80 apparently not too long ago.  If you know how to reach John, let me know by email and I will tell this reader.  Thanks for any help on this matter.


Joe Barron Celebrates 75th Birthday

June 29th, 2012

Joe, who grew up at Weller and went to high school in Lovilia graduating in the class of 1954, recently celebrated his 75h birthday. Family and friends helped him celebrate his big day. He currently lives in Bentondorf, Iowa. Congrats Joe!

Blood Bank did a Blood Draw at Lovilia on Monday

One family from Lovilia has four donors. Does any other family have more?  I think it is great that they participate in such large numbers!  This is Bob, Loita, Sadie(she is married but of course still their daughter), and Katie Williams.

As an aside, their son Christian has moved to Pella where he works at VerMeers.  We miss you here at Lovilia but wish you well in your new place!

Lovilia Family Has Artists, Poets, and Photographers

Emily Plum who grew up in rural Lovilia the daughter of Joe Plum and Juana Plum, after receiving a bachelors degree at Central College in Pella and a masters of fine arts degree at Ames, Iowa is a very creative writer and artist.  To learn more read through her blog Emilylupitastudio.com.  She has paintings, prints, jewelry, etc. with unique designs that show the influence of her world travels and her long visits to Mexico and Japan.  She now resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband.

Her brother, Asa, has a degree from Ames, Ia. also.  He lives in Arizona with his wife and daughter and has a career as an architect.  He has a special interest in photography and you can see his work at studioasap.com.  The photos are composed with an artist’s eye.  He likes to capture the details of architecture and he has some beautiful landscape photos too.

Their father, Joe Plum, is a poet and his works can be found on joeplum.com. He has had poetry books published and performs at poetry readings.  Joe still lives in rural Lovilia area.

Juana, (Jane), now lives in Oskaloosa and works at Clow mfg. in the safety dept.  The kids artistic eye comes from her it is clear to see.  Her love is painting in water colors or acrylics.  One subject is her specialty and that is the detail closeups of flowers.  She will make a custom piece for you too.  You can contact her at juanaswatercolors.com.

Kraber Family Reunion

June 23rd, 2012

The descendents of Ed Kraber recently held their annual reunion at Lovilia Community Building. Family members attended from Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois. Next year’s reunion will be May 4, 2013.

The grandfather, Ed Kraber, came to the USA at the age of 14 from Germany in 1882. He lived in Illinois, Kansas, and Nebraska before settling in Iowa. After putting down roots in Iowa, he married and this union was blessed with eleven children.

Lindsey R. Smith Becomes a Realtor

Lindsey, after much study and preparation, has passed the exams to be a realtor.  She has been hired to work full time in Knoxville at the Prudential First office.  Her employers are Rich and Joni Bailey. Congratulations Lindsey on your success with the exams and your new job.

Lindsey is the daughter of Joan Ford of Lovilia and Ron Paulsgrove.  Her grandparents are Mary Slofkosky and the  late Albert Slofkosky.

New City Councilman is Sarah Lang

She was appointed to fill out the term of Bob Beary who has moved to Albia.  She will hold office until the next election.  She is the wife of Justin Lang. Her parents are David and Linda Kraber . Her Lovilia grandmother is Marilyn and the late Charles Kraber was her grandfather.  Thanks for agreeing to serve your Lovilia community in this position.

Lovilia United Methodist Bible School Held June 11-15

A member of Methodist mobile missions conducted a Bible lesson and led the children in music daily.  The kids then went to Paster Dale or Rev. Ray Doser’s classrooms for more study. Lola Ivens led the craft making sessions and Judy Conner was in charge of the lunch each day.  Members of the congregation generously donated the items for the lunches. One day Casey’s sore donated pizza and beverages for the meal.   Helpers for the classes were Angie Kimball and her daughter.  Enrollment was 28-32 children each day.

Larry and Beth Shelford Have Shuffled Houses

Larry and Beth have placed a new home behind their former home on North E Avenue here in town.  Now the old home has been removed and the site cleared.   The new home now sits back farther from the street than the old and the yard is spacious.  It is a nice addition to the town.

Nine Kinds of Salt at Norway, Iowa Coop

My salt is generic white or the white ” when it rains, it pours” salt.  I was surprised to read that you can get pink, black, etc. You can get it from Himalayan mountains, Hawaii, Washington, Pakistan, France, etc.  You can check this out at Frontier Coop.com.

The town of Norway is about the size of Lovilia, so a town our size could have a business if we came up with the “Eureka idea” for one.  Congrats to Norway, Iowa.

This coop also sells bulk spices, tea, and other organic products and some are fairtrade too for those of us who want to support workers that way.  Check them out.  It is an easy site to navigate and interesting to see it whether you purchase anything or not.

I was telling my husband about this Himalayan pink salt which they claim has an earthy taste and not like sea salt.  My husband says it just tastes like regular salt.  I said how would you know that.  He said he had tasted it.  I was of course incredulous.  Where?  Here is the surprise punch line and it is true. He is a truck driver and found this pink salt on a bottle on his table at the Dodge City Petro Truckstop in Alabama off exit 299 from Interstate 265.  Truck stops serving gourmet salt from an Iowa coop? Truth is stranger than fiction every time!!  I am still shaking my head in disbelief.

1917 Lovilia Press newspaper prints article from Fremont Gazette Giving Fremont’s opinion of the Lovilia Merchants Problem

“The merchants of Lovilia, Iowa, have served notice on all customers that accounts will not be carried longer than ninety days, and settlement will be expected by cash or note at the expiration of a ninety day period.  All of the merchants have entered into the same agreement.  They should have made it thirty days. ”

Do you remember walking into a store and saying, “Just put it on my account”? That was before credit cards and debit cards.  A few…………years back.



Did you know you could drive two hours from Lovilia and be in New Orleans?

June 15th, 2012

It is true. I did it today. You simply drive to interstate 80 and go east to the exit ramp for Oxford, Iowa. The  Louisiana “spot” is just 3 miles away on a paved road through beautiful farm country.

It is located on the corner of Augusta Avenue and Main Street.  (This is the street you enter town on.) It is called the Augusta Restaurant.

What makes it special besides a tenderloin ranked best in Iowa in 2008? (I ate one and I would say it is still the best!!).

The chef, Ben, and his wife, Jeri Halperin immigrated here due to Hurricane Katrina ruining them in New Orleans.

The building is decorated in memorabilia of the jazz city and quiet jazz is the background sound. The walls are a bright gallery of art of an Iowa City Artist’s work which are for sale (priced from $75-$300 or so).

Ben makes everything from scratch. Yes, the old fashioned way, from scratch. For his sandwiches he puts on his own homemade pickles and his own homemade mayo and the buns and breads are fresh baked by him as were today’s strawberry shortcakes. He brews organic coffee. He cooks each meal when you place your order. They also have daily specials.  It is a treat you deserve to give yourself.

Their hours are: 11am-9pm Wed. and Thurs.
11am-10pm Fri. and Sat.
11am-2pm Sun. Brunch
closed Mon. and Tues.

So when you want to go Cajun, go to Oxford and spend some time at the Augusta.  You will be glad you did.

Have you seen a rattlesnake this year in Monroe County?

June 11th, 2012

I have been contacted by a biology professor who is researching rattlesnakes in Iowa. He would especially like a photo of it and where you took the photo or if you killed it and have the rattles he would like to know that.

If you have information about the snakes, here is his contact information. Phone: 712-722-6279 and FAX 712-722-1198.
e-mail for him: mahaffy@dordt.edu. Mailing address: James Mahaffy, 498 4th Avenue NE, Biology Dept., Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa 51250-1697.

He knows about the high frequency of rattlers seen in the old Blackstone Mine area of Union township.  If you know of anyone locally who has been bit and treated for the bite from the rattlesnake, he would like to know that too.

He has researched a list of persons who have died from bites in Iowa going back to the first Iowa settlers.  Some farmers were bit in the field, some children died after a bite while berry picking or hazelnut picking, and some were bit in their own front yard!  In those days all victims died as there was no venom antidote.

Thanks to you for any facts that can help him with his research.

Jack Force , Lovilia Businessman Dies

June 5th, 2012

Jack Force , age 77, of Hamilton died June 1, 2012. His parents were John Wade Force and Velda (Wellman) Force.  His birth date was Sept. 22, 1934.
On the 4th of July in 1954 he married Phyllis Trinkle. They had one son, Dan, and two daughters, Sandra and Kathy.
Jack ran a business in Lovilia, Iowa for 28 years located on Hwy 5. It was named Lovilia Bait and Tire.
Survivors include his wife, three children, seven grandchildren, six great grandchildren and three step-great-grandchildren .
Funeral was Monday, June 4, 2012 at the Bussey United Methodist Church. Burial was at Greenlawn Cemetery in Bussey, Iowa.
Memorials may be directed to Knoxville’s Hospice of central Iowa.
United Methodist Church Lovilia Bible School

School will be June 11-15th.  Hours are 10am-1pm.  Classes are at the church on E Avenue South. Lessons, crafts, music, and snacks.  All children are welcome.

Primary Election Voting today, June 5th, at Lovilia Community Building

I voted and I hope you do too.  A new wrinkle is they scan your driver’s license to speed up the identification process.  However, you can still fill out a hand written sheet to identify your self and vote as in the past. Voting is a privilege so take advantage and let your voice be heard.


Lois Walter died May 15, 2012

May 31st, 2012

Lois was born August 24, 1926 to Fred H. and Clara Ellen (Cook) Clark. She received all her schooling in Lovilia and graduated from the high school in the class of 1944.

Oct. 30, 1944 she married Roscoe Wayne Walter. They were married 56 years when Roscoe died in 2001.

Lois was active in the United Methodist church and their women’s group, American Legion Auxiliary, and the Order of Eastern Star. The last six years she was in a care unit in Pella.

She and Roscoe had four children: Dennis and (Sue) Walter of Knoxville; Harry and (Jane) Walter of Newton; Connie Lane and (Mark) of Knoxville; and Kevin and (Toni) Walter of Albia, Iowa.
They were blessed with ten grandchildren and twenty-one great grandchildren.

Funeral services were May 19, 2012 at the Lovilia United Methodist Church and burial was at the Lovilia Woodlawn Cemetery.

Memorials were established for the Lovilia Woodlawn Cemetery Association or the Lovilia United Methodist Church.


Celebration Breakfast at St. Peter’s Hall on Sunday May 20,2012

Guests ate pancakes, sausage, fresh fruit salad, coffee, milk, juice, and the fixings prepared by the women of the church.   Logan Stalzer was celebrating his first communion.  Aaron Kurimski (Albia Comm. H.S.) and Laura Davis ( Twin Cedars H.S.) were celebrating their high school graduations.  Congratulations to all of you!  Aaron will study mechanical engineering at Iowa State University this fall.  Laura will attend Truman State University and start pre-law studies.

Also honored at the feast were the boys and girls who help the church as altar servers.  This includes:  Aaron Kurimski, Marty Beary, Brett Nace, Hunter McAninch, Cole Kurimski, Daniel Beary, Kade Dunkin, Hailey Kurimski, Jer McAninch, Savannah Stalzer and Nathaniel Wynn.

Memorial Day Observances in Lovilia

The Veterans Honor Guard held services in memory of our service men and women at both St. Peter’s and Woodlawn cemeteries on Monday.  Merrill Baker spoke of their service and sacrifice for our country.  Gerald Sofranko led attendees in prayer.  Frank Massick was commander of the gun salute.  Riflemen were Jim Toopes, Lenny Toopes, Jr. Blomgren, Bill McCombs, and Charger Ross.  Playing a recording of taps was John Duprey.  We thank them for their military service and for coming  to honor the other servicemen and women who have served in the past and are serving today to protect our freedoms.

An appropriate poem written by Major Kelly  Strong and shared to us by Jerry Ethell follows:

Freedom is not Free

I watched the flag pass by one day, it fluttered in the breeze,

A young man in uniform saluted it, and then he stood at ease.

I looked at him in uniform—so young, so tall, so proud,

With hair cut square and eyes alert, he’d stand out in the crowd.

I thought how many men like him had fallen through the years?

How many died in foreign soil?

How many mother’s tears?

How many pilots’ planes shot down?

How many died at sea?

How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves?

No, freedom is not free.

I heard the sound of taps one night, when everything was still.

I listened to the bugler play and felt a sudden chill.

I wondered just how many times that taps had meant “Amen”

When a flag had draped a coffin of a brother or a friend.

I thought of all the children, of mothers and the wives

Of fathers, sons, and husbands, with interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard at the bottom of the sea,

Of unmarked graves in Arlington.

No, freedom is not free.

These are sentiments we should recall everyday of the year.  May these unselfish men and women now rest in peace.

Remember the barber, Jim Cummings?

Jerry Ethell heard from his grandson after Marlene Papich, his sister-in-law, told him about this blog site.

Chuck Terrell lived in Lovilia until he was four years old.  His family then moved to Chariton, Iowa where he attended grade school.  Next the family went to Peoria, Illinois where his father worked at the Caterpillar plant.  Chuck finished high school there and joined the Air Force.  Following his service he worked for Caterpillar and joined the Illinois National Air Guard.  He has been retired since 1991. Once married he has now been divorced for 40 years.

As a youngster he spent a lot of the summer days at his grandparents and knew all the town boys who were in Jerry Ethell’s class.  He currently lives in Bartonville, Illinois.  He says when he dies he will return to Lovilia and be buried next to his parents in St. Peter’s Cemetery.

Smokey Smith Book is a Great Read

On an earlier post I mentioned this book about the famous country music promoter and DJ for KRNT radio and TV in DesMoines in the 1960 time period.  I had a chance to read the book and it is a very fun read.  If you like the performers from that time he tells great personal stories of Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, June Cash, Minnie Pearl, etc. that he knew and worked with himself.  Also, the chapter about the Ponderosa Club in Lovilia where Smokey’s own band played as well as national performers that he brought there like Carl Perkins alone is worth the book .

These Lovilia people are quoted in the book:  George Gilbert, Merrill Baker, Pauline Welsh, Junior Blomgren, Rowena Shelford, Donna Shelford, Bonnie Gilbert, Doran Haywood, and Bill McCombs (Milo’s son).

These Country performers played in Lovilia at the Ponderosa:

Carl Perkins, Marvin Rainwater, Dave Dudley, Little Jimmy Dickens, Mac Wiseman, Justin Tubb, James O’Gwynn, Leroy Van Dyke, Merle Kilgore, Webb Pierce, Red Sovine, Marion Worth, Del Reeves, and Johnny Western.

You can go to my earlier blog and read how to order the book or the CD recorded live at the Ponderosa.  If you like country this stuff is all gold!

Classof 1962 will Celebrate their 50th Class Reunion in June

Lovilia  had 20 students in that graduating class. The superintendent was O. T. Huffman and the class sponsor was Opal Huffman.

Class officers were:  Pres. Don Etcher, V-pres. Bill Ballalatak, Sec. Judy Weldon (Conner now), and Treasurer Elaine Plum. There is one deceased class member, Ronnie Jones.   Judy Weldon was the last member of the class to receive her diploma and the last student to graduate from Lovilia High School.

We will write a follow up story about the reunion.