Fern D. Lietz was born on May 30, 1922 in Battle Creek, to Francis and Gudrun (Mortensen) Tillotson. She graduated from Battle Creek High School in 1940 and then attended Buena Vista College where she received her teaching certificate. She taught two years in country schools in the Battle Creek area.
She cared for and raised as her own, JoAnn and Jim Oquist from their toddler years onward. The family lived on a farm south of Storm Lake. She thoroughly enjoyed the farm life, raising and selling chickens and eggs. Fern later worked as a clerk at Ireland Drug and Ressler Drug in Storm Lake, where she was a favorite among her customers. She enjoyed playing cards and was an active member of the Storm Lake Camera Club.
In 1983 she married Harry Lietz of Alta. They enjoyed traveling together, visiting Alaska and Arizona. Harry passed away suddenly one year later. Fern continued to live in Alta, where she was active at St. Paul Lutheran Church. She spent many winters in Mesa, Ariz., near her brother, Arthur and sister-in-law, Hattie. She helped put together many quilts for Lutheran World Relief. She especially enjoyed collecting fabric for the quilts at garage sales and estate auctions. Fern also took great enjoyment in hosting and attending extended family gatherings.
Fern was preceded in death by her parents; two brothers, Arthur and Clifford Tillotson; and one stepson, Howard Lietz.
She is survived by her daughter, JoAnn (Chuck) Olsen of Storm Lake; her son, James (Donna) Oquist of Laveen, Ariz.; two stepsons, Paul (Janet) Lietz, of Alta, and Dean (Beth) Lietz of Alta; two stepdaughters, Karen (Denzil) Stacy of Sioux Rapids, and Beverly (John) Nordman of Algona; one stepdaughter-in-law, Connie Lietz of Alta; and a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.