Lois Ruth Cole

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lois Ruth (Clausen) Cole, age 87, of Storm Lake, died Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010 at Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City.

Funeral services were Friday, Oct. 22, 2010 at the Lakeside Presbyterian Church in Storm Lake. Burial was in the Schaller Cemetery. The Fratzke & Jensen Funeral Home in Storm Lake was in charge of the arrangements.

Lois Ruth Clausen, daughter of George W. and Adelaide H. (Reineking) Clausen, was born March 10, 1923 at the family farm in Schaller. Growing up, Lois attended the Eureka No. 8 one-room country school through 8th grade, with graduation on June 10, 1936 at the Chautauqua Auditorium in Sac City. There were graduates from a total of 69 one-room rural schools that day. She remembers the courage she had to generate each of these years in grade school for those Declamatory Contests. Best of all, the good feelings she experienced the times she won.

On April 6, 1941, Lois was baptized at the First Presbyterian Church in Schaller. She later received her confirmation and remained an active and devoted member of the church. Currently, Lois attended the Lakeside Presbyterian Church in Storm Lake, Iowa.

She was a member of the Eureka-Eden 4-H club from the time she was ten where she proudly showed Hereford Club calves from the Clausen Herd. She won many ribbons including the grand championship trophy at the Sac County fair and Divisional first place at the Sioux City Inter-State (Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska) show in 1935. She won top awards with her 4-H record books in those days, as well. It is interesting to note, her three Herefords topped the Sioux City open-market in 1933, at five cents per pound. The packing plant reported the high dressing percentage to the family later.

In 1940, Lois graduated from Schaller High School where she ranked in the top percentage of her class. During her time in school, she earned the leading part in the Senior Class play. Lois enjoyed the competition of being on the girls' 4-H demonstration teams, where she served multiple terms as president.

Following high school graduation, Lois attended and graduated from Buena Vista College in Storm Lake, where she earned her teaching certificate. She was the president of the YWCA Chapter for two years, as well as, president of the Christian Endeavor Organization for two years. She was the first freshman president elected in the history of the college to hold these positions. During this time, she was the elected recipient of a trip in 1941 to the national YWCA-YMCA conference (48 states) at Lake Geneva, Wisc. with delegation and speaking duties.

Upon receiving her teaching certificate, Lois taught the third grade through the eighth grade classes. During her first year of teaching, she was one of the graduates to receive the high salary of 75 dollars per month. Over the course of five years, Lois taught in Washta, Galva, McCallsburg, Schaller, and Early (where she attained the position of Junior High Principal).

On Feb. 28, 1947, Lois was united in marriage to Ralph E. Cole of Storm Lake at the First Presbyterian Church in Schaller. Together, they established their first home and farming career south of Storm Lake. She completed her teaching career at the end of the school year in 1947, when she joined Ralph as a full-time farming partner.

Lois and Ralph loved farming and were true conservationists. They demonstrated their desire to preserve the land by terracing, tiling, and crop rotation. Ralph and Lois were recognized in 1995 by the Buena Vista County Soil & Water Conservation District and awarded the Quad States Community Conservation Award for their pioneering conservation efforts within the Storm Lake Watershed, protecting Storm Lake from agricultural sediment and chemical runoff. That same year, they were also recognized by the Sac County Soil & Water Conservation District Commissioners with the Cleo Johnson Conservation Award for the outstanding soil conservation practices they installed on their farm in Sac County.

Lois was an avid reader of a broad variety of topics. She had a fantastic memory and was very talented and intelligent, to the most modest degree. She could recall people, facts and information instantly - she was a walking encyclopedia.

When very young, Lois, was taught how to hold a pencil correctly and form letters with the help of her mother, Adelaide. This continued throughout school, where Lois took much pride in developing her beautiful penmanship. She loved writing and wrote beautiful and meaningful letters, endlessly, over her lifetime to many family and friends. As a young child, Lois's mother also taught her aspects of drawing which helped Lois become a self taught artist, not having received any formal art lessons. She drew descriptive pictures of scenery and animals, along with realistic portraits of people, during her high school and college years. Lois designed the Cole Logo, the "horsepower" stencil that adorned the Cole farm equipment and the "roadrunner" stencil on their grain trucks. Lois will be remembered as a farmer who loved the land, cared deeply for her livestock, worked many hard years, and had a deep thirst for knowledge.

Survivors include her sister, Mildred (Clausen) Hadenfeldt of Alta; two nephews, Wayne R. Clausen and Dale R. Clausen and families; four great nieces; cousins, Joan Schirrmacher and Shirley Belstene; extended family and many friends.

Lois was preceded in death by her parents; husband and best friend of almost 60 years, Ralph E. Cole; brother, Robert in 1967; brothers-in-law, Bob L. Hadenfeldt; James W. Cole; C. Dean Cole.