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1916 Leola 2014

Leola Hawthorne

January 29, 1916 — July 13, 2014

Leola Maxine (Neill) Birt Hawthorne was born on January 29, 1916, on a farm in rural Adams County near Mt. Etna, Iowa to Edna Furn (Cline) Neill and Ralph Edward Neill. She passed away at Prairie View Assisted Living, Creston, Iowa on July 13, 2014 at the age of ninety-eight.
She grew up on the farm and was always a farm girl at heart. As a young girl she attended Hiland Church with her family and was baptized there. Through 8th grade she went to Hunter School, a little one room school house not far from her home. Leola and her brother usually walked to school and would sometimes ride their ponies. If the snow was really bad, her father would carry her to school on his shoulders! While attending Corning High School she also worked at Parkers Jewelry Store.
She was united in marriage to Erwin Frank Birt on January 24, 1937. To this union three children were born, Melvin, Robert and Patricia. They lived on a farm north of Prescott, Iowa until 1944 when they sold everything and moved to California. This was during World War II. Erwin worked in the Shipyard on North Island and they lived on Coronado Island. They lived there about nine months before moving back to Prescott, Iowa, where they bought an 80 acre farm north of Prescott. In 1954 they were able to buy a larger farm three miles north of Prescott. That is where the family lived until 1965 when they retired from farming and moved to Creston, Iowa.
Leola was a housewife and a homemaker. She loved to garden, work with flowers, sew, and was a wonderful cook. Family favorites were her homemade chicken and noodles and homemade pies. She made a quilt and an afghan for each one of her grandchildren and a baby afghan for each of her great-grandchildren. She was happiest when spending time with her family especially the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was very excited when she held her first great-great grandson on Christmas Day 2013, celebrating five generations of Birt’s.
Leola was a member of the First United Methodist Church and the Ladies Afternoon Circle in Creston. She belonged and was a very active member of the Order of Eastern Star in Prescott, Iowa. The Chapter celebrated their 50th anniversary on June 13, 2009, where Leola received her 50 year member pen. When the Prescott Chapter closed she transferred her membership to the Vesta Chapter in Corning. She also belonged to the White Shrine of Jerusalem in Creston. Leola loved playing cards with family and belonged to several card clubs over the years. She had the reputation of being quite the card shark with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Leola and Erwin spent several winters in Apache Junction, Arizona until his passing on May 14, 1984. Many lifelong friends were made there.
On October 28, 1984 Leola married Cleo Hawthorne at the First United Methodist Church in Creston. They spent twenty years enjoying the winters in Apache Junction, Arizona. In March of 2008, they sold their home on New York Avenue and moved to Regency Park in Creston. In April of this year they moved to Prairie View Assisted Living.
Leola was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Erwin Birt; son, Melvin Birt; granddaughter, Sandra Birt; brother and sister-in-law, Loren and Joy Neill; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Bill and Lucille Bradley; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Joe and Floss Birt; nieces, Sandra Neill and Carol Larson; nephew, Steve Birt; and step-son-in-law, Larry Templeton.
She is survived by her husband, Cleo Hawthorne, Creston; son, Robert Birt and wife Connie of Essex, Iowa; daughter, Patricia Vrieze of Waukee, Iowa; Ten grandchildren; Twenty great-grandchildren; One great-great grandchild; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Duane and Rowlene Birt of Prescott, Iowa; Step-daughter, Donna Templeton of Atlantic, Iowa; Four step-grandchildren; Seven step-great-grandchildren; along with many nieces, nephews, cousins and wonderful friends.
Leola was always a devoted wife and mother, thinking first of her family and their happiness. She will always be remembered for her everlasting smile and friendly personality by her many friends she acquired wherever she went. It is consoling to remember her glad heart and the love she had for all of us.

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Service Schedule

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

Pearson Family Funeral Service & Cremation Center - Creston

809 West Montgomery Street, Creston, IA 50801

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