Ethel Sylvester, 82


Ethel Ann Sylvester, 82, died peacefully in her sleep at Atrium Care Center in Hills, just weeks shy of her 60th wedding anniversary.

The celebration of life service will be held Saturday, July 15, at 10 a.m. at Good News Bible Church, 845 Pepperwood Lane, Iowa City, followed by a reception.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial gifts be sent to First Friends Church, P.O. Box 507, Grinnell, IA 50112 for support of Sam Barber, missionary in Belize.

Ethel grew up in the Waterloo area with her twin sister, Bethel, and three brothers: Wayne, Dave, and Bill. Ethel was named after her grandma. She and all her siblings attended college. Ethel earned an undergraduate degree in elementary education. While at University of Northern Iowa, she met her future husband, Walt. They were married shortly after their graduations.

Ethel and Walt both earned master’s degrees at Missouri State University, hers in elementary reading. They spent many years living on Walt’s family’s Century Farm. Ethel taught kindergarten for more than 20 years at Lynnville-Sully School.

Throughout her life, she used her sewing skills to create more than 200 quilts, which she has given to family members as gifts, as well as to charities as raffle and auction items.

After her diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, she was an active member of the Iowa Parkinson’s Community. She even had several of her poems regarding her experiences with living with Parkinson’s published in “Live It!” which is a publication for the Iowa Chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association.

Ethel’s family was very important to her. Her children, grandchildren, and great-grand-children can attest that she always put them first. She instilled in them her love of reading. Ethel supported them by frequently attending their school activities. She always said, “The best times in my life were not about where I was, or how much I had, but rather who I was with.”

Ethel is survived by: Her husband Walt; two daughters Michelle (Dan) Berns and Kris (Jim) Mennen; four grandchildren Zach Mennen, Alex Berns, Luke Mennen-Talsma, and Brooke Mennen; five great-grand-children Delilah, Soren, Hazel, Amara and Maddox; and four brothers and twin sister.

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