Alice I. Macha

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 4:04 pm

Alice I. Macha, 82, of Decorah, died Friday evening, April 7, 2017, at her home in Decorah. Funeral services are at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 15, at First Lutheran Church in Decorah, with Rev. Chad Huebner officiating. Burial is in Hesper Public Cemetery in Hesper Township, rural Decorah. Visitation is from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 14, at Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah, and Saturday beginning at 10 a.m., one hour before the service, at First Lutheran Church. Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah is serving the family. Online condolences may be made at

On April 19, 1934, the concord of a rural Winneshiek county farm there arose a happy chorus that accompanied the birth of Alice, the youngest child of Alfred and Remalia (Ramsay) Quam. From an early age, Alice was petite and quick of foot and her family took to fondly calling her “Toots” or “Tootsie.” That affectionate nickname not only stayed with her for the years that followed, but was the first of many steps that she would take down her adventurous path forged of enchanting music, spirited dancing, and the peace of mind that is only ever afforded to those in the company of true friends. Growing up and attending school in Decorah, Alice held several part time jobs. One such job found her managing the lunch counter of the old Sugar Bowl, charming the customers as a “soda jerk.”
Another was her second job working as a clerk for the F.W. Woolworth variety store. After her graduation in 1952 from Decorah High School she was hired on as a bookkeeper and clerical assistant at the L. C. Bolson Co. She was dedicated, determined and hard working almost to a fault, but when the elusive opportunity to let her hair down did present itself, she loved to divide her evenings between her two favorite hobbies, dancing and roller skating. Both of these allowed for a night in the company of friends and surrounded by music which she loved.

On the 9th of August, 1953, Alice was united in marriage to Edwin A. (Eddie) Macha. Their individual notes joined in harmony, each finding something so special in the other that, just three days after their serendipitous meeting at Matter’s Ballroom, Eddie proposed; after only a week of consideration Alice accepted. Alice and Eddie remained on the farm for two years before moving to Ames, where they would spend the next four years while Eddie earned his B.S. degree in aerospace engineering at Iowa State University. While Eddie went to class Alice found employment at the Reuben H. Donnelley Advertising Co. in Nevada. After her stint there she held an administrative role in the student counseling and testing department of Iowa State University, where her presence did not go unnoticed by the faculty; at the time of Eddie’s graduation from ISU, the dean of the aero engineering program, Dr. E.W. Anderson, playfully presented Alice with a P.H.T. degree: “Putting Hubby Through.”

Upon graduation in 1959, Alice and Eddie moved to Burbank, Calif., where Eddie was employed by Lockheed Aircraft; but after just two years Eddie was offered a civil service position as a system analyst with the Air Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC), operated by the U.S. Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. They spent the next 30 years there.

After seven years of working in Ohio, and with the discovery that they were unable to have children of their own, they adopted two sons — a three year-old named Joseph and a one and a half year-old named John. Their song only grew grander with the addition to their little family. Alice and Eddie took up bowling in their minimal spare time and became certified bowling coaches in the Dayton area. When Alice’s constitution began to have difficulty she adapted and remained involved with the sport as a teacher; in 1970 she proved her ardor a second time by braving the skies and earning her pinch-hitters license, becoming proficient in air work, navigation, communication and landing a plane. The knowledge served as an assurance for herself and Eddie that should an emergency ever occur, she was prepared.

Upon receiving this training it marked the end of her formal workplace experience and launched her into a new adventure as a wife and mother. Although one stanza of her life had come to an end, it was certainly not the end to her melody. Never one for half measures, Alice was always actively involved in one project or another; she and Eddie shared many interests and whatever the activity or trial, they made sure to meet each new challenge side by side.

Matter’s Ballroom is what brought Alice and Eddie together for the first time and it continued to see them waltz, polka, and foxtrot through the rhapsody they composed together throughout their lives. Each day for them was a page to be filled with scattered notes, measured by meter, and time; forged from love, laughter and all of life’s staggering wonders.

Alice is survived by her husband, Eddie, of Decorah, two sons: Joseph, Jamestown, N.Y. and John, Clayton, Ohio; A daughter, Angela of La Crosse, Wis.; sisters-in-law Irene Kovoed, Pipestone, Minn. and Carol (Larry) Quillian, Washington, D.C. and a bundle of nieces, nephews and cousins.

She was preceded in death by her parents: four sisters: Gladys Olson, Ruby D’Olivera, Arlene Doubek and Marian Steele; and three brothers; Milford, Odin and Arthur (Bud) Quam.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Winneshiek Medical Center Hospice, 901 Montgomery St. Decorah, IA 52101 or First Lutheran Church, 604 West Broadway, Decorah, IA 52101.

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