Thursday, November 16, 2023 4:16 pm
Ione Eleanor (Folkedahl) Wilkens, age 77, went home to be with her Lord on November 9, 2023. She battled Acute Leukemia since February 2022. She was born Jan. 30, 1946, to Alice Elnora (Severide) Folkedahl and Edward Clarence Folkedahl in Spring Grove, Minn.
Ione attended Decorah public schools and loved having grown-up in Decorah. She had the unique distinction of being that kid you always heard about and never knew- being shot in the eye with a BB gun when she was 5.She was proud of Decorah and her Norwegian heritage. Family, friends and classmates were important to Ione. She always enjoyed returning to Decorah for visits.
She began her telephone employment in Decorah as a Service Representative with Northwestern Bell. Her career took her to Des Moines, Ottumwa and back to Des Moines. She loved working for the “telephone company” and all of the wonderful people she had the pleasure of meeting and working with during her 43 plus years career, retiring in 2009.
In Ottumwa, she met the love of her life, David Charles Wilkens. They met on a blind date! They had a whirlwind romance and eloped in 1969, 10 months after meeting. They were married 42 years.
Ione was very involved with the Girl Scouts. She believed in its program and the value to Girls. She was a lifetime member and served in a variety of volunteer capacities, including President of Moingona Council for 7 years.
Dave was a charter member of West Des Moines Elks Lodge No. 2752 and after retirement, Ione became very involved with the Elks. She believed in the Elks’ wonderful programs, in particular its emphasis on Veterans. She volunteered in many different ways and especially loved meeting friends there on a regular basis!
Ione and Dave loved to travel, especially playing Santa Clause with the Telephone Pioneers all around the world. This involved dressing up as Santa and Mrs. Clause and delivering small gifts to orphans, forgotten elderly, disadvantaged children, the sick and infirmed and in general bringing cheer to others less fortunate, while promoting volunteerism.
Travel was slightly curtailed when Dave was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He valiantly battled it for 6 years, passing in 2011. At that time they had traveled to 43 different countries with repeats to many, in particular Mexico. Their travels included visits to the Seven Wonders of the World! Their motto was: “Do what you can, when you can, because you don’t know when you can’t!”
Ione continued to travel after Dave’s passing, including Santa trips. She came up with a new motto “Cover the Earth, before the Earth covers you!” She loved meeting people throughout the world and learning about their lives and cultures.
In 2016, Ione was blessed to meet the second love of her life, Mark Steven Holloway. Mark also had a passion for travel and they made the most of it, going on numerous cruises and 37 new countries for Ione. Mark is an excellent driver and they loved going on road trips and exploring the USA. As a result of this Ione was proud to say that she had visited all 50 states. They also enjoyed spending March in Arizona.
Ione kept records of travels, which included 25 cruises, 19 Santa trips, and 159 trips to 87 different countries. Some of Ione’s favorite adventures included: visiting Folkedahl, Norway, riding a mule down and back up the Grand Canyon, an Expedition Cruise from Aishwaya, Argentina around Cape Horn through the Drake passage to Porter Arenas Chile, swimming with dolphins off the coast of Zanzibar, touring Easter Iland, walking on the Great Wall of China, touring museums of St. Petersburg, Russia, experiencing 3 African Safaris, marveling at the animals on the Galapagos Islands, cruising the Yangtze river in China, sleeping in a tent in the Sahara desert and riding a camel at sunrise, tacking the Silverback Gorillas in Uganda, searching for the Golden Faced Monkeys in Rwanda, flying over the Ha Long Bay n Vietnam, touring the Dali Lama’s 1,000 room Potala Palace in Tibet, seeing Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, touring the Taj Mahal, flying close to Mount Everest in Nepal and spending 12 days in Cuba.
She loved going to casinos, concerts and the Civic XCenter. Most of her family and friends knew her favorite song was Dancing Queen!
Ione believed in God and was thankful for the many blessings received during her life. She especially appreciated her wonderful family and dear friends! She belonged to Windsor Heights Lutheran Church.
Those left behind to cherish her memories include: her partner Mark Holloway (Daughter Marissa), brother Alert Folkedahl (Sharon); nephews, nieces and their families, all of whom she adored: Shelly Folkedahl (Amy, Raelynn & Lynn Panos), Gina Folkedahl (Dailen & Cole Svestka, Kahler, baby & Austin Kafar), Marc & Steph Folkedahl (Micala, Kiana, Landan & Jorja), Todd Folkedahl, Jayme Folkedahl (Kennedy, Drake, Amelia & Ethan), Barb Arness, Debbie & John Fetters. Krisie & Don Gai, Jim & Joanne Arness (Tiffani & Ryan), brother in law Grag & Marcia Treibcock (Ian). Dave’s Uncles and Aunts Merl & Diane Rolfs, Lois Slabach, Joan Rolfs and Dorothy Rolfs. Plus many amazing cousins.
She was preceded in death by her husband Dave, her parents, sister Fran Arness, brother-in-law Ray Arness, nephew Michael Edward Folkedahl, and parents-in-law Sid & LaVern Trebilcock.
A celebration of life will be held at Windsor Heights Lutheran Church on Friday December 1, 2023 at 12:00 P.M. Visitation will be held at the church on hour prior to the service. Lunch will follow at West Des Moines Elks Lodge No. 2752, 2060 94th St., Clive, Iowa. Inurnment will be held at a later date in Lorraine, Kansas.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the family for Ione’s memorial.