Lorene Geiselhart

Monday, December 11, 2023 9:07 pm

Lorene Geiselhart, age 94, of Calmar, passed away on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023, at Barthell O.E.S Home in Decorah.

Lorene Annetta Knutson was born on June 28, 1929, on the family farm near Rake, Iowa, the youngest of eight children born to Charles and Altha Mills Knutson. She attended school in Rake and graduated in 1946 at 17, went to Luther College for a one-year teaching certificate and started her teaching career at Postville in 1947-48. Lorene married James Willis Geiselhart on June 1, 1949, in Rake following their graduation from Luther in 1949. They taught in Galesville, Ill., and Trempealeau, Wis., in 1949-51 after which they moved to Fairmont, Minn., where their union was blessed with four children. In 1958, they moved to the Iowa community of Vinton, where they both taught. Jim was the HS Business Education instructor. Lorene taught primary grades at the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School from 1959 – 1970. She was an active member of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Church in Vinton and volunteered in many professional organizations and participated in community activities with her children. During that time, she received her BA degree at Iowa State Teachers College in 1965.

In 1970, the family moved to Calmar, where Lorene continued teaching in second grade at South Winneshiek Community Schools for 25 years until retiring in 1994. Lorene received her Masters degree from the University of Northern Iowa in 1989 but continued to take classes her whole life. She was also a Student Teacher Supervisor for Luther College from 1971 – 1994. Lorene was honored to be in Who’s Who in America Women twice – once for being an outstanding teacher and once for being a mentor to student teachers. She was retired for one year before she accepted a position of teaching English as a Second Language in an Education College in Nanchong, Sichuan Province, in China for one year. With this experience of a lifetime, she finished her 40-year teaching career.

After China, she began a 20-year friendship with Fred Boettcher. Together they were very active in many volunteer activities for church and community including being leaders of the senior center. In 2007 their work was recognized with the Governor’s State volunteer award presented by Governor Culver. They loved to travel. Lorene’s love of traveling had her seeing every US state, Mexico, Europe and Asia. Lorene was an active member of the Calmar Lutheran Church in choir, council, circles, and “doing days”. She was a 50-year member of AAUW and Delta Kappa Gamma, and a member of NEA, ISEA, Iowa Reading Council, NE Iowa Rosemaling Assn. She was very active in the Calmar Improvement Assn when they campaigned to build the Calmar swimming pool. Besides volunteering, Lorene enjoyed writing, reading, and golfing but she especially loved to be artistic. She was a rosemaler, rug hooker, and an oil, acrylic, and watercolor painter and showed these skills as a 15-year artist in the NE Iowa Art Tour. She was also interested in genealogy and achieved her goal of complying and publishing a family history book by age 80.

She moved to Barthell OES assisted living in Decorah in 2013 and lived there for four years before moving to Barthell OES nursing home where she lived for 6 ½ years.

Lorene was preceded in death by her parents, Charles and Altha Knutson, one sister, Stella Verlo, her five brothers (and sister-in -laws)– Chester (Mary), Lloyd (Alta), Mervin (Beverly), George (Marge), Arthur (Vivian) Knutson, her loving companion, Fred Boettcher and several nephews and a niece.

Lorene leaves behind an extended and loving family; her beloved sister, Lucille (Jerry) Barnett, West Des Moines, and her four children – Nancy (Keith) Geiken of Ogden, Larry Geiselhart of Calmar, Richard (LeAnn) Geiselhart of Decorah, and Kathleen Doughty of Calmar, ; six grandchildren, Shane (Kari) Geiselhart of Ankeny, Joshua (Michelle) Geiselhart of Cresco, Brian (Jessica) Geiken of Ankeny, Karen Whaley ( Chris Stevenson) of Ankeny, Leif Stockdale of Albuquerque, NM, and Alan Stockdale of Las Vegas, Nev. Lorene was blessed with 27 children that called her great grandma, and four generations of nieces and nephews.

Special thanks to the Barthell O.E.S staff for their excellent and loving care of mom.

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