Iola Lorraine Walkes Lindh(Aug 16, 1918 - Jun 7, 2011)
Iola Lorraine Walkes Lindh, formerly of Litchfield, Conn., died Tuesday afternoon, June 7, 2011, on the Transitions Unit of Marquis Vintage Suites in Butte, with her daughter, Janet, by her side sharing this special moment. With increasing age and health issues affecting their independent lives in Connecticut, Iola and her husband, Bill, relocated to Butte in August 2008 to be closer to family.
Born at home in Bon Homme County, S. D., on Aug. 16, 1918, to John H. and Hulda (Voigt) Walkes, Iola was a lifelong South Dakota gal no matter where she lived. The values and experiences instilled by farm life - shepherding two younger brothers while older sister helped in the house, outdoor plumbing and one room schooling, to name a few - created an incredibly hard-working, responsible, practical, honest and reliable woman. Also, the Great Depression significantly shaped Iola's character, and typical of this era, she was thrifty but not tight and appreciated the difference between wanting and needing, something forgotten in the recent age of affluence. She was "green" before it was a lifestyle choice, always having some vegetables and flowers to tend, and loved sharing a meal and conversation with old and new friends around the kitchen table.
Iola graduated from Avon High School in 1936 and went on to cosmetology school in Omaha. She ran her own beauty shop for four years and then moved to Sacramento at the start of World War II, working at McClelland Air Field.
She worked in the secretarial field for most of her life, retiring from the UCONN Extension Office of Litchfield County in 1981. Retirement was short-lived, and Iola continued to fill her days with driving for Meals-on-Wheels, hospital and community volunteerism, letter writing, reading, current events and church positions.
Iola married A. William Lindh in San Francisco and celebrated 61 years together before his death in January 2010. She took care of Bill until the end even though it seemed likely that she would pass first, not he. After their marriage, Iola continued to work while Bill completed his education at the University of California.
"I always wanted twins and God heard me." The family grew with the birth of twin daughters. Iola loved her girls and gave them as many opportunities and support as she could, just as she did later with her one grandchild, who inherited only one of Grandma’s dimples.
Iola was an active member of The First Congregational Church of Litchfield for almost 50 years. She was a woman of strong faith who lived it rather than preached it and there were many individuals and causes that were blessed by her often anonymous, quiet actions; when she saw a need she took care of it, or helped however she could. She was humble, private, and a remarkably gracious, sweet and kind lady. When pressed to describe her life, Iola offered the following thought: "I felt good that I looked out for other people besides myself."
Iola was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Bill; brothers, Harold and Clayton Walkes; brother-in-law, Ben Krug; and nephew, Clinton Krug. Survivors include her daughters Janet Lindh of Butte (husband, James McDonald; sister-in-law, Sister Mary J, McDonald); Chantal Lindh of New York City; grandson, Tolliver Hart of Seattle; sister, Helen Krug of Tyndall, S.D.; sisters-in-law, Dorothy Walkes of Tyndall, S.D., and Iola Walkes of Sioux Falls, S.D.; and numerous nieces and nephews across the country.
It's impossible to thank everyone who was involved in Iola's care these past few years and who provided support to her family. Trust that you are remembered and we wish that you will be fortunate to find solace in a similar fashion when the need arises. There are many quiet angels in the world and we have lost one with Iola's passing. The Lindh family would like to express their heartfelt thanks to the entire Marquis Vintage Suites staff for the compassionate, exemplary care Iola received while a resident there, especially most recently her Transition Unit CNAs. The personal concern, tenderness and ultimately, love shown during Iola's last few days gives meaning to the life process and reflects the true goodness in people - people who were once strangers but became family and shared in Iola's final journey. We are so incredibly grateful to you for this gift. Sincere thanks are also offered to Dr. Yates, Highlands Hospice and friends near and far.
Per Iola's wishes, cremation has taken place. A memorial service and celebration for Iola and Bill will be held at the First Congregational Church, Litchfield, Conn., at a future time, with internment to follow. Memorial contributions can be made in Iola's name to Butte Special Riders, Habitat for Humanity or the Butte Food Bank.