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Leola Hawthorne


Published: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 10:26 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 2:41 p.m. CDT

Leola Hawthorne, 98, of Creston died July 13, 2014, at Prairie View Assisted Living.

Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Thursday, July 17, at Pearson Family Funeral Service, 809 W. Montgomery St. The Rev. Jim Morris and the Rev. Bill Briley will officiate. Interment will be in Graceland Cemetery. Open visitation will be 1 to 8 p.m. Wednesday with family present 6 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home. Memorials may be given to the family to be determined at a later date. Online condolences may be left at www.pearsonfuneralhomes.com.

Leola Maxine (Neill) Birt Hawthorne, daughter of Edna Furn (Cline) and Ralph Edward Neill, was born Jan. 29, 1916, on a farm in rural Adams County near Mount Etna.

Leola grew up on the farm. As a young girl she attended Hiland Church with her family and was baptized there. Through eighth grade she went to Hunter School. While attending Corning High School, she also worked at Parkers Jewelry Store.

On Jan. 24, 1937, Leola married Erwin Frank Birt.

They lived on a farm north of Prescott until 1944 when they sold everything and moved to California. They lived there about nine months before moving back to Prescott, where they bought an 80-acre farm north of Prescott. In 1954, they bought a larger farm three miles north of Prescott. That is where the family lived until 1965 when they retired from farming and moved to Creston.

Leola was a housewife and homemaker.

Leola was a member of the First United Methodist Church and ladies afternoon circle in Creston. She was an active member of the Order of Eastern Star in Prescott, and received her 50-year member pen in 2009. When the Prescott chapter closed, she transferred her membership to the Vesta Chapter in Corning. She also belonged to the White Shrine of Jerusalem in Creston.

Erwin died May 14, 1984.

On Oct. 28, 1984, Leola married Cleo Hawthorne at the First United Methodist Church in Creston.

In March 2008, they sold their home on New York Avenue and moved to Regency Park in Creston. In April of this year they moved to Prairie View Assisted Living.

Leola is survived by her husband Cleo Hawthorne of Creston; son Robert (wife Connie) Birt of Essex; daughter Patricia Vrieze of Waukee; 10 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; brother- and sister-in-law, Duane and Rowlene Birt of Prescott; stepdaughter Donna Templeton of Atlantic; four step-grandchildren; seven step-great-grandchildren; along with many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

In addition to her first husband, Leola was preceded in death by her parents; son Melvin Birt; granddaughter Sandra Birt; brother and sister-in-law, Loren and Joy Neill; brothers- and sisters-in-law, Bill and Lucille Bradley and Joe and Floss Birt; nieces, Sandra Neill and Carol Larson; nephew Steve Birt; and stepson-in-law Larry Templeton.

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