Retha Mae Van Rees

Retha Mae Van Rees

Retha Mae Van Rees
November 14, 1922 – October 15, 2017
Oskaloosa, Iowa | Age 94

Retha Mae Van Rees, 94, of Oskaloosa, went to be with the Lord on October 15, 2017 at the MHP Hospice Serenity House in Oskaloosa. Retha was born November 14, 1922 in Bussey, Iowa the daughter of George LeRoy and Bernice (Williams) Parker.

Retha was raised on the century family farm four miles east of Bussey attending church at Union Liberty, outside of Bussey. She graduated from Bussey High School in 1940.

After high school, Retha moved to Oskaloosa, Iowa, where she worked at the Big Smith Overall Factory. In 1944, she traveled to Drew Army Airfield, Tampa, Florida where she was united in marriage on April 25th to Staff Sargent Robert L. Van Rees, U.S. Army Air Corps. In November, 1944 they moved to Chanute Air Force Base, Rantoul, IL, south of Chicago. While there she worked as office staff for the Base. In September of 1945 they moved back to Oskaloosa. In June of 1946 they purchased their home on 3rd Avenue East, where she remained until 2011, when she moved to Homestead Assisted Living and Memory Care.

All through the years Retha helped care for family members whenever there was a need. After her move to Oskaloosa, she joined the Central United Methodist Church where she taught 1st grade Sunday school for many years, was a member of the United Methodist Women, was on the Pastor-Parish Committee, led and attended bible study groups, and served on almost every committee or board of the church, wherever she was needed. The church was her second home.

Retha was also a member of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary and the King’s Daughters. After her husband passed away in 1992, she became interested in various other groups in Oskaloosa, including Mahaska County meetings, School Board meetings, the Iowa Electrical Retirees, and the Republican Party of Iowa, the latter in which she was very active.

Retha loved going to William Penn College athletic events and playing cards with friends. After her husband’s retirement, they traveled throughout the United States, spending winters in Texas and Arizona and visiting her grandkids as they moved from Minnesota, to Nebraska, and to Oklahoma. She also loved spending time with family back on the farm of her birth.

Those left to cherish her memory include her daughter, Kathleen (& Thomas) Hayes of Hudson, WI; grandchildren: Joel (& Rachel) Hayes of Austin, TX and Taman (& Temujin) Roach of Farmington, MN; great-grandsons: Timur, Turner, and Tarek Roach; great-granddaughter, Lilian Rees Hayes; brother, Hubert Parker of Bussey; and many other family members and friends.

Retha was preceded in death by her husband, Robert; her parents; and her siblings: Herbert (& Gail) Parker, Rita (& Wayne) Smith, and Patricia Ann Parker in infancy.

Funeral Services will be held Friday, October 20, 2017 at 10:00 am in the Bates Funeral Chapel in Oskaloosa with Reverend Bruce Wittern officiating.
Burial will follow in the Forest Cemetery.
Visitation will begin Thursday October 19, 2017, after 12:00 with the family present from 5:00 to 7:00 to greet friends and family at Bates Funeral Chapel.
Memorials may be made to Central United Methodist Church or the Union Liberty Church.

To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Retha Mae Van Rees please visit the Bates Funeral Chapel Sympathy Store.



Posted by on Oct 16 2017. Filed under Obituaries. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed


Search Archive

Search by Date
Search by Category
Search with Google
Log in | Copyright by Oskaloosa News