LaVonne Howland, age 72, passed away on July 1, 2009, at Fort Dodge. 

Velma LaVonne Howland was born on August 21, 1936, at Webster City. She was the daughter of Floyd and Velma (Wertz) Page. LaVonne was educated at country schools in Webster and Humboldt counties and Rolfe High School. On July 24, 1951, she married Roger Howland at Fort Dodge. They made their home in Des Moines, Rolfe, California and Texas before returning to Rolfe in 1966. In 2009, Roger and LaVonne moved to Humboldt. 

LaVonne was a member of the Shared Ministry and the Shared Women. She had been very active in the Presbyterian and Shared Churches over the years, having served as an elder, trustee, Sunday School teacher and held various offices in the church. LaVonne enjoyed quilting, sewing, reading, working crossword puzzles and cake decorating in her spare time. 

Survivors include her husband: Roger; children: Susan (Tony) Richardson of Humboldt, Phyllis (Dave) Carrroll of Zephyr Hills, FL, Rev. Jim (Joyce) Howland of Winterset; grandchildren: Bryan, Wendy, Nicholas, Derek, Angela, Christopher and Michael; three great-grandchildren; sisters: Marlene (Rog) Lindeman of Dakota City, Sharon (Ron) Sutton of St. Louis, MO and Barb Messerly of Fort Dodge; brothers: Max Page of Dakota City, F. Steven (Carol) Page of Fort Dodge, Douglas Page of WI and Jeff Page. 

LaVonne was preceded in death by her parents, grandson, Chad Richardson, sister, Cheryl and brother, Dean. 

Saturday July 4, 2009, 10:30 AM at Shared Ministry of Rolfe

Friday July 3, 2009, 5:00 - 7:00 PM at Powers Funeral Home, Rolfe, IA 

Born: August 21, 1936
Place of Birth: Webster City, IA
Death: July 1, 2009
Place of Death: Fort Dodge, Iowa
Occupation: Homemaker
Hobbies: Quilting, Sewing. Crossword Puzzles

LaVonne Page Howland was a participant in the documentary project that RHS Web site editor, Helen Gunderson (class of 1963), has been doing for the last 20 years about the rural neighborhood where she grew up southwest of Rolfe. The Page family lived in that neighborhood in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Click here for a modified version of a chapter from Helen's yet-to-be-finished book in which LaVonne talks about her farm heritage.

Also, the following are two additional excerpts from an oral history interview that LaVonne did  with Helen in the 1990s.


LaVonne Howland: I can just remember the threshing machine coming twice. When you had them coming to your home, a womanís work was very hard because in a rural area, electricity just plain didnít get there. Towns got it first. There werenít a lot of farms that had electricity because of the fact that it cost a tremendous amount of money, and you paid for it to get to your door. A lot of the farms didnít have it. So you had your wood cookstove, and you had to carry water. You started very early in the morning.

When it came to threshing, the thing I remember is you started carrying the water in right away. You started carrying the wood and the cobs because you had to get things going. You had to get something baked for the lunch in the morning for those threshers, and of course, you didnít have cold cereal for breakfast. I mean, we had breakfast that consisted of pancakes and eggs or things of this sort because of the type of work that was done. Then you got breakfast out of the way as quickly as you could because you had to get in the oven whatever you were going to make for coffee. If it was cake, you had to get it in, get it baked, and get it out because you were feeding several workers at noon, which meant several pies. You had to get the meat going. You had all of this. Then as soon as you had all that figured out, youíve got to figure out what you are going to serve for lunch that afternoon and probably that night for supper. So it was continuous all day long. The same way when the men were in the fields, planting, mowing hay, or whatever. You had to be planning because the type of work they were doing was hard, and they needed something for coffee. At noon, you didnít just have a lunch, you had a full meal, and the same way at night. So you were always carrying in wood, carrying in the cobs, carrying the ashes out, carrying the water in, and such.

The women, from my standpoint, were always cooking. Laundry was done much differently than it is today. The thing I remember is heating the water; you carried it in and heated it. I can remember using the scrub board and then the first washing machine. It ran on kerosene and made this horrible noise, and you stuck an exhaust hose outside to let out the fumes. Then ironing was done with the iron that you set on top of the stove, and you had at least two so you could keep rotating them. I think we had three so that two were hot while one was being used so we could keep them going. The dishes. Running water was just not heard of...

Helen: This was even when you were on the Brinkman farm?

LaVonne: Yes, we did get cold water inside at the north place. I remember the kerosene lamps. Women didnít work outside the home back then, not many anyway. There were a few who were a teacher or a nurse, but the majority were at home. That was a full-time job.


LaVonne: The church has an important role. It gives a rural community a place to come ó to gather together, very much like the old days ó to thank God for the fruits of the year during harvest. Also, it is a place for people to replenish themselves. Things have changed because what people want today and where they put their priorities makes the churchís role more difficult. When our grandfathers were on the farms, the church was first. When you went to town, you went to the church; you went to the quilting bee. The church was the hub. Today, the church is closer to last in importance. We have kind of become mixed up, and yet the church needs to function to help keep peace in the turmoil. People still need that solace. They forget that they need it more than just occasionally, and the church needs to be there to provide it through illnesses, a crisis, the loss of crops, severe weather, hailstorm, and the drought that we experienced.