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Thyrza Faye (Hackert) Steward, age 89, of Pella, died March 29, 2018. The daughter of Henry and Sarah (Van Zee) Hackert, Thyrza was born on March 4, 1929, at the family home near Leighton, Iowa. An older sister, Edythe, welcomed her home. Thyrza spent her childhood on their farm where they raised turkeys, silver fox, and operated a hatchery. Thyrza’s farm chores included: skinning horses that were then used to feed their foxes; hauling feed to turkeys by a wagon pulled by Jack and Jill (two mules); and traying eggs by the thousands. She and her sister, Edythe (Hackert) Fleener enjoyed driving around in their father’s 1914 Model T Touring Car. Thyrza graduated from Pleasant Grove Country School and was a 1946 graduate of Oskaloosa High School. She attended Central College and the University of Iowa.
On April 13, 1949, she married Thomas E. Steward, son of Glenn and Gladys (Wesseling) Steward. Thyrza was employed at her family’s Hackert Locker Plant and Allied Gas and Chemical Plant in Oskaloosa until she and Tom welcomed their three daughters: Tomi Sue, Tricia Lea, and Teri Lyn. The family moved to Pella in 1960, where Tom was employed as a salesman at Rolscreen Company (Pella Windows). Tom’s job at Rolscreen Company required frequent sales trips that lasted two weeks at a time. In his absence, Thyrza’s strength and independence was a gift to her family. She was very proud of Tom’s accomplishments and embraced her role in managing their home. Thyrza and Tom had many close friends and enjoyed years of square dancing, dinner clubs, golf and card games. Bridge was one of Thyrza’s passions. She was a competitive and highly skilled bridge player.
Thyrza cherished time with family and friends. She treasured sharing delicious meals and often hosted extended family members overnight on Christmas Eve! All felt loved and welcomed in her home. Family vacations to Arkansas with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were a highlight of each summer. As the family grew, she enjoyed supporting everyone’s activities. Thyrza was an avid sports fan and enthusiastic supporter of both Pella High and Central College. She especially enjoyed following her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in their athletics and school events. She was named the Fan of the Game at the Boys’ State Basketball Tournament two different years for the Pella High Little Dutch.
Thyrza was a faithful active member of First Baptist Church. She served as the financial secretary, Sunday school teacher and willing volunteer where ever she was needed. She enthusiastically served in numerous organizations such as: TTT; PEO; Women’s Club as the organizer of the Tulip Time Province volunteers, (organizing both the on stage and float participants); and served as a Campfire leader. She also was a gifted seamstress and made clothes for her girls and later her grandchildren.
Thyrza was preceded in death by her loving husband, Tom; her parents; a grandson Jason Thomas Klein; brother-in-law Jack Fleener; and brothers and sister-in-law: Mary (Steward) Hanna; Charles Smith; and Paul Gregson.
Those left to honor Thyrza are her three daughters and their families. They include:
Tomi and Kevin Klein of Lincoln, Nebraska
Joe and Jamie Klein – Roca, Nebraska
Bailey, Devin, Dakota, Brody
Dusty and Jody Klein – Fort Calhoun, Nebraska
Tristen, Korbin, Sydney
Kodi (Klein) and Tyson Moore – Atlanta, Georgia
Emerson, Cameron, Griffin
Tricia and Mike Ballenger of Pella, Iowa
Josh Ballenger and fiancée Kimi Lupercio – Playa Del Ray, California
Luke and Alex Ballenger – Clive, Iowa
Beckam, Meyer, Sloane
Teri and Alan Buitenwerf of Pella, Iowa
Jeff and Loretta Buitenwerf – Garner, Iowa
Jaci (Buitenwerf) and Neil Johnke – Hastings, Minnesota
Thyrza is also survived by her sister Edythe Fleener of Oskaloosa, Iowa, and sisters-in-law: Martha (Steward) Smith of Mitchellville, Maryland; Mildred (Steward) Slack of Newton, Kansas; and Marilyn (Steward) Gregson of Olympia, Washington.
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