Ethel P.M. Mardesen
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Funeral services for Ethel P.M. Mardesen, 98, were conducted by Vicar Rory Phillips on Monday, Dec. 6, 2010 at 2 p.m. at the Exira Lutheran Church in Exira. Interment was in the Exira Cemetery in Exira. The casket bearers were her great-grandchildren Matthew Bjorn, Sarah Lindsay, Briana Lunn, Whitney Lunn, Jessica Hare, Melissa Schuler, Ashley Schuler, Amanda Oxley, Ryan Oxley, Lyndsey Oxley, Samantha Oxley, Brittney Bjorn, Katie Bjorn, Andy Bjorn, and Jason Nelson. The Kessler Funeral Home in Exira was in charge of the arrangements.
Ethel P.M. Mardesen, the daughter of Peter and Maggie Smith Jessen, was born June 16, 1912, at her parents' home in rural Audubon County near Exira, and died Dec. 3, 2010, at the Exira Care Center in Exira, Iowa at the age of 98 years, 5 months, and 17 days.
Ethel was baptized and confirmed at St. John's Lutheran Church west of Exira. She attended rural school west of Exira and attended the Exira High School. Ethel then worked for several neighborhood families.
On July 20, 1933, she was united in marriage to Lawrence H. Hocamp at St. John's Lutheran Church in rural Adair, east of Exira. Two daughters Donna and Opal were born to this union. They operated a farm northwest of Exira. Lawrence died on Jan. 23, 1947. Ethel then was employed as a housekeeper for several families and later worked at the Exira Creamery.
On Jan. 7, 1950, Ethel married Leo F. Mardesen at the Exira Lutheran Church in Exira. They farmed south of Brayton, then purchased a farm east of Exira. They raised livestock and grew grain. Ethel always had a large vegetable and fruit garden and raised chickens. Ethel and Leo enjoyed traveling both within the United States and internationally. They operated the farm until they retired and moved into Exira. Leo died Feb. 18, 1991. Ethel enjoyed living at home until she moved to the Exira Care Center in January of 2007.
Ethel was a member of the Exira Lutheran Church and was a member of the Ladies Circle. She loved to dance, especially the Polka. She never missed a bingo game and also enjoyed playing cards. She loved being involved with her family especially all the activities of her grandchildren.
Ethel was preceded in death by her two husbands Lawrence H. Hocamp and Leo F. Mardesen; her parents; and her three brothers and four sisters.
She is survived by her daughters Donna Bjorn of Atlantic, and Opal and husband Donald Nelson of Hamilton, Texas; her step-son Ross Mardesen of Elk Horn, her grandchildren Rebecca and husband Steve DePauw of Spencer, Rick and wife Jinnohn Bjorn of Lincoln, Neb., Mary and husband Allen Oxley of Papillion, Neb., Bradley and wife Carrie Bjorn of Pinellas Park, Fla., Jeff Nelson, Doug Nelson, and Chris Nelson all of Texas; 15 great-grandchildren, 11 great-great grandchildren; her step-grandson Chad and wife Teresa Mardesen of Omaha, Neb., two step-great- grandchildren; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Published in AUDUBON COUNTY ADVOCATE JOURNAL from Dec. 7 to Dec. 17, 2010