Gwendoline H. "Gwen" Sieck, 83, passed away peacefully with her family and pastor sharing Bible verses on Friday morning (Nov. 2, 2012).
She was born in Madras, India, on Sept. 25, 1929. Her parents were Frederick Mathews and Helen Pearl Mathews, M.D.
She grew up in British colonial India and earned one of the few seats for Indians in the English schools Doveton-Corrie and Queen Mary's College. Her English was so good that as a child she was an actor on BBC India radio dramas. In 1950, she was the first woman to win the Rotary International
Scholarship for Asia. She was granted full tuition to any school in the world that she would choose. She chose Iowa State University for its programs of getting food grown in the fields, processed and to the table. It was her plan to take that knowledge back to India for food distribution programs. From 1954-1958, she worked in the Indian government in that capacity.
She returned to Iowa State in 1958 to begin work on her graduate degrees. There she met an Iowa farm boy, Lawrence Sieck, who had flown the Hump for the Army Air Corps in China, Burma and India during World War II. His knowledge of India and her ability to help with his statistics homework led to a romance. They were married on May 29, 1960.
Lifelong eye problems prevented her from finishing her graduate studies. The family moved to Rolla, Mo., in 1965, where her husband took a professorship at the University of Missouri-Rolla. She raised her two sons, Eric and Brian, in Rolla. She was widowed in 1985, and then became a New York Life agent. She lived in Rolla until 2006, when she moved to Quincy.
Her family has been Christian since the Apostle Thomas evangelized India. She accepted Jesus Christ as a teenager and faithfully served Him as a believer, volunteer, wife and mother. Her life led her across continents and cultures, and she has now made the final transition to her Father's House. She will be missed.
She is survived by a son, Dr. Eric Sieck and his wife, Debbie, of Quincy; grandchildren, Lauren Sieck of Olathe, Kan., Megan Sieck of Quincy, Erin Sieck of Kansas City, Mo., Alan Sieck of West Lafayette, Ind., and Jacquelyn Sieck of Quincy; a son, Dr. Brian Sieck and his wife, Dr. Sandy Sieck of La Crosse, Wis.; and grandchildren, Derek Sieck of Iowa City, Iowa, Kyle Sieck of Iowa City and Daniel Sieck of La Crosse.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Lawrence Sieck of Rolla, Mo.; her parents, Frederick and Helen Mathews of Madras, India; and her brother, Ronald Mathews of Madras, India.
SERVICES: 6 p.m. Monday in Vermont Street United Methodist Church with the Rev. Dr. Scott Grulke conducting.
VISITATION: 4-6 p.m. Monday in the church.
MEMORIALS: Rotary International.
ARRANGEMENTS: Hansen-Spear Home.
Condolences may be expressed online at www.whig.com