Gladys Moranville, 1921-2014

Gladys, 1938
Gladys Moranville, 1938

A memorial service was held Tuesday, Dec. 23, at 11 am at First United Methodist Church in Jefferson for Gladys Moranville. The Rev Julie Poulsen offered words of comfort. Soloist will be Danille Curtis.

Memorial contributions may be made in Gladys’s name to Grace United Methodist Church in Des Moines, where she was a longtime member.

Services were arranged by Slininger-Rossow Funeral Home of Jefferson.

Gladys was born on a farm near Jefferson in Greene County, IA, on Feb. 15, 1921, the daughter of Anna (Cox) Monthei and Albert Monthei. She grew up on the farm with her older brother Fred and her younger brothers Bane and Wayne. She was educated in a one-room schoolhouse until she attended Jefferson High School, graduating in 1938.

Upon graduation, Gladys left the farm at the age of 17 to attend secretarial college in Omaha, where she worked at the luncheon counter at the Brandeis store downtown. During her 20s, she held a variety of positions, working as a ticket agent for Greyhound Van Lines in Ames at the Sheldon Hotel and later at the depot in downtown Des Moines.

In 1944, her beloved older brother, Captain Fred A. Monthei, was killed in action as he piloted a mission over Yugoslavia.

During her late 20s and early 30s, she continued to work for Greyhound Van Lines, which allowed her to travel often with friends and her parents. Her trips included a cruise that stopped in Haiti as well as pre-Castro Cuba; she and a girlfriend also took a bus trip from Des Moines to Mexico City. On a trip to New York City, a fortuneteller told her, “You will marry someone you have known all your life.”

In August, 1955, she married Douglas Moranville; indeed, she had known him much of her life. Gladys and Doug had graduated from Jefferson High School the same year.

Gladys and Doug started their married life in Cedar Rapids, IA, where they had two daughters, Gretchen and Wini. They moved to Des Moines in 1966, and lived in the “brick house with the yellow door” at 807-63rd Street, where they raised their family, and where Gladys lived until 2010.

Douglas died in 1988; Gladys went on to lead a fulfilling and active life in her senior years. She was a talented bridge and golf player; she volunteered at the hospital, and she attended Grace United Methodist Church. She traveled often; she and her friends took numerous cruises, train, and bus tours. With one or both of her daughters, she traveled to England, China, Italy, Canada, France (twice), California, New Orleans (twice), and San Antonio. On her last trip with her daughters in 2008, she fulfilled her longtime dream of cruising to the Panama Canal.

Although Gladys showed signs of dementia starting around 2006, she continued to live at home and even travel some until she moved to Wesley Acres in 2010. She lived at Wesley until April of 2014, when her daughters made the decision to “bring her home” to Jefferson, and moved her to the Regency Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.  At Regency Park, thanks to the expert and caring staff, she had many good, happy days. Her daughters will always be grateful to the staff—and the residents—who offered love and kindness to their mother during her final decline. She died peacefully on Wednesday, Dec. 17.

She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, and her brothers, Fred, Bane, and Wayne. Left to cherish her memory are her daughters Gretchen Steichen of Eagan, MN, and Winifred Moranville Wolf of Des Moines; sons-in-law Stephen Steichen and David Wolf; grandchildren Jennifer and Geoffrey Steichen; as well as numerous extended family members, including many nieces and nephews who loved their “Aunt Glady.”

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