Lorna Cuddy, 1924 – 2017

Our mom, Lorna Lydia Seeden Cuddy, was born May 19, 1924, to Dick and Hulda Seeden, the middle of three children: Leo, the oldest and Janice her baby sister. Lorna died at age 92, on Monday, April 24, 2017, at Greene County Medical Center in Jefferson, IA.

Dick and Hulda raised their kids on a farm south of Scranton, with Hereford cattle, corn and beans, a healthy egg business and Grandma Huldas’s great garden. Also 100+ cats, in barn, yard and house. It seems they always had a dog named Skippy. Grandpa had a farm hand Chet, who was with them forever, just another family member. The family enjoyed annual visits to the Iowa State Fair. Mom graduated from Bayard High School; Margaret Last and Jessie Haley her classmates and lifelong friends.

Her brother Leo died early in his adult life, October 25, 1954, the last Iowan to die in an iron lung, suffering from polio. Leo was a gentleman farmer who wore a tie in the fields and washed his tractor at the end of each day. He was buried overlooking the farm he worked on, in Greenbrier Cemetery. Mom’s sister Janice also followed the family business, then became a nurse, mother of seven, and incredible cook, as well as a beloved sister.

Mom wanted off the farm. After high school, she moved to Jefferson and worked at Brunner’s Creamery. After a year or so, she moved to San Diego, CA, to work in the war effort and live with her cousins, the Aches, inspired by adventure and Rosie the Riveter.

When Mom moved back to Jefferson and the Creamery, she rented a room in Fred and Hanna Cuddy’s house. Well, you can guess the rest of the story: she met Dad, Jim Cuddy, on leave from the Navy. They were married June 17, 1946, and they rarely left each other’s side again.

She accompanied Dad to Fresno and back, Phoenix and back, moving in the blue homemade trailer with a strategically placed dresser in the back, serving as the kids’ suitcase, all in search of a climate suited to the health needs of those kids. After all that, Dad went into education, and Mom raised us all in several Iowa locations, finally once again ending up in Jefferson.

A few Lorna stories, from her five sons.

Dick: Mom worked at JC Penney for about 20 years in the catalog department, which was great for all of us. I’ll always remember Mom standing behind the counter at JC Penney, outfitting Dad in the latest Towncraft designs. Later in life, as I was pulling out of Jefferson, headed to California with not much of a plan other than mortuary school, Mom, as only she could, said, “What are you going to do, stop at the border and say, ‘Here I am!’?” I don’t think she wanted us to go.

Craig: The stories about Mom staying up all night to help me thru asthma attacks and related challenges when I was young are legendary. After Dick and me, it’s amazing that Mom had the other three boys at all. So, it’s fitting that in the last years I’ve had a big part in taking care of Mom’s personal needs. A little loving payback.

Steve: Mom was always in favor of education to get ahead in life. She wanted all her boys to go to college, get a better job and have the opportunity to do anything they wanted in life. She offered to pay for my tuition at the University of Northern Iowa in 1972. Just $300 paid for my first semester. She supported my first two years of college with her JC Penney income, and some loans from the Mahanay college loan fund, managed by her friend Verna Ball. She always put half her check into a savings account at the Brenton Bank, across from JC Penney, and was a lifelong saver. That early savings compounded over many years to support her for over eight years at The Gardens assisted living home. She loved living “independently” among old friends in her later years.

Mark: Mom was using spin long before the politicians. She always held court with our friends when they came over to the house. From Dick’s pals, Jenson and the Lambert twins; Craig’s group, Richardson, Monthei and Murphy; Steve’s crew, Parker, Kious, Cadden and Unger; mine, McGregor, Wand, Andrusyk and White; Joe’s, Ogs (Mom’s unofficial 6th son), Kundrat, Kious and Raney. I’m talking long conversations while they waited for us. Mom knew more about what was going on in high school than we did. Now, the spin part was to tell one of us that the other said “something”– usually made up, always to further a positive agenda of peace. If you called her on it, she’d just smile and say, “Well, they would say that if you just listened.” Not a bad spin.

Mom was also an amateur doctor. Once I coughed as I was headed out the door to drive with Dad for the day. Mom says, “Stop.” From under the sink, (should have been my first warning) she produced a large green bottle and proceeded to deliver a soothing dose of cough medicine to me by spoon. Except it was Septisol soap from Uncle Norm Rooney. I recoiled, while Dad said, “Hey you’ll be OK, let’s go.” She could do no wrong in his eyes.

Joe: Magic Mom didn’t sleep much. When we came home from school and dropped our gym bag filled with the current sport’s dirty, sweaty clothes, somehow they always returned to the bag by morning, neatly folded and assembled, ready for another day.

Mom obviously was susceptible to one redheaded Irishman’s charm; the dashing officer, back from the war. But in truth, Dad held Mom in the highest regard his whole life. I once threw a ball up in the air and it came down right on Mom’s head. Dad looked at me sternly, and said, “Watch it, you just hit my girlfriend.”

Mom was great with the grandkids, too. But not in a classic sense, like, “I really remember Gram’s warm chocolate chip cookies.” Her sister Janice should get a lifetime achievement award from the baking society, but Mom’s idea of fresh rolls was to hit the can on the edge of the table, and they popped out. Bake 10 minutes, cover with frosting from accompanying pouch. But Grandma gave her grandkids her undivided attention, and her Lorna smile, to let them know early on, they were special.

Granddaughter Melissa’s story: Grandma always had a wet washrag nearby to clean up a dirty face and anything else that needed wiping down. I remember seeing lots of containers with items inside that did not originally come in that container. Often there were snack items available from cottage cheese containers. She loved jars, Tupperware and used yogurt cups. Leftover food was never wasted, but stored and made into casseroles. Sometimes the jars with various snack items in them might be labeled. This culminated in a famous Thanksgiving gravy incident, when the gravy came out and my brother Kyle said, “Grandma, this is really sweet.” Turns out the jar marked “flour” was full of powdered sugar.

Raising five boys was the pride of Mom’s life, and she was endlessly patient with each of us. She loved hearing stories from her children, grandchildren and step-grandchildren about our lives, and her pride in her family was immense.

Mom was the last of Dad’s Cuddy generation, outliving all his siblings and spouses. She enjoyed a special relationship with Helen Rooney and Cecelia Raaz, Dad’s sisters. What a crew: Ann and Earl Day, Vince and Agnes Phillips, Kib and Cecelia Raaz, Ray and Betty Cuddy, Helen and Norm Rooney; a party always ready to happen.

Funeral services were held Saturday, April 29, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Jefferson. Interment was in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery. Memorials were suggested to the St. Joseph Women’s Council.

Lorna was preceded in death by her husband Jim in 2009. She is survived by her five sons: Dick Cuddy (Marge) of The Villages, FL; Craig Cuddy (Susan DeWitt) of Jefferson, IA; Steve Cuddy (Kathy) of Jefferson, IA; Mark Cuddy (Kitty Sheehan) of Hurley, NY; and Joe Cuddy (Susan Timmerman) of Jefferson, IA.

Lorna is also survived by grandchildren Trent (Kele) Cuddy, Chad (Becky) Cuddy, Jena (Jim) Cuddy Stepien, Melissa Cuddy, Zeke Cuddy, Kyle Cuddy, Cooper Cuddy, Hannah Cuddy and Jack Cuddy; step-grandchildren Abby Fellingham, Kristin (Jack) Byer, Brad (Cyndi) Fellingham and Natalie Reppa; and great-grandchildren Grace Cuddy, Adeline Stepien, Quintin Stepien, Morgan Cuddy and Mila Cuddy.

Lorna is also survived by her sister Janice (Jerry) Kennedy of Grand Junction, and other relatives and many friends.

The family was assisted by Slininger-Schroeder Funeral Home of Jefferson.

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