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Virginia (Snethen) Sponsler

Place of Service
Memorial Service-Humeston, Iowa
Christian United Methodist Church

Time of Service
Saturday, March 2, 2013
10:00 a.m.

Officiated By
Pastor Dale O'Connell

Place of Visitation
Slade-O'Donnell Funeral Home
Leon, Iowa

Time of Visitation
A Gathering for Family & Friends
will be Friday, March 1 from 7-8 p.m.

Green Bay Cemetery
Wayne County, Iowa

Virginia (Snethen) Sponsler

Jun. 7, 1924 - Feb. 18, 2013

Virginia Sponsler was born June 7, 1924 to Grant and Mary Snethen in Grand River, Iowa and died February 18, 2013 near Tehachapi, California. The oldest of seven children, she grew up in a 480 square foot house without electricity, running water, or insulation on a small farm near Blythedale, Missouri. Despite its limitations this house was a center of neighborhood hospitality and later, Virginia could remember few times when the family was not joined for dinner by friends or neighbors. Hardly feasts - Virginia first ate beef at age 12 after the family cow broke its leg on an icy pond - these twinned privations and open hospitality undoubtedly contributed to Virginia's life-long habits of thrift, industry, and friendship.

At age five, alone but for instructions to cross the field and turn right at the creek, and assured that she would see the school over the next rise, Virginia began her education in a one-room country schoolhouse, continuing it there until she moved to Lamoni to attend high school.

In Lamoni, Virginia also attended and graduated from Graceland College, after which she taught at a one-room school and graduated from Iowa State College with a degree in Home Economics.

Following graduation, she interviewed for a job as the Wayne County Iowa Extension Home Economist and was hired despite the urgings of one member of the interview committee, James Sponsler. Despite his recommendations to others, he pursued her for himself, and they were married March 26, 1950.

James had saved nearly all of his war-time pay and with it had purchased a small farm near his birthplace here. Together they set about meeting the challenges of making the operation successful. To Virginia's chagrin, that task began with the trading of her stylish '49 Plymouth coupe for a piece of farming equipment James thought necessary.

Over the next 50 years, Virginia worked hard in and out of the home. She kept the books for the farm, and for a related business they formed to deliver fertilizer to area farmers. She kept a large garden, sold encyclopedias and reported news for the Humeston New Era. She was later its editor, writing Virginia's Corner each week, commenting upon community happenings.

Virginia and James had four children. Grant, in 1951, Joy in 1953, Brian in 1955, and John, in 1966. Virginia was a 4-H leader and a Den Mother. She compiled a large home library and sought out, obtained and used all manners of educational materials to enrich the learning of her children.

Until her final decline following a stroke last summer, Virginia was a woman of vigor and physical strength. In her 70's, she excavated at an archeological dig, at age 80, she could carry a five-gallon bucket of water in each hand, upstairs. She studied and implemented natural diets and remedies throughout her life, and she outlived a doctor's prognosis by nearly twenty years. She had a sharp mind and a remarkable memory and enjoyed playing the piano and researching family history.

Virginia was an open and hospitable lady. She introduced herself easily and sought to be helpful in any gathering. Her genuine interest in others and its resulting hospitality was never feigned.

Virginia was a member of the Yorel Study Club, the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Methodist Church.

Following James' death, Virginia moved to Tehachapi, California and greatly enriched the lives of her children and grandchildren there.

Virginia was predeceased by her parents, brother Richard, her husband James, and their son Grant. She is survived by her daughter Joy Moore and son-in-law Thomas Moore of Joplin, MO, son Brian and daughter-in-law Cathy Sponsler of Tehachapi, CA, and son John Sponsler of Kansas City, MO. Eight grandchildren: Sarah Moore Haynes and husband Bob, Joseph Moore, Mary Moore, James Sponsler, Joseph Sponsler, Molly Sponsler, Dan Sponsler, and Frank Sponsler, one great-grandson, Logan Haynes, 3 sisters: Margaret Gibson, Norma Ward and husband Hugh and Ina Myrick, 2 brothers: Earl Snethen and Tom Snethen and wife Cher, sisters-in-1aw: Betty Hindes and Muriel Sponsler, Brothers-in-law: John Sponsler and wife Virginia, Joe Sponsler and wife Phyllis, Aunts: Esther Gorden, Maxine Snethen, and Helen Kellison.

Memorials may be given to the Humeston Public Library.

[Print Obituary]


Condolences  [PDF]

  • Wally & Mary Roper
    Feb. 28, 2013

    Tom & Cher, Our sympathy and prayers for you and your family.  Your sister sounds like she was an amazing person, certainly left our world a better place. 

  • Mary Ellen Stanley
    Feb. 25, 2013

    I'll be out of town Thursday through Saturday for Rotary training and unable to attend either the visitation or the memorial service. Virginia was a delightful person and very near and dear to me. I always enjoyed her Christmas letter and missed hearing from her this year. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Bonnie Dawson Krudis
    Feb. 23, 2013

    I send my prayers and warm thoughts to the Virgina Sponsler family. I got to know her through our shared interest of genealogy and living nearby in California.. We are related (through marriage) to my grandmother Nora Hedges' grandmother, Christina Snethen.. Virginia and I planned a genealogy trip later this year to track down a wagon train e3nding north of Sacramento, whch sadly will now never happen. She was a wonderful lady who attended the Boswell Lamoni reunion with me two years ago. I will miss her.


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