A Mass of Christian Burial was held for Virginia Hermanson, age 98, on Thursday, August 31, 2023 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Milford. Burial was at Riverside Cemetery in Spencer, Iowa.
Virginia Jane (Stillman) Hermanson passed peacefully from this world surrounded by her family on August 28, 2023. Born December 4, 1924, Mom was the 6th of 7 children of Charles and Mary (Ryan) Stillman of Emmetsburg, Iowa. Some of Mom’s fondest memories were of growing up on the family’s Century Farm near Five Island Lake with her siblings. While in high school, she began working at Iowa Trust and Savings Bank in Emmetsburg, a job she referred to as “like going to a party every day” because she loved her co-workers and the bank customers so much. In 1947, she married Richard Hermanson of Ruthven, Iowa and they moved to a farm near Terril, Iowa where they would farm for 32 years. Mom was a hard-working and dedicated farm wife and homemaker. She loved to garden, would often run errands for Dad to pick up parts for equipment on the farm, and fed lots of farm helpers at her kitchen table over the years. Together, they raised three daughters. Mom was active in 4-H in her youth and later as an adult club leader of the Lloyd Lucky Lassies 4-H club. In the treasury of our family lore is the story of Mom’s blue ribbon cinnamon rolls that she demonstrated making at the Iowa State Fair in 1942 while in high school. Not only did she win the blue ribbon, but more importantly to our family history, she won the heart of Dick Hermanson through that experience! In 1971, Mom was named Homemaker of the Year in Dickinson County by the county extension service.
In 1979, Mom and Dad built a home in Milford and moved off the farm and into town. Mom loved being only four blocks from her beloved St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. She walked up to morning Mass every day and she was active in church activities, serving numerous funeral luncheons, teaching CCD, and helping with the Rosary and Altar Society. Mom loved living so close to Lake Okoboji. Her summers were full of “lunching with friends” around the lakes, and gift shopping while the summer season was in full swing as well as hosting friends and family who would come to enjoy the lakes region for a few days. She enjoyed attending the Okoboji Summer Theatre and she served on the boards of YMCA Camp Foster as well as the Dickinson County Care Facility.
Mom was the heart of our family; she loved us well, with a kind and generous heart full of gentle pride. Family was of primary importance to her, starting with her parents and siblings, including her nieces and nephews (each of whom was her favorite!) and her own three girls and later her grandchildren and great grandchildren. We will always remember her singing to us when we visited “I love you, a bushel and a peck”. Mom’s final purification was the Alzheimer's Disease she endured with dignity and grace. In 2010 she moved to Des Moines to be closer to family and was well cared for by the staff at Arbor Springs in West Des Moines. A special heartfelt thank you to all of them, especially Sarah Stanisz who was a true guardian angel to Mom in her final years.
Surviving are her daughters, Barb (Larry) Schlawin of Sycamore, IL, Jane Hermanson of Denver, CO and Sue (the Hon. Patrick) Smith of Des Moines, IA. Nine grandchildren will cherish her memory: Kurt (Kory) Schlawin of Muscatine, IA, Craig (Katherine) Schlawin of Rockford, IL, Fr. Nicholas Smith of Des Moines, IA, Madeleine Smith of Columbus, OH, Noah Smith, nSJ of St. Paul, MN, Elizabeth, Cecilia, Veronica and Andrew Smith all of Des Moines. Four great-granddaughters will also remember her with love: Kristen, Katherine, Kara, and Kamryn Schlawin of Muscatine. One great-grandson, arriving in October, will be watched over with love from above as he makes his entry into the world. Steve and LaDonna Hansen became a very special part of our family when they started farming with Mom and Dad in 1976 and took over the operations in 1979.
Preceding Mom in death was her husband of 58 years, Richard Hermanson, her parents CJ and Mame Stillman, her six siblings (we imagine all of them happily reunited once again), Verona Stillman, Laura Stillman Marcolini, Charles Stillman, William Stillman, Ruth Stillman Talenti, and Philip Stillman. Nephews Paul Marcolini and Chuck Stillman also preceded her in death as well as her niece (and goddaughter), Marsha Stillman.
Turner Jenness Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.