OBITUARY - MARGARET "IRENE" (BUELL) SCHWALBE
Margaret “Irene” (BUELL) SCHWALBE devoted her entire life to teaching school and to her beloved cattle. Widowed in 1947,
Irene nurtured many new-born calves through frigid Iowa storms and every child who passed through her class at Grand Valley
Elementary School. Often, she not only taught the children of her prior pupils but their grandchildren as well. She was the
teacher sought out by those who came back to visit long after their elementary days were mere faint memories. I was one of
Mrs. SCHWALBE’S students on the day President John F. KENNEDY was assassinated. Following is Irene’s obituary:
Margaret Irene SCHWALBE, daughter of Homer and Amy Ellen (DAUGHTON) BUELL, was born May 27, 1914, in Decatur County, Iowa,
and died Aug. 19, 1996, in Mount Ayr Health Care Center in Mount Ayr, Iowa, at the age of 81.
Irene graduated from Grand
River High School in Grand River, Iowa, May 17 1932. She attended Normal Training in Creston, Iowa, and later took classes
at University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
She married Henry “Hank” SCHWALBE on April 24, 1935, at All Saints
Church in Des Moines, Iowa. To this union one son, Richard, was born. Hank died May 1, 1947.
Her long and dedicated
teaching career began in 1932 at Foland School in rural Decatur County. The next three years she spent in Ringgold County
at Sand Creek School, then was a homemaker and helped with the farming. Following her husband’s death, she returned to
teaching at the Woodard School from 1948-1952. She began her thirty years of teaching third grade at Grand River Elementary
School in 1952, retiring in 1982.
Irene was a member of Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church in Grand River.
She enjoyed raising Charolais cattle, which she did until a few years ago. She maintained the farm during her teaching
She was preceded in death by her parents: husband; sister Arlene STOGDILL; brother Virgil BUELL; and
granddaughter-in-law Julie SCHWALBE.
She is survived by her son Richard SCHWALBE [also a long-time vocational
agricultural teacher at Grand Valley High School] and his wife Merna, Grand River; grandson R. Kelly SCHWALBE and wife
Shellie and children Chase, Stefanie, and Victoria of Kansas City, MO; four granddaughters: Lori SCHWALBE, Grand River;
Lisa CAMPBELL and daughter Erin, Des Moines; Julie SCHWALBE and husband Marty KALTON and daughters Lindsey and Kelly Jo,
Newton, Iowa; and Jell MEANS and husband Kent, Cedar Falls; other relatives and friends.
The family has established two memorial funds: the Grand River Meal Site of Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church.
Interment was at Grand River Cemetery, Grand River, Decatur County, Iowa.
Mrs. SCHWALBE & 3 Generation of Students
clockwise from lower left: Kenny HARRISON,
Norma G. (FOLAND) BECKER, and Sheryl K. (BECKER) HARRISON
SOURCE: genealogical clippings of Norma G. (FOLAND) BECKER
photograph albums of Sheryl K. HARRISON
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, 2008
To submit your Ringgold County obituaries, contact Sharon R. Becker at
Please include the word "Ringgold" in the subject line. Thank you.
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