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Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, July 25, 2013

OBITUARY ~ NARCISSUS "LAVON" (BURCHETT) THOMAS
May 1, 1913 ~ July 21, 2013

Lavon Thomas, of Mount Ayr, IA, died after a short illness on July 21, 2013 at Mercy Hospice in Johnston. Narcissus Lavon, named for her grandmother, was born to William and Mary Scott (RICHARDSON) BURCHETT on May 1, 1913 in rural Ringgold County, IA, and was welcomed by four older brothers, Charles, Hugh, Cleo, and Howard BURCHETT. At the age of five, her family moved from the farm into the town of Kellerton. She attended Kellerton Schools graduating in 1931. That summer she enrolled in a normal training course in Red Oak and earned a teaching certificate.

Her parents moved back to the farm to try to save it from foreclosure, and she taught near there at Shady Grove country school. Shortly after her mother's sudden death in 1932, she stopped teaching and began keeping house for her father. She met and fell in love with Donald THOMAS and they were married on March 18, 1936. The stories of their courtship and marriage are some of the family's favorites.

Lavon and Donald lived near Hatfield, MO, and Ellston, IA before moving to their farm south of Mount Ayr where they raised their three daughters. Lavon loved being a farm wife and mother and was never too busy to miss a Saturday night in Mount Ayr, church on Sunday, neighborhood club meeting, card parties with friends or an opportunity to put on her high heels and go to a dance or perform with the Ringgold Singers. She was a member of the Rebekah Lodge and the First Christian Church. When her daughters became older she worked part time in the Ben Franklin Store and then at the Shamrock Café.

After Donald's death in 1980, she enjoyed traveling by bus with groups of friends from Bethany and Mount Ayr.

Survivors include daughters and sons-in-law Judy and Jerry LEE of Ankeny, Jinny TAGATZ of Des Moines, and Jill and Gary DAVIS of Des Moines; granddaughters Traci ROSS, Jennifer (Jim) CAMPBELL, Elizabeth STEPHENSON, Nicole ROSS, Teresa HUTCHINSON and Carrie (Jim) SUNDERMAN; great-grandchildren Jessica, COLE and Blake HULETT, Miranda (Shawn) HETRICK, Jeran GILGE, Jacob and Jack CAMPBELL, Chantel YOUNG, Brenna, Taylor and Emily STEPHENSON, Ashley WEIR, Danielle WOLINSKEI, Jo STEPHENS, Brianna HUTCHINSON and Jadyn SUNDERMAN; great-great-grandchildren Hayden KOCH, Holden RETTLER and Maybeline HULETT; sister-in-law Helen BRANT; nieces Joy PIERSON, Marguerite HECKER, Goldie WILKERSON and Vickie CROCKETT; as well as great-nieces and nephews, cousins, neighbors and friends.

Despite living through some of the most difficult times in this country, the stories Lavon told of her life were never about hardship but were all about fun – being spoiled by four older brothers, living a charmed childhood in Kellerton, enjoying her first away-from-home experience at normal school, riding her horse to her teaching job, flirting with, courting and marrying Donald, picking and packing fruit in Oregon and California, driving mud roads in Model A's, raising three daughters, entertaining the granddaughters and great-grandchildren, gathering for family reunions and savoring deep friendships.

Lavon maintained her own household in Mount Ayr until moving nearer her daughters in Des Moines this past October. She enjoyed a full and healthy life and was blessed to be able to celebrate her 100th birthday with many relatives and friends this past May.

A memorial fund has been established to the Christian Women's Fellowship (CWF) at the First Christian Church.

Watson-Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr is in charge of the arrangements.

Services will be held at the First Christian Church in Mount Ayr on Thursday, July 25, 2013, at 2 p.m. with Rev. Chris CONKLIN oficiating. Pianist will be Nancy SACKETT.

Casket bearers are Jack CAMPBELL, Jacob CAMPBELL, Jim CAMPBELL, Blake HULETT, Cole HULETT and Jim SUNDERMAN.

Burial will be in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Mount Ayr.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, September of 2013

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