In Memory of

LaVonne Winterboer

May 18, 1925 - March 13, 2018
From: Spencer, IA | Originally: Everly, IA
LaVonne Winterboer

LaVonne Winterboer

Born: May 18, 1925
Died: March 13, 2018
Age: 92

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     Hattie LaVonne Winterboer, the daughter of Clayton and Esther (Falline) Cobb, was born May 18, 1925.  They lived on a farm southwest of Webb, Iowa for many years, moving to the Sioux Rapids area in 1941.  LaVonne attended Garfield-Webb school for eleven years, graduating from Sioux Rapids High School in 1942.  LaVonne worked three years in Spencer at the Clay County National Bank before her marriage.

     LaVonne married Herman Winterboer on December 19, 1948 in Sioux Rapids, IA. They lived on a farm north of Everly where she enjoyed being a housewife, mother, and farmer’s partner.

   She taught Sunday School, Bible School, and was a Youth Leader at First Reformed Church in rural Everly for many years.  She also served in various capacities in the Ladies Aid.  She then became a member of Hope Lutheran Church in Everly where she was active in Women of Hope.  Most recently, she was a member of Hope Reformed Church in Spencer.

   For many years, she was a member of the Clay County Cowbelles, Waterford Wonder Workers, and Farm Bureau Women of Clay County serving in several capacities including County Chairman.  She was also a girls’ 4-H leader for over ten years.  In later years, she enjoyed volunteering in the school reading program, R.S.V.P. and reading at St. Lukes.

   LaVonne was the longest living cancer survivor in Clay County having survived fifty-nine years.  She was an inspiration and advocate for others dealing with cancer. 

   She passed away at Spencer Hospital on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at the age of 92.  LaVonne was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Herman and a sister, Nellie.

     Left to cherish her memory are three sons and their wives: Clayton and Carol of Carroll, IA, Cedric and Marilyn of Spencer, IA and Charles and Jean of Adel, IA; six grandchildren: Allison (Jeremy) Howard, Matthew (Tammy) Winterboer, Chad (Amanda) Winterboer, Charity (Brian) Mueggenberg, Erin (Mike) Beckerink, Chris (Missy) Winterboer, fourteen great-grandchildren; other relatives and many friends.

LaVonne’s Cancer Story


On a Sunday evening in February, 1959, my husband and I and our three little boys (ages 6, 7, & 9) were sharing some goodnight hugs. We had a good Sunday attending Sunday school and worship at our little country church and had shared family time in our happy home. As my three sons gave me goodnight hugs, one of them bumped his head hard against my breast. I felt something unusual so I checked my breast and asked Herman to feel where I had felt the pain. Something wasn’t right. Herman agreed with me that it felt like a pea under the flesh at the edge of the nipple of my left breast. We both immediately gasped, “Could it be? No, it couldn’t!” We knew little about cancer at that time. We did agree though that we should go check with the doctor in the morning.

          The next morning as soon as chores were done and the three little boys were off to school, my husband and I went into Spencer to check things out with our good friend, Dr. Lyle Frink. After some examination, his advice to us was to have that little foreign substance removed and evaluated. He explained that it would probably be benign, but there was a chance it could be malignant. He felt we should know which it was as soon as possible for my emotional health.

          Therefore, he called the hospital and found I could be admitted the following evening and he could use the operating room on Wednesday morning to remove the little pea-sized mass and find out whether it was friend or foe! Knowing we wanted results as soon as possible, Dr. Frink allowed friends of ours to travel to Sioux City with the specimen to have it tested.

          Later in the afternoon Herman stopped in to see how I was doing and I sensed he was nervous about what the verdict might be. Later he and Dr. Frink came in together. Herman stood on one side of the bed holding my hand and Dr. Frink sat on the other side of the bed. As I looked at one and then the other, I knew what doctor was going to report. It was in their faces!

          Dr. Frink started out by telling me I could choose between Rochester, MN, or Iowa City for the next stage of my life. Yes, that little pea thing that had invaded my breast was malignant.

          After swallowing difficulty and a brief rinsing off of my face with tears in my eyes, I informed doctor that I didn’t want to go to Rochester or Iowa City but wanted the surgery right here in Spencer performed by him. He explained to me it would be a very radical surgery with glands and some muscle tissue under the arm pit and with many nerves being removed. He went on to say that he had never done this surgery, but had only observed it at Rochester. Only after I insisted that I had faith in his ability, he called Mayo Clinic and was encouraged by staff there that he could do it. The radical mastectomy was then scheduled for Friday morning.

          On Thursday Dr. Frink ordered an afternoon pass for me so I could go home and do a few things in preparation for a one to two week hospital recovery period. I also had an opportunity to tell my three little boys bye and assure them I would be back with them as soon as possible. That was the really hard part of the journey I was to take; however, I knew Herman and family would take good care of them. I needed them and they need me! But, now we needed to pray for a successful surgery. My assurance to myself was my beloved song, “God Will Take Care of You.”

          The surgery was over! Dr. Frink was exhausted! Herman was an emotional wreck! I hurt! Now we had to wait as all the removed tissue was sent to Iowa City to be thoroughly evaluated to determine if the cancer had already invaded deeper into my body. We didn’t have all the other alternative treatments for cancer back then that we have today.

          I spent ten painful days in the hospital shedding tears for my husband and sons in case the report came back with bad news…tears for missing my three little guys so much….tears for the pain…..emotional tears for my scarred body!

          The day before I was released from the hospital Dr. Frink came with the NEWS! Flash! What surgery had taken from me was cancer-free and I was now to concentrate on healing my body.

          During the recovery period in the hospital I met an angel. As I say there were tearful days and early in the course of that part of my journey someone peeked around the curtain around my bed. He gently said, “Why are you crying?” He introduced himself and I told him what all was troubling me. He comforted me and prayed for me and continued visiting every day I was there. He became my guardian angel! We kept in touch for several years, even after he and his family had moved to South Dakota. Even then I heard from his family at Christmas for several more years. He was Pastor Leo Miller from the Assembly of God Church. Yet, today I praise God for that special angel he sent me in time of special need.

          The return home to my three little boys was very emotional. Physically I was exhausted and after losing a lot of blood during surgery I was very low on iron and vitamin B. So we concentrated on building those up to normal levels for the next year. My emotional health was fragile, but my husband and three little boys healed those scars with their love and support. Friends supported with caring and praying. Sometimes I grumbled and complained, but always ended up thanking God for my life.

          Every year for five years Dr. Frink took chest x-rays to confirm that everything was still clear. Then we gradually had the chest x-rays and check-ups further apart until about 25 years and then Dr. Frink felt I was safe! He felt time had been of the essence. Remember you have heard it before and I remind you again – early detection is vitally important!

          I am amazed how much progress has been made in detection and treatment for cancer in the past fifty years. My big question is why do so many people get it? What really causes it? But we have hope if we remember, “God is Our Dwelling Place.” It is “Under His Wings” that we find refuge. God’s faithfulness is our constant shield. Security can be yours in God’s promise that He will be with us in trouble. When troubled, I find comfort in Psalm 91. It gives me an overwhelming sense of awe and wonder at God’s continual provisions for us.

          My heart aches for anyone here who has just discovered they have cancer or are fighting it now. Those who are survivors I hope you overcome! May you be able to celebrate as my family is now. Fifty years ago I wasn’t sure I would see this day, but here I am. My three little boys are men who now look after mama! I thank and praise God that I saw them graduate from school, college, get married, raise families and become empty nesters. God has blessed me with six grandchildren and their spouses. They have all graduated college, married and the blessings continue with twelve great grand children and another arriving this fall.

Funeral services will be held 10:30 A.M., Friday, March 16, 2018 at the Hope Reformed Church in Spencer.
Pastor Russell Muilenburg
Chad & Amanda Winterboer
Erin & Mike Beckerink
Chris & Missy Winterboer
Charity & Brian Mueggenberg
Allison & Jeremy Howard
Matthew & Tammy Winterboer
Visitation will begin 5:00 P.M., Thursday, March 15th with the family present from 5 to 7:00 P.M., Thursday Evening at the Warner Funeral Home in Spencer.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be designated to the Haiti Fund at Hope Reformed Church or to the Abben Cancer Center in Spencer.
"I Can Only Imagine"
Recorded by Christina Mueggenberg

"In The Garden"
"Precious Lord, Take My Hand"
By Charles Winterboer

"How Great Thou Art"

Ray Meyer
First Reformed Cemetery
Rural Everly, Iowa
1:30 P.M., Friday, March 16, 2018
Following the lunch at the church.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at 12:21 PM
“i will miss her love and she nice tow me i coud be at ”
- DOUG Somers
Sunday, March 25, 2018 at 11:26 AM
“So sorry for your loss. Thank you for posting LaVonne's cancer story. ”
- Sue Biederman
Saturday, March 17, 2018 at 12:05 PM
“So sorry for your earthly loss! I enjoyed being her neighbor and we had some good times together! She was a great person and enjoyed living on the farm. God bless her family as you heal and know she is in a good place and she loves you all! ”
- Jim and Nancy Hartmann
Saturday, March 17, 2018 at 7:46 AM
“LaVonne, was a gracious blessing to so many of us. An inspiration with the love grace and mercy of God shared with all. I believe we will one day be together again. May you find strength, comfort, and peace knowing she is "home" and has left you with much love and memories! Our God is Great and Faithful may you all feel his presence in this time of loss. Joy”
- Joy (Bishop) Cole
Friday, March 16, 2018 at 8:04 AM
“Sorry to hear of Lavonne’s passing, I will miss her Christmas letter updating me about her precious family - we have corresponded for 60 years. I am Wanda Spiess Hollenbeck - my Mother lived with the Cobb ‘s. We loved them and felt they were our Grandparents. I spent many sleepovers in their home and also later with Herman and Lavonne. After marriage we would visit Lavonne in Spencer when we came back to visit my parents, Russel & Frances Spiess and my husbands’s Mom, Leota Hollenbeck. I am so thankful for the memories and blessed to have known her.

Wayne & Wanda Hollenbeck”
- Wanda Spiess Hollenbeck
Friday, March 16, 2018 at 8:04 AM
“I am sending our condolences for your families in your loss of LaVonne. I recall the long ago past when we were in school and would spend some time with your parents. She will be missed but I know you all have wonderful memories of mom, grandma and great grandma. God Bless you all.”
- Eileen Baumeister Veum
Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 6:38 PM
“Clay & Families, Sorry to hear about your mother, grandmother, great-grandmother. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this time. ”
- Julie Belstene & Justin
Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 6:38 PM
“Cedric, Marilyn & Family,
Our hearts go out to you all at this difficult time. I so enjoyed & loved caring for Hattie at North Shire. Our conversations & laughs will remain in my heart forever. Her sweet & tender ways will never be forgotten. You have all got to be so PROUD of her! May God hold you in his loving arms & guide you today, tomorrow & forever. Judi & Kirby Nielsen ”
- Judith & Kirby Nielsen
Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 6:38 PM
“I will miss LaVonne. She was a dear friend, with whom I enjoyed many bank trips. I am thankful for her life, and want you, her beloved family to know what a treasure she was to me, as well as many others. I will keep you in my prayers for the days and weeks to come.”
- Carol Albers
Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 6:38 PM
“Charles and Jean Marie - so sorry to hear about your Mother passing away. I remember so well when your Mother found out she had cancer. I was a senior in high school and remember how worried everyone was and remember Aunt Elsie Mae helping when she could. May God watch over you and your family. Your cousin, Leon and Annabel (Paulsen) Wagner”
- Annabel (Paulsen) Wagner
Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 6:37 PM
“Winterboer Family, My heart is sad that LaVonne has left her earthly home, and elated that she has gained her Heavenly wings. She and Herman were very special to me. I will be eternally grateful to them for claiming me as their “daughter” and taking me along with them at special times such as when Chad was born, or they bought a new car😊. I know they were a huge impact on all of the RCYF youth group and others in the church. Each time I visited with her, the last time being in December, we relived the good ole days and shared our love for each other. There is no doubt that LaVonne loved her family, her Lord, and her friends. I am blessed to have so many memories with her, and I will cherish them in my heart forever. I had never read her cancer story before, but it showed the deep Faith she had and the inspiration she was to others. I will be thinking of all of you tomorrow and regret not being able to attend, but I will be there in Spirit. Rest In Peace, dear LaVonne❤️”
- Sharon Roskens Holven
Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 6:37 PM
“LaVonne was such a dear friend. I enjoyed taking several bank trips with her as my traveling companion and we had so much fun! I want you, her dear family, to know what a treasure she was to me, as well as many others. I am so thankful to have known her. I will surely keep you in my prayers for the days and weeks to come.”
- Carol Albers
Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 11:36 AM
“Sending our sympathies to all of you. She was a sweet lady and I know you are proud to call her Mom.....may
God give you peace and comfort during these days. ”
- Bob & Audrey Schmidt
Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 11:36 AM
“With deepest sympathy to LaVonne's family,
I wish I had known your mother, very moved by her cancer story, parts of it were my story too. Dr. Frink was our family Dr. as well, the best Dr. we ever had!!
How blessed she was, and you to have called her "Mom"!”
- Cheryl (Worsfold) Schoof
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at 4:50 PM
“I did not know your mother nor your family, but I was deeply moved by her Cancer Story that I felt compelled to send her family my condolences. She must have been an amazing person. Her family has been immeasurably blessed by her presence. God bless her. ”
- Susan Malloy
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at 3:14 PM
“Mixed with the sorrow must be a sense of pride and joy that you were touched by such a wonderful woman. I last spoke to LaVonne when she came up to me at Ron's funeral in 2012. As we finished our conversation I mentioned that, given our schedules, this might be the last time we spoke. I'm so happy I had the chance to tell her it had been my privilege to have known her.”
- Stanley Roskens
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at 3:14 PM
“Thank you for the phone calls letting us know of LaVonne's passing. We certainly have your family in our thoughts and prayers-now and in the days ahead. Schedules will not allow us to be in NW Iowa for the visitation or funeral. Please give our sincere sympathy to all.”
- Gary & Dorothy Brinkley
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at 11:47 AM
“Cedric, Marilyn & family, I am thinking of you in the loss of your mother. Thank you for sharing her beautiful cancer story, I found it very moving. Psalm 91 is also my go-to chapter when I need to remember God's promises! May God comfort you!
Pam Virelli”
- Pam Virelli
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at 10:11 AM
“Sorry for your loss - LaVonne will surely be missed by many, as all were blessed in knowing her. Prayers for your families!”
- Becky & Mike Hatting
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at 8:03 AM
“What a beautiful soul and someone that I will always remember fondly. God knew she had Him in mind every step of the way and now took her home. How lucky we are to have known such a beautiful lady. Prayers that God wraps your family in love and peace during your sorrow. She was a wonderful lady. ”
- Iesha Toft
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at 8:02 AM
“I am sorry for your loss. I will surely miss LaVonne I enjoy taking care of her. She is one of the nicest person I ever met.”
- Beth Finkbeiner
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 6:47 PM
“So sorry for your loss. LaVonne was a very special lady. I will miss her when visiting Northshire with my students. Our prayers are with your family. ”
- Randy and Mary VerMulm
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 3:38 PM
“Clayton Cedric and Charles sorry to hear the passing of Lavonne she was a terrific lady I learned a lot from her when I was growing up our condolences Brenda and Keith”
- Keith J Fliss
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