Iva Wells, 95
Thief River Falls – Iva Wells, 95, of Thief River Falls, formerly of Goodridge, died peacefully on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016 at Minnesota Greenleaf Assisted Living in Thief River Falls, surrounded by her loving family.
Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016 at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Thief River Falls, with Rev. Wesley Langaas and Rev. Terry Olson officiating. Interment will be held at Greenwood Cemetery in Thief River Falls.
Visitation will be held from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM with a 7:00 PM prayer service on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at Johnson Funeral Service in Thief River Falls, MN.
Iva Esther J. Thompson Wells was born Jan. 2, 1921 in Sioux Falls, S.D., and adopted by Palmer and Anna (Lien) Thompson. She was baptized into the Lutheran Faith. She attended Thief River Falls public schools and graduated from Lincoln High School in 1938.
On March 5, 1940, Iva was united in marriage to James A. Wells. The couple began farm life in a small two room house which they homesteaded on the Red Lake Reservation as they cleared the land of rocks and trees.
Iva was a full-time farm wife as she helped in the fields, milked cows, raised chickens, gardened, canned foods, sewed clothes, and raised their three children. Additionally, Iva had a generous nature and provided meals and room in her home for stranded travelers, road crews, and hunters for many seasons.
Birthday parties and family events were always celebrations that Iva shared with family and neighbors within the community, and even as far away as Norway. Iva was pleased to learn about her Norwegian heritage. Several times she visited her families in Norway and also enjoyed hosting their visits to her home.
Iva was a member of Reiner Free Lutheran Church, Treasurer for the Ladies Aid for 36 years, a P.T.A. secretary and president at the Goodridge School for many years, and District PTA president for three years. She liked to hand-write letters in both English and Norwegian, quilt, garden, plus do yard work and Norwegian embroidery.
Iva enjoyed sharing her experiences of homesteading and published her stories in a book titled, “Family Life on a Reservation Farm.” In 2010, the American Association of University Women honored Iva Wells with their “Women of Honor” award for her great strength, determination, and spirt of giving to her community.
After her husband, Jim, passed away in 2001, Iva lived alone on her farm for 11 years and kept her farm and home in pristine condition. Since 2012, Iva had received excellent care from staff at Greenleaf Assisted Living.
Iva is survived by children, Yvonne (Glen Peters) Pederson, Thief River Falls, MN, Andy (Caroline) Wells, Bemidji, and Rita (Ken) Parnham, Belle Plaine; grandchildren, Mona (Randy) Pederson-Swenson, West Fargo, N.D., Kristi (David) Wells-Saiger, Bemidji, Wendy (Tim) Knudson, Bemidji, Andrew (Monica) Wells IV, Bemidji, Timothy (Amber) Wells, Bemidji, Jill (Chuck) Paulson, Eden Prairie, Rebecca (Tom) Higgins, Rosemount, and Cindy (Corey) Olson, Victoria; great grandchildren, Hannah, Emma and Sonia Stimpfl, Blaine and Caleb Olson, Isabelle Wells, Ian and Aidan Swenson, Diana, Rania and Andrew Wells V, Chance Bourdon and Annika Higgins; half-brother, Harry Brekke, Norway; eight nieces and nephews in Norway and a niece in Hawaii; and many other relatives and friends.
She was preceded in death by husband James; parents; half-sister, Anna Marie Jenswold; half-brothers, Tor-Leif and Kjell Brekke of Norway; brother, Eugene Thompson; and son-in-law, Roy L. Pederson.
Family condolences may be sent by visiting www.johnsonfuneralservice.com.