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Winifred C. Van Oel

Posted July 25, 2013 in Obituaries, West Des Moines

March 5, 1918 – July 24, 2013

Winifred Van Oel

Winifred Van Oel

Winifred Olson Van Oel of Des Moines passed away peacefully July 24. She was 95.

Winifred was born March 5, 1918 in Marengo, IA. to Herman and Luella (Engelbert) Olson. The eldest daughter of eight children, she was left to help raise her siblings after her mother’s death from bone cancer when Winifred was 14.

Valedictorian of her high school class at Hilton Consolidated Schools, Winifred was a trailblazer. When few women were earning advanced degrees, she earned her master’s degree in nursing education from the University of Chicago. That followed a bachelor’s in nursing from the University of Iowa.

She began her career with the cadet nurse corp in Iowa. She went on to serve as director of the pediatric nursing department at University of Iowa Hospitals, and taught nursing at Grandview College.

Winifred was married to Wallace Van Oel in Iowa City in 1955. He preceded her in death in 2002.

She was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Sigma Theta Tau, Iowa Nurses Association and PEO.

Winifred is survived by her two sons, Steve and Rick, a daughter-in -law, Marcella , sisters Ann Johnson of Coon Rapids and Evelyn Davies of Indianola and brother Max Olson of Cambridge.

Funeral services will be held Monday July 29 at 11 a.m. at Westover Funeral Home. Friends are invited to gather at the family’s home afterward.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Winifred Van Oel Nursing Scholarship at Grandview College.


Information provided by:
Iles Funeral Homes
Westover Chapel
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA 50322

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