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Madeline May Reese

Posted October 10, 2013 in Obituaries, Johnston

December 17, 1936 – October 7, 2013

Madeline Reese

Madeline Reese

During the course of Madeline’s life, she played many roles: daughter, little sister, big sister, aunt, wife, mother, grandmother, coworker, boss, neighbor, and friend. She approached each with purpose, sincerity, and quiet strength working her way through a lifetime that passed all too quickly. Yet that one small dash between Dec. 17, 1936 and Oct. 7, 2013 impacted so many that were it measured in devotion it would stretch around the globe and back again enveloping us in its hug one last time.

She was born Madeline May White in San Diego, California, on Dec. 17, 1936, to Charles and Genevieve White, but her life spent in California was a short stay when after her father’s death, the young family returned to their grandparent’s farm in Keota, Iowa.

It was here that Madeline learned the lessons of hard work, discipline, and satisfaction of a job well done. Lessons that she herself taught and retaught those around her in both word and deed every day of her life. If a job was worth doing; it was worth doing right.

If a job took effort; give it all the effort required without complaining or drawing attention to yourself. Even in her final weeks, she was the one who set the tone, set the pace. “Be strong…be strong,” was her admonition. Helping us through the difficulty when it was really her struggle, showing us with her example one final time how life should be faced.

She attended Keota High School where she played clarinet in the band, and following high school, the University of Northern Iowa to study music.

On March 15, 1958, she began her twenty-three year marriage to David E. Reese at Grandview Lutheran Church in Des Moines, Iowa. Another period that passed all too quickly with Dave’s death in 1981, but resulted in more lessons on resiliency, determination, and fortitude as Madeline rebuilt her life.

Madeline’s proudest achievements are her four children and ten grandchildren.

She showed her pride by attending concerts, sporting events, open houses. She always remembered birthdays. She was never too busy to sew on patches, make dance costumes, or have an American Girl tea party. She attended graduations–kindergarten, high school and even boot camp. Her presence spoke I love you; her smile and laughter, I’m proud of you.

She has now passed us the baton to continue our journeys down life’s path remembering her example: if something is worth doing, do it well; if you love someone, show them; when you face adversity, be strong.

Information provided by:
Memorial Services of Iowa
4208 North Ankeny Blvd
Ankeny, IA 50023

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