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Wilma Jean Townsend Eckhart, 97, State Center

Wilma Jean Townsend Eckhart, of State Center Iowa, peacefully passed away surrounded by family on June 25, 2021. She was born on September 12, 1923 in rural Jasper County Iowa to Henry and Mary (Carson) Townsend. She attended school in the area.

On March 1, 1937 Henry moved his family to a farm in Marshall County. Wilma attended State Center High School graduating in 1941. She then attended Mercy School of Nursing in Marshalltown, Iowa graduating in September 1944. Wilma joined the U.S. Army Nursing Corps and served until December 1946.

Her nursing career included staff nursing at Mercy Hospital and Evangelical Lutheran Hospital in Marshalltown and office nurse for Drs. Sokol, Robinson, Beatty, and Taylor in State Center.

Wilma married Dale Eckhart in 1947. They farmed in State Center Township until retiring in 1983. Dale passed away September 29, 1998. Wilma is survived by five children, Paul (Barbara) of Las Vegas, NV; Jean (Dwight) Cruikshank of Waukesha, WI;  Teresa (Michael Gibson) of Dubuque, IA; Karen (Joe) Viola of Ballwin, MO and Alan (Karri) of State Center, IA and fifteen grandchildren, Joseph Eckhart, Christina (Josh) Martin, Kathleen (Evan) Munn, Elizabeth (Pete) Hemsley; Mark (Sarah) Cruikshank, John (Melissa) Cruikshank, James (Vanessa) Cruikshank; William Gibson, Wade Gibson, Dana (Ricky) Haase, Drew Gibson; Branten (Kelsie) Eckhart, Owen Eckhart; Margaret Bailey, and Angela Viola, and nine great grandchildren, Alison Martin; Evangeline Munn; Jacob, Jessalyn, and Jeremiah Hemsley; Kendall Cruikshank; Jack and Madelyn Cruikshank;  June Bailey, as well as her sister, Mary Ellen Gray

She was a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church, the Harland G. Pfantz American Legion and Auxiliary of State Center, and the State Center Historical Society. In 2018, Wilma was selected by the State Center Development Association to be honored by the Governor for her volunteer activities and was presented with the Iowa Volunteer of the Year Award.

Wilma was preceded in death by a grandson Matthew Cruikshank, her parents, three sisters, June Hardenburgh, Mae Eckhart, Lucile Severidt and two brothers, George and Harold Townsend.

Wilma enjoyed quilting, gardening, playing cards with friends, many church activities, and gathering with family.

Visitation for Wilma will be held Monday, June 28, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church, State Center, Iowa and Funeral Services at 5:30 p.m. to follow. Memorials may be directed to St. Paul Lutheran Church, State Center, Iowa.


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