OTTUMWA — Vandla Olive Lawson, 91, of 222 and 306 N. Iowa Ave., passed away at 7:25 a.m. July 21, 2013 at her home surrounded by her family.
She was born Aug. 7, 1921 in Marshalltown to George and Edith Burgstrom Wilson. Her mother died 15 days after she was born and she was raised by her mother’s parents and six sisters in Ottumwa, where she resided for the rest of her life. She had one sister, Avis Houston from Texarkana, Texas, who preceded her in death.
Her grandparents were from Sweden and they and Vandla were members of the First Lutheran Church. Vandla loved school, graduating in 1940 from Ottumwa High School along with her best friend, Martha Smith. She married Ralph Pilcher in 1941 and had a son, Bruce. Ralph was killed in World War II. Vandla married Lloyd Lawson in 1953. Together they had a son, Mark.
Vandla relied on her family and her faith to help her throughout life. Surviving is her husband, Lloyd; two sons, Mark Lawson of Ottumwa and Bruce (Cheryl) Pilcher of Jacksonville, Ill.; two grandchildren, Sara (Lorri) Pilcher with great grandchildren, Josie and Maddie and David (Bre) Pilcher with great-grandchildren, Olivia and Dru; a step-daughter, Sandi (Mike) Maas; three step-grandchildren, Tina (Tom) Young, Michael Maas and Jennifer Maas; seven step-great grandchildren; one step-great- great- grandchild. Vandla enjoyed her many nieces, nephews and cousins including a very special relative, Yvonne Davidsen of Marshalltown.
Vandla was a member of King’s Daughters and First Lutheran Esther Circle. She would lead devotions that she wrote for the groups. She also enjoyed attending Home Builders with Lloyd at the East End Presbyterian Church.
She was a wood carver with the local wood carver’s group, she did paper cutting from the age of 10, making beautiful stationary and designing small books to share designs with her T Circle friends. She sent her designed books to pen pals all over the United States for 30 years. She was a gifted storyteller, a lover of animals, and an admirer of Abraham Lincoln. She could make the best Swedish Rusk and Dixie crème candy. All of her friends enjoyed her talent.
To know Vandla was to have a friend. She leaves a legacy of love and compassion for all whose lives she touched.
Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Thursday at First Lutheran Church with Rev. Ralph Kister and Rev. Jane Martinez officiating. Burial will be in Ottumwa Cemetery.
Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Reece Funeral Home with the family present from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday.
Memorials may be made to Heartland Humane Society at P.O. Box 1149 Ottumwa, Iowa 52501 or Hospice serving Wapello and Davis Counties at 927 Pennsylvania Ave. Ottumwa, Iowa 52501.