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Thelma Athalia Jarnagin Lewis

Published: Friday, June 21, 2013 11:24 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, June 21, 2013 12:01 p.m. CDT

Thelma Athalia Jarnagin Lewis, 108, of Monroe died on June 19, 2013, at Careage of Newton.

A funeral service will be at 1:30 p.m. Friday, June 21, at the Monroe United Methodist Church with burial following at Silent City Cemetery. Visitation will take place one hour prior to the service at the church. Memorials may be directed to Iowa Hospice or the Monroe United Methodist Women. Condolences may be left for the family at www.coburnfuneralhomes.com.

She was the daughter of Lorinda (Sheeler) and Oakley Jarnagin. On Aug. 13, 1904, she was born on a farm east of Monroe, near the Marion-Jasper County line. She was a lifelong resident of the Monroe area. She was a 1923 graduate of Monroe High School. On March 11, 1926, she and William G. Lewis were united in marriage at the Monroe Methodist parsonage. To this union one son, Rodger Norman, was born on March 8, 1931. Thelma and William lived and worked on the family farm northwest of Monroe. In 1968, they retired to their home in Monroe where they lived together until Bill’s death on Nov. 12, 1976. She remained in her own home until August 2006 when she moved to Careage of Newton.  

Music was always an important part of Thelma’s life. At an early age, she took piano lessons. As a teenager, she was active in music and developed a talent for playing by memory for silent movies at the Monroe Opera House in the 1920s. In her adult life, she was always willing to share her musical talent by singing and playing at numerous weddings and funerals. She enjoyed being part of the church choir, playing for Sunday School services and the United Methodist Women. At one time, she was a part of the Jasper County Chorus. Thelma’s unique musical style will be remembered by those who have been guests in her home or at a neighborhood get together with her sitting down playing the piano at the drop of a hat, rarely with written notes to guide her.   

Preceding Thelma in death were her parents, husband; sister Eva Shewmaker; niece Vivian Jarnagin; son Rodger; and grandson-in-law Ed Barton.  

Those left to honor her memory are her daughter-in-law Gwyneth; grandsons Jeff (Lana), Ned (Connie), Marty (Joyce); granddaughters, Elaine Keuning (Don) and Amy Barton; great-grandchildren Sara Umbarger (Rusty), Jared Keuning (Katie), Jay Keuning (Amitie), Nola Lewis (Cody), Dereck Lewis (Jenny), Chad Barton (Tena), Jason Barton (Bonnie), Nicholas, Kaitlyn and Mason Lewis; great-great grandchildren Mallory and Reid Umbarger; Jack, Ella and James Keuning; Elise and Tanner Keuning; Taylor, Hailey, MacKenzie, and Bentley Barton; Kaleb and Evin Barton; Marlo Lewis.

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