Eugene E. Elder

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Eugene E. Elder, 87, of Cherokee, Iowa, passed away Monday evening, April 4, 2005, in the Cherokee Villa.

Funeral services will be held Friday, April 8, at 10:30 a.m. at the First Church of Christ in Cherokee, Iowa. Pastor Gary Swick will officiate. Burial will be in the Buena Vista Memorial Park Cemetery in Storm Lake, Iowa. There will be military rites at the cemetery. There will be family prayer service at 10:15 a.m. at the Church on Friday. Visitation will from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Thursday at the Boothby Funeral Home in Cherokee, Iowa, with the family present from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.

Eugene was born on a frosty morning on Oct. 6, 1917. He was the second of three children born to Herman Thomas Elder and Callie May (Maddox) Elder. He lived in the Liberal and Walker area while growing up. He worked hard as a child and showed an amazing aptitude for work and fixing things. In 1937, he and a friend rode their motorcycles to northwest Iowa. He worked for various farmers in the Newell and Storm Lake areas, initially for Ray and Pearl O'Dell. Then he began working for Reuben and Lloyd Ohlson southwest of Aurelia. While working for them he met their niece, N. Faye Nordstrom.

In July 1941 he was inducted into the U.S. Army for a one-year stint. He knew his time in the military would be lengthened, because Pearl Harbor was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941. Initially in the 5th Calvary, he later transferred to the 4th Calvary and was stationed at Fort Meade, S.D., and also the Mohave Desert in California. In 1943 he volunteered for a group he'd never heard of, the Army Rangers. By this time Eugene and Faye were engaged.

His training with the 2nd Rangers was rigorous. His company climbed the Cliffs of Pointe Du Hoc, Normandy, France, on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He fought his way through five European countries, and was honorably discharged in October 1945.

Eugene and Faye Nordstrom were married at the Mount Olive Baptist Church in rural Cherokee, Iowa, on June 4, 1946. Five children were born to their family. Faye worked through the years as a RN in Aurelia, Cherokee and Storm Lake.

Eugene took pride in his work. He loved life, and lived it with gusto. He was proud of his family, of his Army exploits, and of building up two farms in his lifetime, as well as helping repair machinery and do custom combining for area farmers.

They retired to Cherokee, Iowa, in 1980. His dear wife died on Easter Sunday, April 16, 1995, after a valiant battle with cancer.

He is survived by his children Darrell Elder and wife, Jerri, of rural Aurelia, Iowa, Roger Elder and wife, Karen, of Des Moines, Iowa; daughter, Mary Anne Block and husband, Marvin, of Creighton, Neb., James Elder and wife, Maureen, of Casper, Wyo., and Adam Elder of Cherokee, Iowa; and seven grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Richard, of Liberty, Mo.; and sister Nadine (Elder) Vickers of Nevada.