Dr. Bessie Leora Schuelka, 82, of Cedar, died Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, at the MHP Hospice Serenity House in Oskaloosa.
She was born Sept. 1, 1931, in Fort Madison, the daughter of Theodore and Nora Brodsky Davis. She graduated from Montrose High School with the class of 1949. Leora furthered her education, obtaining her B.S. degree from Simpson College, her M.S. degree in education from University of Northern Iowa and her PhD in Education Curriculum and Administration from Iowa State University. On Aug. 24, 1952, Leora was united in marriage to Francis Schuelka in Montrose. She began her life-long public education career at Vinton, teaching business courses at junior high and high school levels. She also directed the O.E.A. (Office Education Association) at the school. She later taught junior high and high school business courses at Red Oak. Leora organized and directed Red Oak’s FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) team at the high school. Her encouragement and support of her students led them to excel. Several Red Oak students became state and national FBLA officers. She went on to become the elementary principal in Dayton, Iowa. Last she was the assistant superintendent and curriculum coordinator for the Lynnville-Sully and Twin Cedars-Bussey school districts. She was member of the Cedar United Methodist Church and of late had transferred her membership to the First Christian Church in Oskaloosa. She was also a past member of the Forest Cemetery Board, Iowa School Administrators, Lions Club, and the American Association of University Women. Leora was also a life member of the National Education Association. She was an avid reader and regularly donated her books to local libraries and the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville. She enjoyed gardening and loved tending to her flowers and houseplants. Leora inspired her children with her love of education, community service, current events and world travel.
Leora is survived by her husband of over 61 years Francis Schuelka, of Cedar; five children, David (and Connie) Schuelka, of Rochester, Minn., Steven (and Karen) Schuelka, of Crown Point, Ind., Kathy (and Brad) Burson, of Red Oak, Mark Schuelka, of Des Moines, and Todd (and Lisa) Schuelka, of Ames; nine grandchildren, Matthew (and Emily) Schuelka, Amanda Schuelka, Sterk Schuelka, Kira Schuelka, Eric Burson, Michelle Burson, Sirena Lindsay, Josiah Schuelka and Olivia Schuelka; three brothers, Theodore (and Joanne) Davis Jr., of Montgomery, Texas, Harold (and Carol) Davis, of Coarsegold, Calif., and Paul (and Donna) Davis, of Iowa City; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, a granddaughter, Laura Katherine Schuelka; a brother, Lt. Cmdr F. John Davis, who was killed serving his country during the Vietnam War; and a sister in law, (Harold’s wife) Diana Davis.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, Oct. 12, at 11 a.m. in the Bates Funeral Chapel in Oskaloosa with the Revs. Michael Omundson and Bud Lane officiating. As was her wish her body has been cremated and burial of the urn will be in the Forest Cemetery at a later date. The Bates Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements. Visitation with the family present will be on Saturday, Oct. 12, from 10 a.m. until service time at 11. Memorials may be made to the MHP Hospice Serenity House or Oskaloosa First Christian Church. In lieu of flowers, the family prefers donations to the Mahaska Health Partnership Hospice Serenity House in Oskaloosa or Oskaloosa First Christian Church.