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Thelma Mae Ambrose, 94, of Walnut, Iowa, passed away Tuesday, December 26, 2017, at Mount Ayr Health Care Center.
Thelma Mae was born May 5, 1923, in Honey Creek, Iowa, the daughter of Arthur Julius and Ethel Mae (French) Rief. Thelma was the last surviving of their four children, Gilbert Rief, Esther Peters and Ila Hicks. The Rief family moved from their farm in Honey Creek to a farm in Woodbine, Iowa, in 1938. This is where Thelma met her future husband, Walter Joseph Ambrose.  Many sweet stories have been shared of their high school romance which culminated into their “secret marriage” on November 2, 1940. Walter graduated in May and when WWII broke out he bravely joined the United States Army. After their wedding, Walter left for the army and Thelma completed her high school degree in May 1941. They maintained their secret for one whole year.  Walter left for the European War front and Thelma lived with her parents until the war ended in 1944. At that time, they began farming the Ambrose Farm just outside of Woodbine. This is where they became proud parents of their four children: Thelma Josephine, Sandra Mae, Walter Joseph, Jr., and Marie Ethel. They were a very hardworking couple who farmed all their lives, along with many other endeavors.
Thelma was a devoted wife and mother, and was known for her skills at gardening, cooking, baking, canning, etc. She was very active in the farming operation, and was Walter’s right hand person. Thelma was always involved with her children and their education, and volunteered as a 4-H leader for many years. At one point she was the President of the local Democratic Party. It may be hard to believe, but she even found time to work preparing meals at Lewis Central School.
Thelma is survived by her daughters, Sandra Mae Wood and her husband, LeRoy of Kellerton, Iowa, and Marie Ethel King and her husband, Charles of Houston, Texas; 12 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Walter J. Ambrose, Sr.; son, Walter J. Ambrose, Jr.; and daughter, Thelma Josephine Ambrose.
Funeral services was held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, December 30, 2017, at the First United Methodist Church in Atlantic, with Pastor Dean McPherson officiating. Burial was in the Atlantic Cemetery. Visitation with the family was held prior to the service starting at 9:00 a.m.
Memorials may be made to the family for designation at a later date.
Roland Funeral Service is caring for Thelma’s family and her arrangements.  Condolences may be left at

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