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Venita Shirlene Kirby was born March 4, 1930 north of Gravity, Iowa at a place called Oak Hill to Oma Winifred (Brown) and Lawrence Clyde Kirby. She was welcomed to their home by a sister, Oma LaVon and a brother, Virgil Edwin.
She started school at a country school southeast of Bedford, Iowa and later attended Conway consolidated school, rural school west of Diagonal and then Diagonal High School. During her high school years, she worked in Beemer Drug store and for D D Dolecheck Grocery store. In 1947 Venita met Leonard Sobotka and they were married June 14, 1947 and engaged in farming on a farm south of Diagonal. In 1948 they purchased a farm southeast of Clearfield where they lived and raised heir children, daughters, Connie Sue and Karen Rae, and son, Duane Lee.
Leonard and Venita established Sobotka Landscaping and Excavating. Venita became a nurses’ aid and worked in Ringgold County Hospital in Mount Ayr and later at the Greater Community Hospital in Creston, Iowa. They built a new home in Clearfield in 1966. Venita was always involved in community work and loved doing things for others. She was active in church work as a Sunday school teacher, a girls 4-H Club leader as well as Boy Scouts den mother. Venita was a 64-year member of the Clearfield Unit #97 American Legion Auxiliary where she served as Unit President, Taylor County President, and 7th District President. She also served as Americanism Chairman and Junior American Legion Auxiliary leader for many years. She worked as a bookkeeper in Clearfield’s MFA elevator for several years. She lost her husband, Leonard, to cancer September 29, 1973, after 26 years of marriage.
In 1976 Venita moved to Fairfield Bay, Arkansas where she purchased a Gift Shop and later added two more. On October 24, 1978 Venita was married to Ernest (Ernie) Schmidt. They were owners of rental homes and a barbeque restaurant. Pursuing more interests, they moved VEES BBQ to Hot Springs, Arkansas. They traveled to Florida every year and enjoyed a trip to Hawaii. After 22 years of marriage Ernie developed cancer and passed away June 20, 1999.
She attended the Church of Christ in Hot Springs but kept her membership and interest in her Clearfield Christian Church where she had been baptized. Her son, Duane, joined her in her home where they looked after each other until his passing June 23, 2017. Moving closer to her daughters at the Clearview Assisted Living in Mount Ayr, Iowa she enjoyed getting reacquainted with old friends and family.
She passed away peacefully after being transferred for care at University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City on August 21, 2018 at the age of 88 years.
Venita was preceded in death by her parents; parents-in-law, Edward and Frances Sobotka; sister, LaVon Lange; brother, Virgil Kirby; brothers-in-law, Donald Sobotka, David Sobotka and Ivan (Butch) Sobotka; sisters-in-law, Mildred Sobotka and Norma Jean Lumbard; son-in-law, Dennis Cooper; and son, Duane Sobotka.
Left to cherish her memory are daughters, Connie Cooper of Bedford and Karen and husband Mike Schaefer of Maloy; seven grandchildren, Jackie (Peter) Cooper-Bennett, Wendy (Matt) Poore, Darcie (Neil) Cooper, Devan Cooper, Jennifer (Billy) Bell, Billy (Suzi) Schaefer, and Timothy (Jennifer) Schaefer; fifteen great-grandchildren, Aidan and Noah Cooper-Bennett, Breia and Mallory Bell, Danielle (Kurtis Norwood) Poore and Kirsten Poore, Sadie and Nathanial Cooper, Samantha, Loryn, Natalie, and Tate Schaefer, and Katelyn, Tyler and Colton Schaefer; two great-great grandchildren, Adelynn Wahlstedt and Levi Norwood; three sisters-in-law, Dorothy Kirby, Lois Anne Sobotka, and Sharon Sobotka; brother-in-law, Roy Lumbard; many nieces, nephews and friends.
Venita loved flowers, mountains, nature and people! Her guideline was Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
A memorial fund has been established for the Clearfield Christian Church. Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr is in charge of the arrangements.
Services were 4:00 p.m., Sunday, August 26, 2018 at the Clearfield Christian Church in Clearfield, Iowa. Pastor Sherry Wiley officiated.
Pianist was Becky Nelson and special songs were “Under His Wings”, “What Ever Will Be, Will Be” and “Jesus Loves Me”.
Casketbearers were Jackie Cooper-Bennett, Jennifer Bell, Bill Schaefer, Wendy Poore, Timothy Schaefer, Darcie Cooper and Devan Cooper.
Venita was laid to rest at the Diagonal Cemetery in Diagonal, Iowa.

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