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Thelma left to be with the Lord April 11, 2022. Thelma Jean was born December 13, 1925, to Edna and Jesse Anderson. She lived her entire life in Mount Ayr graduating from Mount Ayr High School in 1944. She married her high school sweetheart Bill Rusk on June 25, 1946. They were married 68 years and to this union, four children were born, Bille Jean, William Anderson (Andy), John Scott and Bobbie Leigh.
Before marrying Bill, Thelma spent a year studying at Iowa Teachers College (now known as University of Northern Iowa). Professionally, Thelma worked at the funeral home early in her marriage. She spent several years employed at Mount Ayr Community School in the capacity of the Superintendent secretary, teachers’ aide and secretary to the high school principal until 1988. Following retirement, Thelma worked at Iowa Southern Utilities and the Record News. She spent many years as the Methodist Church Sunday School Superintendent leading the children in praise and worship.
Thelma was very involved with the community she loved so much. She was active in many organizations including PEO, Eastern Star, United Methodist Women, where she served many offices. Thelma and Bill were very instrumental in getting the Senior Activity Center in Mount Ayr as well as the development of the Depot Museum, where she was on the board. Thelma was extremely involved in the American Legion Auxiliary local unit 172 level as well as on the District 5 level and the State level in numerous offices.
Thelma was an avid gardener. She always had beautiful flowers and garden. She loved her “dirt therapy.” Her home was always open, and she was such a gracious host to all who walked into her home. The welcome mat was always open at the Rusk’s. Thelma was involved in her kids’ activities at school and outside events. She was a lifelong member of the Mount Ayr United Methodist Church, where she served graciously in any capacity that she was called upon. Thelma lived her live filled with grace and mercy for all who met her. She lived her life for her Maker, her country and her family.
Thelma’s lifelong passion was to be a wife and mother which she fulfilled with dignity and grace. She was preceded in death by her husband, the love of her life, her parents, parents-in-law, sister, brother and sisters-in-law.
Left to cherish her memory is her beloved children and their spouses, Bille Jean (Ron) Snyder, Andy (Dotti Johnson), Scott (Carol Donovan), Bobbie (Marty) Ivey. She loved her 12 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. Family, friends and community meant everything to Thelma.
Thelma’s family would like to thank all of the care givers at Clearview Estates and Clearview Homes, who treated her with the upmost dignity and kindness. To continue to honor Thelma, you can contribute to her favorite charities of United Methodist Church, Mount Ayr Senior Center and the Mount Ayr Depot Museum. Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr is in charge of the arrangements.
Services was at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, April 15, 2022 at the United Methodist Church in Mount Ayr, IA.
Officiating was Pastor Emily Peasley.
Music was “Let There Be Peace on Earth”-congregational (page 431), “Hymn of Promise”-Simply Voices, “Because He Lives”-Simply Voices and “Jesus Loves Me”-congregational (page 191).
Musicians was Deb Cannon-organist and Simply Voices.
Casketbearers were Jesse Rusk, Spenser Leise, Tanner Leise, Dan Snyder, Nathan Snyder, Liam Snyder, Hunter Leise and Connor Snyder.
Honorary pallbearers were Courtney Leise, Monica Vandenberg, Caitlin Rusk, Jillian Snyder, Gabby Vandenberg, Carli Snyder, Ameila Vandenberg, Leo Ivey, Oliver Vanderburg, Ames Ivey, Bill Ivey and Doug Ivey.
At rest at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Mount Ayr, IA.

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