Luthiera Agnes Yeggy White Conklin, 96, of Iowa City, passed away Thursday, October 5, 2017 at Oaknoll Care Center.
Luthiera Agnes Yeggy White Conklin was born September 17, 1921 in her parents’ home in Riverside, Iowa. Luthiera was the oldest of Linus John and Irmina Agnes Schnoebelen Yeggy’s five children. Contrary to the parish priest’s beliefs, Luthiera was not named after St. Eleutherius but was rather named after her mother’s childhood friend from Kansas. Her unique name was constantly misspelled and mispronounced. She would often say, it’s pronounced Luthiera, like pier. She started answering to Lu in the 1950’s when her co-workers shortened her moniker. After that she was Lu to everyone except her mother and her husband, Bob.
Funeral Mass will be held 10:00 am, Monday, October 9, 2017 at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Iowa City. Burial will be at old St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Iowa City immediately following the funeral. Visitation will be held at Gay and Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service in Iowa City from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Sunday, October 8, 2017, with a vigil service beginning at 6:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in her name to St. Joseph’s Cemetery or Iowa City Hospice.
Luthiera grew up in the Riverside area, where her father farmed and owned a Ford and Whippet car dealership and her mother worked as a homemaker. Luthiera attended country school through eighth grade and made her way to school on horseback. She lived with her grandparents in Riverside during her high school years and graduated at the top of her class from St. Mary’s High School in 1939. At the age of seventeen she left home on a quest for more education. Nursing school was expensive and she spent two years working as a maid in Iowa City before she had enough money saved. She later said that working as a maid was the worst job she ever had.
Luthiera graduated from Iowa City Mercy School of Nursing in 1944. After graduation, she worked in the operating room at Mercy Hospital in Davenport until June 1945 when she was pregnant with her first child. Thirteen years and six children later, Luthiera returned to nursing and the operating room at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City where she worked three nights a week. When her youngest child started junior high, Lu moved to the day shift and started working full time. Lu eventually became head nurse in the operating room, a position she held until her retirement in 1983.
Luthiera met her first husband, Robert White, in 1940 while on a double date at a roller skating rink. Bob had enlisted in the National Guard in 1939. In 1941 the National Guard was federalized and Bob was sent to Camp Claiborne, Louisiana for training. Luthiera was waiting patiently for February 1942 when Bob would be coming home. But in December 1941 the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States went to war. Bob was shipped overseas in February 1942 and it would be almost three years before they would see each other. During their long distance courtship, Bob was lucky enough to have won big shooting dice. He proposed to Luthiera via cablegram and sent the winnings for her to buy her engagement ring. In December 1944, Bob was sent home for a fifteen day furlough. No wedding had been planned yet, but when Bob stepped off the train Luthiera knew he was the one. They were married two weeks later on December 30, 1944 and spent six weeks together before Bob was shipped back overseas in February 1945. He returned home for good in late August 1945 and welcomed his first child six weeks later. They were married for thirty six years until Bob’s death on February 23, 1981.
In October 1987, Lu called her children to let them know she had been asked out on a date. Her children wanted to know two things – who called and what was her answer. Lu found love a second time with Francis Conklin. They had a whirlwind courtship and were married on May 14, 1988. Lu and Francis were married eight years until Francis’ death on October 30, 1996.
Luthiera enjoyed traveling and spent many hours and miles with Bob driving around the United States in their Coachman Motor Home. After Bob’s death, Luthiera expanded her travel and visited Israel, China, Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Alaska. She and Francis enjoyed traveling around the United States and wintering in Arizona.
Luthiera was always on a quest for new things. She learned to drive when she was 50 years old and took an auto mechanics course for women where she learned how to change the oil in her car. Lu took many world cuisine classes after Bob died and loved to share the new dishes with her family. She started square dancing after marrying Francis and made many of their square dance outfits.
Luthiera was active in many ministries at St. Wenceslaus including parish council. She was an avid reader, an accomplished seamstress, a creative decorator, and a skilled gardener. She was an excellent cook and her children will forever remember her pies, potato salad, fried chicken, and cookies. Her family will miss her sense of humor, her sense of adventure, her love of games and her interest in their lives and activities. Above all Luthiera will be remembered for her faith and devotion to God, her love of family and friends and her keen ability to cope with all that was given to her.
Luthiera is survived by her six children, Virginia White (Ira Greenstein), Robert White (Suzanne), Richard White (Ann Schulte), Dennis White (Deb), Peg Heck, Stephen White (Cathy); thirteen grandchildren, Ann Greenstein, Katie Greenstein (Edgard Verdugo), John White, Amy Dalton, Sarah Kew (Kyle), Heather Zwanziger (Tim), Zachary White, Timothy Heck, David Heck (Jennifer), Jill McLachlan (Tom), Liam Heck, Matthew White (Katie) and Allison Cashatt (Allan); thirteen great-grandchildren, Randi and Abigail Dalton, Jared White, Teddy and Beau Zwanziger, Faith, Brynlee and Lillian McLachlan, Evan, Maggie and Lucy White, Eli and Jack Cashatt and one great-great grandson, Emmett Dalton.
In addition, Luthiera is survived by her sister, Virginia Grimsich, her brother Walter Yeggy (Jeannine), her sisters-in-law, Mary Yeggy, Maryann Michel (Clayton) and her four step-children, Steven Conklin (Mary), Susan Sullivan (Dave), Sandi Haman (Dave), Sherrie Wilson (Ken), twelve step-grandchildren, Shannon Folscroft (Ryan), Shawn Conklin (Jona), Mandy Means (Greg), Kiley Sullivan, Jamie Sullivan (Kelly), Kourtney Harris (Aaron), Trenton Haman, Tiffany Sabin (Jonah), Trisha Clinton (Vince), Meredith Wilson, Ariel Patton (Billy), Lizzie Wilson and eighteen step-great grandchildren, Dylan, Sydney and Maddox Folscroft, Rachel and Rebekah Conklin, Adalyn and Aiden Means, Charlie and Morgan Sullivan, Hadley, Logan and Evan Harris, Sawyer Sabin, Treyton, Tyker and Tate Clinton, Eli and Elliana Patton.
Luthiera was preceded in death by her parents, her husbands, Robert White and Francis Conklin, her brother, Alvin Yeggy, her sister, Rita Croft, her brothers-in-law, Paul Croft, John Grimsich, Jack White, William White, William Love and Al Prizler, her sisters-in-law, Catherine White, Doris White, Ellen Love and Leona Prizler, her son-in-law, Randy Heck and one step-granddaughter, Meghan Wilson
Luthiera’s family would like to thank the staff at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics especially Dr. Gerald Jogerst, the staff at the Oaknoll Community and Iowa City Hospice for their compassionate care.