Della Marie Conradi of Coralville, Iowa, passed away August 12, 2019, at her home from complications of a congenital heart defect.
Della was born with a spirit larger and stronger than all of the obstacles she was to face in life. In her determination to survive and thrive she taught us all how to embrace the fun life has to offer.
Della was born August 22, 1960 to Patsy Byrd and Arthur Donald Conradi in Iowa City. At age six she was institutionalized at Glenwood Resource Center. At age 10 Della was found to be hearing impaired, and received her first hearing aides. Shortly after she was selected for the first group home opened in the state of Iowa for intellectually disabled children established by Systems Unlimited, Inc. Della attended University of Iowa Hospital Schools and graduated from Iowa City’s West High School. In 1985 she was reunited with her mother and brothers Bobby Joe and Calvin, and enjoyed visiting them in McLain, Mississippi.
Della loved Special Olympics and received many metals in her years of participation. She loved roller skating, cowboy movies, camp, roller coasters, the Iowa State Fair and the Mall of America. She could dispatch a 1000 piece jig saw puzzle in a few hours, and found it amusing others couldn’t do the same.
Della attended Camp Courageous for a week in July, and had the time of her life. Della worked several years for the laundry service at Glenwood Resource Center and currently attended System Unlimited’s day habilitation program. She lived in Iowa City, Glenwood, Creston, and most recently in Coralville.
Della is survived by her Guardian, Janet R. Knock (Karl), and their children Joel Lown (Jessica) and Zachary Schaefer (Emily Rhodes), special friends Dr. William and Vivian Johnson of Depoe Bay, Oregon, her loving family of caretakers at Systems Unlimited, Inc., her loving family of caretakers at Glenwood Resource Center, family in Mississippi and many friends. Della was preceded in death by her father Arthur Donald Conradi and mother Patsy Carolyn Bailey Byrd, step-father G.W.Byrd, Sr., brothers Bobby Joe Conradi, John Calvin Pierce and Tommy Eugene Pierce.
Memorials may be made to Systems Unlimited, Inc. for the camp and art funds. “You were not just blessed for yourself, you were blessed to be a blessing to others.”
Celebration of Life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 21, 2019. Visitation will be held at 10:30 with services and lunch to follow. Interment will be held at a later date at Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines, Iowa. Online condolences may be sent to her family through the web at www.gayandciha.com