Obituary of Mary B. Elson
Mary Beulah Elson, 97 of Iowa City, Iowa died Oct. 21, 2011 at the Oaknoll Health Center in Iowa City. Mary was born May 22, 1914 in rural Jefferson County, 5 miles NW of Birmingham, Iowa. She was the daughter of Reuben and Dessie Roberts Johnston. She was a 1932 graduate of Birmingham High School where she was the class valedictorian. Following graduation she taught at the Crum country school and attended Parsons College, later attending Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls, and receiving a BA from Coe College. In 1939, she took a teaching job in Shellsburg Iowa, where she met Van Elson and they were married in 1941. After the war, they farmed in the Shellsburg area for 3 years and then purchased a farm located between Urbana and Center Point. They lived there until Van's retirement in 1976, when they moved to Vinton. Mary taught elementary school a total of 34 school years, starting in Van Buren County country schools and later in Shellsburg, Urbana and finally in Vinton until her retirement in 1977. A highlight of her teaching career was teaching 3 generations of one family. Mary was active in the Iowa Federation of Women's Clubs, the Shellsburg Legion Auxiliary and the East Iowa Heirloom Quilters. Two years after her husband's death, Mary moved to the Oaknoll retirement center in Iowa City where she enjoyed playing the piano and helping with the vespers service. The family would like to thank the Oaknoll Health Care staff for the loving care given to Mary. She is survived by her son John (Theresa Ullerich) of Iowa City; grandson Niall Elson of San Francisco; nephews, Richard Nelson of Marion, Arkansas, Larry Nelson of Moreno Valley, California and Alan Mahan of Cantril, Iowa; and many grandnieces, grandnephews and their children. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Van; her sister Roberta; and her brother Glenn.