Sara Gustafson

Sara Gustafson

1975 - 2024

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Obituary of Sara Gustafson

Sara Ann Gustafson, 48, of Iowa City, passed away Friday, April 5, 2024, at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics after a long battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  A celebration of life will take place on July 6.  In lieu of flowers, memorials can be directed to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Always and Furever Midwest Animal Sanctuary, or Planned Parenthood.

Sara was born April 16, 1975, in Heidelberg, Germany, to parents Paul and Emma (Lippincott) Gustafson. When she was three years old, her family relocated to Fort Huachuca army base in Arizona. The family would later settle in Mason City, Iowa. Sara graduated from Mason City High School in 1993, and enjoyed participating in an exchange program to Sweden and, along with her mom, hosting international students from Japan, Germany, and France. She attended Central College in Pella, Iowa for a semester before leaving to care for her ailing mother. In 1995 Sara had her only child, Aliyah, who was the center of her universe and greatest joy in her life.

Kind-hearted and generous, with the patience of a saint, Sara loved dogs and was an advocate for domestic violence survivors, fighting cancer, and dog rescue. She enjoyed traveling, especially to New Jersey to visit family.   Sara was a fan of New York Giants football and the Iowa Hawkeyes, and closely followed Aliyah's athletic success with the Iowa City High Little Hawks and the Bowling Green State University Falcons.

Sara leaves behind her daughter Aliyah Gustafson; best friend, Jessie Garcia; sister Karen Gustafson (Lydiaque Hounkpatin); nephew and nieces Gustavus, Gabriela, Gilmara, and Gisela de Andrade; half-niece Michelle Trevisan; and numerous cousins, extended family, and friends in New Jersey and around the Midwest.

She was preceded in death by her parents, half-sister Carol Gustafson Day, beloved New Jersey aunts, paternal uncle and aunts, and her cherished dogs Mimi and Mia.