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Thelma Haenfler


Thelma Ann (Johnson) Haenfler, 92, passed away peacefully on November 16, 2016, at the Sun Valley Lodge in Sun City, Arizona.

A private family Celebration of Life was held on November 23 in Surprise, Arizona. Burial will be in Jacksonville, Florida National Cemetery with her husband. Arrangements are being handled by Menke Funeral Home of Sun City.

Thelma was born on February 27, 1924, in Ida County, Iowa to Albert and Hilma (Carlson) Johnson. She grew up on a farm near Washta, Iowa, and she graduated from Washta Consolidated School in 1940.

She attended Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, earning a two year degree in 1942. She later completed her Bachelor’s degree from Bemidji State University in 1967.

On December 12, 1943, Thelma married Albert “Hap” Haenfler in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, before Hap was deployed to France during World War II. Three children were blessed to this union: Julie, Jean, and Jim.

Thelma was an elementary teacher in Galva, Iowa, and she later moved to Washta in 1954. There, she taught fourth grade for Willow Community School, retiring in 1979.

Hap and Thelma enjoyed spending summers on Leech Lake, Minnesota, with dear friends Jim and Jeanne Claypool and their family. They spent winters in Interlachen, Florida until 1999 when they moved to Satsuma, Florida year round.

She moved to Arizona in 2011 after Hap passed, to be near her daughters. She moved into the Sun Valley Lodge in 2013.

Thelma was a member of the United Methodist Church in Washta, She later joined the Trinity Presbyterian Church in Avon, South Dakota. She was also a member of the Eastern Star.

She enjoyed the computer, doing crossword puzzles, and reading. She loved spending time with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

She is survived by her two daughters, Julie (Dave) Jurgens and Jean (Craig) Schlinz, all of Surprise, Arizona; grandchildren Tracy (Ryan) Lester of Evergreen, Colorado; Tricia (Don) Banta of Indianapolis, Indiana; Jeremy Schlinz, Jennifer Schlinz, Emily Schlinz, all of the Phoenix area; and Brad Clement of Atlanta, Georgia; great-grandchildren Morgan Lester, Payton Lester, Brooke Banta, and Paige Banta; brothers Harry (JoAnn) Johnson of Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, and Nels (Joyce) Johnson of Washta, Iowa; a sister-in-law, Shirley Haenfler of Scottsdale, Arizona, and many nieces and nephews.

Thelma was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Hap on 10/28/2011; and her son Jim on 5/8/2012.

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