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Jervae Downing

Jervae Downing, 77, of Anthon, Iowa, passed away on Wednesday, December 9, 2020, at the Willow Dale Wellness Village of Battle Creek, Iowa.

A Memorial Service was be held at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at the United Church of Christ of Oto, Iowa.  Pastor Karen Handke officiated. Committal Services followed in the Mount Hope Cemetery of Battle Creek, Iowa.

The Armstrong – Van Houten Funeral Home of Anthon, Iowa is in charge of the funeral arrangements. Condolences may be sent online to

Jervae was born in Battle Creek, Iowa on May 8, 1943, to Carlton and Blanche (Lochner) Van Houten.

She grew up on a farm located between Battle Creek and Cushing, Iowa, where she received her education and graduated from Cushing High School. After high school she enrolled into beauty school where she got her Cosmetology degree.

As an adult she tried her hand in a variety of different careers, embracing each one with dedication and spirit.

Throughout Jervae’s life she found joy in riding horses, crocheting, singing, being with her sisters, and listing to her brothers Gaylen and Merlin sing and play in a band.  She was a devoted mother, grandmother, and friend who treasured spending time with family.

Jervae has spent the past 30+ years with her best friend and companion Butch, where they continued to make endless memories. Together they enjoyed gardening, fishing, camping and an occasional trip or two to the casino.

Jervae loved watching her grandkids and her great grandkids play sports, collecting Budweiser mugs, chocolate, Pepsi and her dog Homer.

Her special love was her Cubs baseball team! One year her girls surprised her and took her to Chicago to watch them play ball. She was beyond elated!  Every year Jervae, her daughters and granddaughters had a baking day where she taught them how to make homemade noodles and countless candies and cookies. Her specialty was homemade chicken and noodles and no-bake cookies.

Left to treasure her memory are her daughters: Dawn (Rich) Hysell of Sioux City, IA; Dana (Tim Kollbaum) Wendt of Turin, IA; Dena (Jon Kelsheimer) Deeds of Anthon, IA; and Denise (Justin) Nelson of Brandenburg, KY; 11 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren; her brothers: Gaylen (Marilyn) Van Houten, Merlin Van Houten, and Lorton “Denny” (Linda) Van Houten; her Chosen life partner, Butch Handke and his sons Marvin (Gina) Handke, Paul (Kim) Handke and Craig (Lori) Handke; and extended family and friends.

Jervae was preceded in death by her parents; her sisters, Anita Van Houten, Lila Volkmann, and Lynelle Van Houten; her brother, Vernon Van Houten, her great-grandson, Angel Wiskus; and an honorary family member, Kyle Heck.

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