Cover photo for Stella Lavina Bexten's Obituary
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1930 Stella Bexten 2024

Stella Lavina Bexten

June 2, 1930 — June 28, 2024

Manilla

Stella Lavina Bexten, born on June 2, 1930, to Frank A. and Anna (Rau) Kloewer near Westphalia, Shelby County, Iowa, passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family, at her home in Manilla on Friday, June 28, 2024, at the age of 94.

Stella attended Westphalia schools through seventh grade and continued her education at St. Paul’s Catholic School in Defiance, graduating with the class of 1948. On September 11, 1950, she married Joseph H. Bexten at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Defiance. Together, they were blessed with 13 children. The family moved several times to accommodate their growing numbers, living in Portsmouth, Defiance, Dunlap, and Battle Creek before settling in their final home in Manilla in 1980.

Stella was dedicated to her work and family throughout her life. She worked at the Manilla Manor Nursing Home from 1976 to 1993, demonstrating unwavering commitment and compassion. Stella was an active member of Sacred Heart Church, contributing to the Altar and Rosary Society and Catholic Daughters of the Americas. She enjoyed crocheting special keepsakes, playing cards, and cooking and baking for her family. Stella also loved her weekly card competitions with the Nishna Valley Club. She often talked about the money she won and lost during these games, always delighted when she came out ahead. Her card club friends were very special to her, and she truly valued their friendship. The wrap-around porch and her beautiful flowers were the focal points of Stella's home, a cherished spot where she spent many hours swinging, admiring her garden, and catching up with family and friends.

Stella's greatest joy was nurturing her children and watching them grow and succeed. Her home was always filled with love, warmth, and laughter, creating a haven for her family. Stella's affectionate and kind-hearted nature endeared her to everyone who knew her. She never forgot a special memory and made it a point to mail cards to her loved ones, timing them perfectly to arrive on their special day. She was the proud matriarch, cherishing each moment spent with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Over the decades, she lovingly provided all her grandkids with Hallmark ornaments, creating treasured memories and family traditions.

Stella was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Joseph Bexten; four infant children; her son, John Bexten; infant grandson, Robbie Freund; infant great-granddaughter, Harlow Schrage; her sisters, Rita (Mark) Leinen and Marie Block-Smith (Herman Block and Perry Smith); her brothers, Eugene Kloewer, Gerald Kloewer, and Roman Kloewer; and her sister-in-law, Marlys Kloewer.

She is survived by her children: Jerry Bexten (Karen) of Omaha, Nebraska, Jim (Hilde) Bexten of Woodbine, Anne (Tim) Knoblauch of Urbandale, Mary (Mike) Freund of Denison, Rose (Brett) Rold of Brayton, Joan (John) Neuner of Rich Fountain, Missouri, Patty (Mark) Mebruer of Rich Fountain, Missouri, and Jeff (Misty) Bexten of Grand Island, Nebraska; her daughter-in-law, Mary Ellen Bexten of Manilla; 36 grandchildren; 50 great-grandchildren, with three more on the way; her sisters, Sister Fran Kloewer of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Margaret (Raphael) Grote of Dunlap; her brothers, Charles (Rosie) Kloewer of Mapleton and Mike Kloewer of Manilla; her sisters-in-law, Kathleen Kloewer of Panama and Pauline Kloewer of Harlan; and many nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.

A prayer service will be held at 4:30 p.m., with visitation following from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and a rosary at 7:00 p.m., on Tuesday, July 2, 2024, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Manilla. Her Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 3, 2024, also at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Manilla, with interment to follow in the Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to the family.


 

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Prayer Service

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

4:30 - 5:00 pm (Central time)

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Visitation with Family Greeting Friends

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

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Rosary

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

7:00 - 7:15 pm (Central time)

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Mass of Christian Burial

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

10:30 - 11:15 am (Central time)

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Interment

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