Elaine Bodensteiner

Elaine Bodensteiner


Elaine M. Bodensteiner, age 85 of St. Lucas, IA died on Mother’s Day, May 10th, 2020 at the Barthell Eastern Star Nursing Home in Decorah, IA from complications of a stroke suffered on July 21st, 2017.

A private family wake and burial service will be held on Friday, May 15th, 2020 with internment at St. Luke’s Cemetery, St. Lucas Iowa.

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions a memorial mass and a celebration of life will be held at a later date. Hugeback Johnson Funeral Home and Crematory is entrusted with arrangements.  Please leave online condolences for the Bodensteiner family at hugebackfuneralhome.com

Elaine Mary Bodensteiner was born December 2,1934 on the family farm two miles north of Little Turkey, IA, the oldest daughter of Ben and Evelyn (Koudelka) Pechota. She received her education at the Utica Country School #7 and graduated from Rudolphinium Catholic High School, Protivin, in 1952. After high school Elaine worked at St. Joseph Hospital in New Hampton, IA as a nurse’s aide.

While at a dance in Spillville IA, Elaine met the love of her life, Kilian Bodensteiner. They were united in marriage on Monday, February 14,1955 at Assumption Church in Little Turkey, IA. The couple was blessed with nine children, which they raised on their family farm three miles southeast of St. Lucas where they resided for their entire married life.

Elaine resumed her career in nursing in 1967 as a nurse’s aide at the Good Samaritan Society in West Union IA. In 1990 she enrolled into the Associate Nursing program at NICC. She had many concerns about completing the program due to changes in technology and the challenging course work. With determination, perseverance, and encouragement from her husband and family, she graduated in December of 1992, all while continuing to work at her job as a nurse’s aide. Colleen Busta, her lifelong friend, made her graduation day from N.I.C.C. extra special by singing at the ceremony, just as she did at Elaine and Kilian’s wedding in 1955.


Elaine began her R.N. career at the Good Samaritan Nursing Home, West Union in 1993 before eventually retiring in 2008, working a total of 41 years at her beloved “Good Sam” nursing home. She continued her devotion to the nursing profession by working part-time for five additional years at other long-term care facilities in the area before finally retiring for good in 2013.

Her love for geriatrics eventually came full circle, when she chose to take care of her husband Kilian in their home during the last two years of his life, aided by many helpful caretakers.

Elaine’s compassion and dedication to the nursing profession was unparalleled. She served as an inspiration to her many co-workers, classmates, friends, and family members. She was especially proud that her six daughters all followed in her footsteps in various healthcare occupations.

Elaine was an avid reader, enjoyed flower gardening, and watching sports. She had a passion for Bridge and was a loyal member of two area bridge clubs in Lawler and Decorah. She also loved a friendly game of poker, especially when the stakes were high. She enjoyed attending her grandchildren’s activities, and spending time with family and friends.

Elaine and Kilian enjoyed traveling, especially visiting their families in Texas, Washington, Minnesota, California, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Their goal was to attend as many baptisms, first communions, confirmations, graduations (high school and college), and weddings of their grandchildren as they possibly could.

Her love for her children was deep and unconditional. She kept up on their accomplishments and her grandchildren’s as well. She loved sending cards, letters, and gifts to everyone. “Grandma B” was generous to a fault. She felt her role as wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother was her most important job.

She was an active member of the St. Lucas Rosary Society, the American Legion Auxiliary, a 50-year member of the Catholic Daughters, and a life-long member of St. Luke’s Catholic Church.

Elaine’s survivors include her nine children: Barb (Tommy) Howe, Houston, TX, Lynnie (John) Reicks, Lawler, IA, Mike (Laura), Washington, TX, Kathy (Stan) Jirak, Monroe, WA, Becky (Jeff) Eichenberger, New Hampton, IA, Randy, Gonvick, MN, Julie (Marty) Ungerer, West Salem, WI, Jack (Sherri), Nederland, TX, and Terri Arends, Mason City, IA; twenty-seven grandchildren, twenty-three great-grandchildren with two more on the way, three sisters, Betty Hadacek, Protivin IA; Jeanne (Jim) Bohr, Protivin, IA, and Donna (Loren) Dietzenbach, New Hampton, IA and one sister-in law, Dolores Cuvelier, Lawler, IA along with her many nieces and nephews. 

Elaine was preceded in death by her husband Kilian on February 7, 2017, brothers and sisters-in-law, Charles Hadacek, Bob Cuvelier, Henry and Janet Bodensteiner, and Greg and Bernice Hauer.

Elaine’s family would like to extend a special thank you to all the caretakers, nurses, and medical professionals for the wonderful care and many acts of kindness shown to her during her lifetime.

While her family was unable to be present at her side during her final days because of the COVID-19 restrictions, they will always be extremely grateful for the care and love shown to Elaine by the staffs of Barthell Eastern Star Nursing Home and the Winneshiek County Home Health and Hospice Agency during these challenging times.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests sending contributions in Elaine's memory to any of the following: St. Luke’s Catholic Church, St. Lucas Historical Society, or the American Legion, Post 691.  


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