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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 interment 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. 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 in 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 were 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 showed 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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Memories Timeline


  1. The family of Florian and Eileen Winter send our Deepest Condolences at this time. You are all in our thoughts.

  2. I worked with Elaine for 3 years at Good Sam. She was an excellent nurse and she loved her job! I loved working with her.

  3. Our Deepest Sympathy to the entire family of Elaine. Lossing a parent is always difficult. but when the last one goes it gives you a real empty feeling for awhile, but always hold deep in your hearts tbe find memories. Prayers and Thoughts are with you during this time of loss. James & Lyn (Meissen) Bailey

  4. Our Deepest Sympathy to the Bodenstreiner family. Becky, my heart goes out to you and your family in this time of loss. It’s hard to not be able to be by the side of a loved one during this crazy time in our world. Your Mom and Dad were both wonderful people. It was our pleasure to get to know them when we had Cozy Van. May God wrap his arms around everyone of you and comfort you during this sad time. Blessings upon you all. MaryAnn & Jim Diesburg

  5. Our deepest sympathy to all of Elaine’s family. Keep her memory alive and tell lots of stories! John & ZoAnn Bear

  6. Thinking of all of ‘Elainebell’s’ family and sending our thoughts and prayers to each of you! She was one special lady with the biggest and most generous heart out there! I will sure miss our poker parties and hearing her crazy stories! We could always count on her for some good laughs. :). Love- Mike, Jenny and Grahm

  7. Mrs. B what can I say?? Working with you at both New Hampton and West Union !! My favorite memory was when she got to the airport in CR and had a script for a narcotic in her POCKET!!! Of course if didn’t have her name it was someone else 😂😂such a loving and caring person. I am a better person/nurse because of her ♥️ Thoughts and prayers to the family she was AMAZING!!

  8. My deepest sympathy to Becky, Donna and all of the Bodensteiner family. Keeping you in my prayers. Rose Baltes

  9. Sympathies to Elaine”s family. I was a LPN who went back to NICC to get my RN. I graduated with Elaine in that class of December “92. She was a lot of fun in our close knit class and so compassionate with patients. RIP, Elaine.

  10. To all of Elaine’s Family. Our deepest sympathy to you all. When Larry and I were first married, we lived next door to Elaine’s parents, Ben and Evelyn Pechota. Their whole Family is made up of amazing and caring people, just like their parents. Keep all of your wonderful memories close in your hearts!! Larry and Darlene Throndson

  11. Elaine and I were 2nd cousins exactly 6 months to the day apart in age. Elaine was the younger, we had many sleepovers growing up. I have been praying for her ever since I heard about her earlier strokes. She and Killian raised their family with love. Sending sympathy to the family.

  12. Growing up across the road from The Bodensteiners my siblings and I spent a lot time at their house. Our parents were great friends, Elaine was always a welcoming presence with a big smile. There will be some great card games going on in heaven. RIP Bev Drilling-Rustad

  13. We are very sorry to learn of the loss of Elaine, she was always cheerful and bubbly. Mike, Randy, Lynnie – and all of your siblings have our deepest sympathy.

  14. Jenny those pics are wonderful, thanks for sharing! Mom had a special place in her heart for Graham…And of course loved to play poker!

  15. This is Arlene Foreman Dougherty. I babysat for her as a teenager. I was a classmate of Mary Bohr. And I played Bridge with her in Decorah. She was such a happy person and very proud of her family. You have my sympathy!

  16. I wish to express my sympathy to all family members of Elaine. It has been many years since I last saw her but I remember her as a kind kind person who always had a smile and a “hello” to everyone she met. I am sure your family has lots of great memories. You have my deepest sympathy at this difficult time. Luann Schmitt

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