Iva Kuster

Obituary of Iva Jo Kuster

Iva Josephine Hollenback was born in Spokane August 25, 1928. After seven children and having an obvious sense of humor, her parents Fred and Jennie (Roth) Hollenback allowed family members to drop name suggestions in a hat and Jennie “drew” the names. Iva wryly commented that she was happy not to have become “Christabel”. Iva lived with her family on Mica Peak for the first 13 years of her life. She had many stories of life during those lean years with her siblings, Mel, Mark, Orr, Tom, Margaret, and Ruth including; ‘it's not bootlegging if you're just trying to sell firewood’, gathering honey from wild bees, and dodging the game warden. She often talked about her parents being hailed out of Eastern Nebraska, dust bowled out of Western Nebraska, only to land in Spokane with a piano moving business at the beginning of the Depression. Thanks to her eldest brother, Mel, and his burgeoning farm the family moved to rural Washtucna in 1941 and Iva spent her high school years at Kahlotus with a class of five. She graduated as the valedictorian with an ability to remember history and sharpness with math that she applied her whole life. At the conclusion of the war, she met John Kuster (who was recently home from serving in Europe) at a Rimrock Grange dance where he took bets that he could get “that pretty girl” to go out on a date with him. He won the bet and the girl; they married August 31, 1946. After a short stint in Cheney and a try at running a dairy operation near Spangle, they returned to Washtucna to work for Joe Huddle. Five years later they started a fertilizer company and raised their children Gary, Dale, and Joni in town. Iva and John had such a strong sense of family that they informally adopted “second-hand” sons Tony Williams and Carl Blauert. Besides doing the books for the business, Iva spent twenty years volunteering as a Girl Scout and Cub Scout leader. She also volunteered with the American Cancer Society for twenty years spending five of those years as Adams County Chairman. She was a committed member of the Washtucna Church and Progressive Club. John was an active member of the Washtucna Lions Club and to her credit, Iva spent twenty years cooking for club events and, later, seventeen years traveling across the United States and Canada with John for conventions. Above all, Iva was a happy homemaker. She learned to cook when she was thrust into the position of head cook for George Stone’s harvest crew at the age of fourteen and never looked back. When the children left the nest she took the job of school cook and retired only after nineteen years. She was especially proud to have been chosen “Mother of the Year” in 1984 by the Home Economics students. Iva loved to travel and after John passed in 1996 she continued taking many trips across the country meeting new people and loved learning about American history. In 2009, Iva chose to move north to Paha to be nearer family. She quickly became involved in the Lind Community Church, a steady member of the Friends of the Ritzville Library, and was always in town for Friday morning hair appointments and grocery shopping. She is preceded in death by her husband, parents, siblings, infant son John, and Carl Blauert. She is survived by her children Gary (Wendy) Kuster of Spokane, Dale (Kathy) Kuster of Spokane, Joni (Rudy) Plager of Paha, Tony Williams of Anchorage, and “second-hand” granddaughter Stevie (Chad) Dezellem of Spokane. Her family also includes grandchildren: Ryan (Jen) Kuster, Julie (Shane) Delaney, Jennifer (Jeremy) Heimbigner, David (Amanda) Kuster, Morgane (Damon) Plager Roth, Jerad Plager, Daniel (Kristin) Kuster, Dane (Jenny) Dezellem, Tori (Kassidy) Dezellem, and Shayle (Ben) Ehlers; 18 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. Her greatest joys in life were being a wife and mother and watching her family grow. She adored making dinners for company and family. She always had a loaf of bread or pan of cinnamon rolls in the freezer for visitors that dropped in. Hosting people and events so defined her life that she chose to self-publish her own cookbook in 1981, “just so I didn’t have to copy down anymore recipes for people.” When she wasn’t in the kitchen she kept a meticulous yard that included her favorite flower, roses. The only grudge she ever held was for the deer that ate those roses. She will long be remembered for her wry wit, sparkling blue eyes, and the ease at which she could organize events whether it be a party, Christmas, or wedding. Her ducks (her family) were always kept in a row. With her cancer diagnosis and in the following months, Iva wanted to thank the people that provided excellent, loving care; Assured Hospice of Moses Lake, Cancer Care Northwest, East Adams Hospital District, Hometown Family Medicine, and Danekas Funeral Home. She passed peacefully at her home on the 8th of October. A private family burial at the Washtucna Cemetery will precede the public services 11:00 a.m. October 20th at the Washtucna Community Church. Cookie and coffee service will follow. The family asks that in lieu of flowers donations be made to either the Rimrock Grange (“Rimrock Grange Memorial” c/o Robert Jessop 755 SE Spokane Ave. Washtucna, WA 99371) or the Wheat Land Communities' Fair (PO Box 14 Ritzville, WA 99169). To leave online condolences please visit our website at www.danekasfh.com

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Celebration Of Life

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Saturday, October 20, 2018
Washtucna Community Church
705 Booth Ave
Washtucna, Washington, United States
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