Iola Gay Eckhoff, 75, of Sutherland, NE, passed away Tuesday, February 18, 2014, at Great Plains Regional Medical Center in North Platte, NE.
Iola was born December 12, 1938, to McKinnley “Kenny” and Dena Fern Rucker Goodwin at Wallace, NE. The family moved to Hershey, NE in 1941 where Iola attended school and graduated from Hershey High School in 1956.
On August 21, 1955, Iola married Melvin Alva Eckhoff at the United Methodist Church in Hershey and they moved to Sutherland in 1956, where they have resided ever since. To this union three children were born.
After the boys were in school, Iola went to work for Irl and Ruby Todd with the Sutherland Courier-Times Newspaper. She later became the Business Manager of the newspaper for several years after the Todd’s sold it. Iola later had the opportunity to be employed by the U.S. Postal Service for over 17 years. She then worked as Clerk-Treasurer for the Village of Sutherland for seven years until she retired. Iola was a member of the Sutherland United Methodist Church where she also played the organ.
Iola and Melvin enjoyed camping, boating and fishing at Lake McConaughy and the Sutherland Reservoir during the summers for over 25 years until Iola began having some health problems. They also liked to travel in their RV to the southwestern states during the winters.
Iola loved visiting Florida where her son, Randy, and his family lived for several years. She would go to Florida and bring her grandchildren home to Sutherland for several weeks during the summer.
In her earlier days, Iola enjoyed working in the flower garden and doing yard work. In later years she loved to sit and enjoy the flower garden that her husband and great-granddaughter tended to. Iola’s husband, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were the highlights of her life. She was happiest when they were close by and was so excited when she could keep her great-grandchildren; they were extra special in her heart.
Iola is survived by her husband of 58 years, Melvin, son, Randy (Brenda Hansmeier) Eckhoff; two grandchildren, Melissa Layne Eckhoff and Dustin Randall Eckhoff; two great-grandchildren, Aspen Bayleigh and William Dustin Lenz, all of Sutherland; a sister, Wanda Jenkins, of North Platte; a sister-in-law, Altene Goodwin, of Phoenix, AZ; and many nieces, nephews and other family.
She was preceded in death by her infant daughter, Nanette Marie Eckhoff; a son, Terry Lee Eckhoff; her parents, Kenny and Dena Goodwin; two sisters, Mary Russell and Cora Mae Whittaker; and two brothers, Lyle and C. Dale Goodwin.
Funeral service will be 2 p.m. Saturday, February 22, 2014, the Sutherland United Methodist Church with Pastor Kolawole ‘Kola’ Akinnigbagbe officiating. Burial will follow in the Riverview Cemetery south of Sutherland. Visitation will be 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at Odean Colonial Chapel at C & Sycamore which is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be shared at odeanchapel.com. Memorials are suggested to the Sutherland United Methodist Church, Sutherland Senior Center or the Sutherland Fire Department.