Mrs. Alfred F. (Thelma) Moeller, Jr., 86, of Omaha, Neb., and a former longtime Remsen resident passed away peacefully Tuesday March 14, 2006, at Bergan Mercy Medical Center in Omaha, following a lingering illness.
The former Thelma Louise Banks was born Jan. 18, 1920, at rural Wausa, Neb., the daughter of Allen and Thelma (Collins) Banks. She attended a one room country school until 1929 when she and her parents left the farm in Nebraska and moved to Iowa. They lived in Akron for several years where she attended school, then moved to Yankton, S.D., where she graduated from high school in 1937. The family moved to Remsen in 1938, where Mr. and Mrs. Banks owned and operated the Vogue Motion Picture Theater.
Thelma, born with a talent for art, attended Yankton College for one year, the Ray-Vogue School of Art in Chicago, Ill., and then the National Business Training School in Sioux City. She was employed as a fashion illustrator and graphics artist for the T.S. Martin Department Store in Sioux City. Soon after World War II began, she was certified for Civil Service. She then did secretarial work at the Sioux City Air Base and Offices of Price Administration (O.P.A.) in Sioux City and Omaha until the end of the war.
Thelma and Alfred F. Moeller, Jr. were married Feb. 8, 1946 at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Remsen. She and her husband, a funeral director, established the Moeller Funeral Home at 608 Fulton Street in Remsen. They had three children, Allan, Mark, and Michele.
She sang in St. Paul Lutheran's Choir for 12 years, was a longtime member of the Federated Remsen Women's Club and had served as the secretary of the Remsen Public Library Board for 14 years. She was also a member of Iowa Artists.
Through the years she has donated most of her writing and artistic efforts to friends and family in the community. As a courtesy at the funeral home, she recorded vital statistics in calligraphy in each family's Funeral Record Book.
In 1973, she volunteered art work to the newly organized Remsen Publicity Committee, a community betterment group. She wrote and illustrated the "Up with Remsen" promotional columns in the Remsen Bell Enterprise newspaper and the 1973 article, "Remsen, Not a Town but a Way of Life." She designed two highway billboards, Oktoberfest coffee mugs, the original Oktoberfest dress, brochures, posters, and the Remsen Crest. In 1977 the Remsen Chamber of Commerce named her the "Citizen of the Year."
By special request of St. Mary's Church Clergy, she painted local scenes on 25 discarded renovation bricks, five of which were painted and sold each year at St. Mary's annual outdoor auction for five years.
In 1989, she wrote the script and designed the stage setting for Remsen's Centennial Pageant.
She designed a permanent calendar, named it "Country Memories" and had it printed as a fund raiser for the building fund at St. Paul Lutheran Church.
Her sketches of Remsen's three churches and her pencil portrait of Mary Jane Parriott were given to the Remsen Public Library.
By invitation, many of Thelma's paintings have been shown in art shows at Northwestern College in Orange City, Prairie Arts Gallery in Sheldon, the Le Mars Art Center in Le Mars and the Sanford Museum in Cherokee.
Her husband Fred died April 21, 2000, and shortly after his death Thelma moved to Omaha, where her daughter and son-in-law live.
Survivors include a son and his wife, Mark and Bonnie Moeller of Dover, N.H.; a daughter and her husband, Michele and Warren Wallin of Omaha, Neb.; and three grandsons, Spencer Moeller, Matthew Skidds, and Stephen Skidds, all of Rochester, N.H.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Allen and Thelma Banks; a son, Allan Moeller in 1987; and her husband Fred in 2000.
Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Remsen, with the Rev. Craig D. Miller officiating. Burial will be in the Remsen City Cemetery. Visitation will be after 3 p.m. Thursday at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Remsen, where there will be a prayer service at 7 p.m. Visitation will also be for one hour prior to the funeral on Friday morning at the church. The Feuerstein Funeral Home in Le Mars is assisting the family with arrangements.