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Ethel Georgia King

Ethel Georgia King of North Liberty died on Saturday, June 27, 2009. Georgia was born to Addison Kistle and Louise (Unger) Kistle on July 28, 1923 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. She was the fourth of six children: Addison Junior (Bud), Elizabeth Kilibarda, Stella, Julia Gibson (Ithaca, N.Y.) and Eleanor Brown (San Mateo, Calif.). Georgia was preceded in death by her parents, husband Kent, brother Bud, and two of her sisters, Elizabeth and Stella.
Georgia graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs in 1941. She earned her bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Colorado in 1945, attended the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and Buena Vista College, and completed her master’s degree in English from Mankato State University in 1965.
From 1945 – 1948 Georgia taught in Lake Park, Iowa, where she met her husband Kent. Georgia and Kent were married on May 24, 1948 in Council Bluffs. They had four children: Kathy (Jim) Davis of North Liberty; Jeana (Chuck) King of Collins, Iowa; Jon of Salt Lake City, Utah; Kevin (Kyle) of Camanche, Iowa. By the time of her death Georgia had two grandchildren (Grant Davis and Jessica Petersen), and three step grandchildren (Geof and Matt Dunmore and Ashley Lange), and three step great grandchildren.
Georgia and Kent lived in a number of different towns in Iowa, New Mexico, Colorado, and Nebraska before moving to Mankato, Minn. in 1956. Georgia began teaching in the English Department at Mankato State University in 1965, and retired from there in 1982. After her husband Kent’s death in 1986, Georgia moved to North Liberty to be closer to her family. Georgia and Kent were married 38 years.
Until very recently, Georgia was able to indulge her passion for vegetable gardening, and she often would wear herself out during the first warm planting days of spring. Georgia also enjoyed University of Iowa sports —she was very poor company if Iowa wrestling was being broadcast on the radio or television. She always relished family gatherings, especially if these were accompanied by a picnic. Despite her dwindling energies, Georgia never lost her enthusiasm for fishing. Every year Georgia would spend one week fishing (often in a canoe) for bass and pan fish in northern Minnesota. She would cast plugs for bass until her wrists were limp and her elbows sore. And in her younger years she would walk trout streams for hours, always reluctant to quit, as she anticipated the excitement of the fish that were waiting for her around the next bend in the stream. Her body wore out before she lost her enthusiasm for life. In her last months she still was inclined to play on the floor with her great grandchildren.
Georgia carried with her a subtle, and usually unintentional, humor. She had an unorthodox style of dress that originated from a belief that any articles of clothing could be coaxed into a matching ensemble. Rather than chasing fashion, she let fashion chase her. Georgia belonged to a generation that has enduring memories of the Great Depression. Thus everything had value, from an old rusted washer she found in a street gutter to a wormy and bruised windfall apple. She loved unselfishly. If someone expressed admiration for one of her possessions, he or she soon was receiving an offer of a gift.
In spite of her advancing years, Georgia understood the heart of a child. She had a special knack in selecting just the right toys for her beloved great grandchildren Ana and Kane. She once bought a goofy lavender mechanical monkey that we thought would soon be on the back table of the next garage sale. Kane and Ana were delighted. They sang and danced with the monkey for years until its song and its dance were almost gone.
We will all remember how Georgia loved her family unconditionally, even when moments of selfishness, ill temper, thoughtlessness, impatience or arrogance made us considerably less lovable. May this memory remain in us, and if truly honored in our lives, perhaps it may also become our legacy.
Ever practical, Georgia registered with the University of Iowa’s Deeded Body Program. Therefore, memorial services will be scheduled at a later date.
Condolences may be sent to Kathy Davis, 3326 Ridgewood Country Ct., North Liberty, IA 52317 or davisjk@southslope.net. Memorials may be directed to The Alverno Health Care Facility, 849 13th Avenue North, Clinton, IA 52732.