December 23, 1923 - September 16, 2023
Vera Eileen (Forburger) Erpelding, 99, passed away peacefully on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, at Kossuth Regional Health Center in Algona.
Born on the family farm in Wesley, Vera was the second daughter of Thomas J. and Mary (Bleich) Forburger. She was the sister of Alice, Ruth, Kenneth and Thomas V. Forburger. She attended elementary school at St. Joseph Catholic School in Wesley and graduated from Wesley High School in 1941. In high school, Vera played girls 6-on-6 basketball and led the team as a guard. Vera also had a love for music. She played the piano and guitar at church and at weekly Sunday family gatherings where her sisters and cousins would often join her with singing.
Smart and ambitious, Vera graduated from St. Joseph College of Nursing in Mason City in 1944, as a registered nurse. She worked as a nurse at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Mason City until Dec. 1944 and then at Kossuth County Hospital until June 1945.
Vera met her husband, Alphons “Al” Erpelding, through her sister Alice who was dating Al’s cousin Joe Krieps. Vera and Al were married June 27, 1945, in Starke, Fla. After Al returned home from his World War II service in the Army, they moved to a farm in Kossuth County. Eventually, they moved to a farm in Algona and raised their five children. Vera relished her role as a mom, farmer’s wife and community leader. In addition to caring for their children and home, she was known to always have desserts and food in the fridge for family members stopping by for a visit or farm hands who needed to be fed.
Vera was a member of Catholic Daughters of America in Wesley, the American Legion Auxiliary and VFW Auxiliary of Algona and St. Cecilia Catholic Church in Algona where she served as a financial member.
Never one to slow down, Vera, along with Al and four additional family members, designed and built Hillside Golf Course in Wesley in 1965. Vera was the general manager of the club for 23 years and conducted their Junior Golf program through 1990. She also taught golf for NIACC of Mason City for several years in the 90s. She continued to teach junior and adult private golf lessons through the spring of 2023. She was the bookkeeper for Hillside Golf Club and several other family enterprises for many years as well as the “go-for” for the family farming business.
In her free time, she enjoyed genealogy and creating memory scrapbooks for her grandchildren. Vera was an ardent lover of games. Whether it was a friendly round of golf or bowling, or a competitive game of cribbage or euchre, she played with gusto. Her spirit was both playful and fiercely competitive, and she loved nothing more than gathering friends and family around a game table.
Vera is survived by four children, Mary Ann Emerick of Waukee, Steven J. (Linda) Erpelding, Gary T. (Paula) Erpelding and David A. (Cindy) Erpelding, all of Algona; her 15 grandchildren, Jennifer (Scott) Kuntz, Sara (Mike Thomson) Emerick, Jake (Casey) Emerick, Paul Emerick IV, Allison (Joe) Burch, John (Emily) Erpelding, Lucas (Debra) Erpelding, MaLinda Erpelding, Jessica Emswiler, Gina Erpelding, Anna (Jesse) Merryman, Maria (Alex) Bleuer, Mollie Erpelding, Mike Erpelding and Mitch Erpelding. She is also survived by her 23 great-grandchildren, Adam and Caleb Kuntz, E.J. and Genevieve Burch and Charlie and Andi Emerick, Taylor, Lydia, Brynlie and Addyline Erpelding, Lillian and Charlotte Wickman, Zachary, Tyler, and Jacob Erpelding, Garrett Splitt, Avah, Olivia and Hailee Merryman, Laelah and McKenna Crawmer, Xander and Isabella Bleuer. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews, cousins and special friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Al on March 11, 2003, a son, John T. Erpelding in 1948; her sisters, Alice Krieps (1950) and Ruth Youngwirth (2009) and her brothers, Thomas Forburger (2001) and Kenneth Forburger (2002) and twin great-grandsons William and Peter Emerick (2017).
Those who knew her, loved her, and those who met her found her fascinating and inspiring. For those she loved, they will carry with them that she loved them more.
A funeral Mass will be held Friday, Sept. 22, at 10:30 a.m., at Divine Mercy Parish - St. Cecelia Catholic Church, Algona, with her cousins, Monsignor Russell Bleich and Father Mike Kellogg officiating. The Funeral will be livestreamed on the Divine Mercy YouTube page. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, at Oakcrest Funeral Services of Algona.
In lieu of flowers, donations will be made to local scholarships that promote nursing, fine arts and/or farming. Oakcrest Funeral Services of Algona in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be made to www.oakcrestfuneralservices.com.