Lona Iona Fawcett (1902-1973)
Lona Iona Fawcett was born on 28 Jun 1902 in Sac City, Sac, Iowa as the only child of Harry Allen Lawrence Fawcett and Barbara Mary Meyer. She was so tiny when she was born that she fit into a shoe box. She never did get very tall. As an adult she stood only 4’9″ tall. She grew up in Sac County, Iowa during her youth.
When she was 17, Lona married Thomas Leland Estes, son of John Thomas Estes and Zelpha Lou McCall, on 30 Sep 1919 in Sac City, Sac, Iowa. A story was told that Lona and Tom were caught kissing in the barn, so her parents insisted they get married.
Thomas Leland Estes and Lona Iona Fawcett had seven children:
- Thelma Marie Estes was born on 31 Dec 1920 in Sac City, Sac, Iowa. She married Elmer Everett Peterson on 11 Nov 1940 in Austin, Mower, Minnesota during what later became known as the Armistice Day Blizzard. She died on 15 Jan 2004 in Rochester, Olmsted, Minnesota.
- Thomas Duane Estes was born on 13 Jan 1923 in Freeborn, Minnesota. He married Dorothy Mae Murphy in Austin, Mower, Minnesota. He died on 17 Apr 1985 in Austin, Mower, Minnesota.
- James Milo Estes was born on 22 Apr 1927 in Ellendale, Steele, Minnesota. He married Shirley Lillian Wood on 25 Oct 1948 in Sioux Falls, Minnehaha, South Dakota. He died on 11 Mar 1968 in Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota.
- Charles Allen Estes was born on 22 Apr 1927 in Ellendale, Steele, Minnesota. He married Mary Lou Miller on 04 Dec 1948 in Austin, Mower, Minnesota. He died on 03 Jun 2009 in Albert Lea, Freeborn, Minnesota.
- Marjorie Lavon Estes was born on 21 Jun 1929 in Freeborn, Minnesota. She married Bryan Fulton Stewart on 07 Sep 1952. She died on 14 Oct 2004 in Bradenton, Manatee, Florida.
- Donald Eugene Estes was born on 31 Jan 1934 in Freeborn, Minnesota. He married Margaard Enderle on 12 Oct 1957 in Augsburg, Bayern, Germany. He died on 24 Nov 1994 in San Antonio, Bexar, Texas.
- Donna Rae Estes was born in Oakland, Freeborn, Minnesota. She married David Jerome Christianson in Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church, Austin, Mower, Minnesota.
Tom and Lona, as well as Lona’s parents, left Iowa in the early 1920s and moved to southern Minnesota. They farmed, but did not own their own farm so they often had to move each year to a different rental farm. When the depression hit, the family fell on very hard times. They lost all of their milking cows, they had five children already, and they were without income for a long time.
Eventually things got better for the country and for the Estes family, but it took a while. The family still struggled as they had two more children, lost everything in a house fire, and worked many jobs. Both Tom and Lona spent time working in the onion fields in Hollandale, Minnesota. Lona also worked in a laundry for a while and once had a job, in a chicken processing plant, plucking chickens.
When the depression ended and the country entered World War II, Lona had to send her oldest son off to war. Later their middle daughter served in the WACS and their youngest son joined the Army.
Things really turned around for the family in 1942 when Tom got into Hormel’s where the pay was steady and excellent. He worked there until his retirement. They eventually bought a house in Austin, Minnesota where they lived for the rest of their lives.
Lona and Tom enjoyed traveling and fishing. Starting in about 1948, they took frequent fishing trips to Tusler’s Cabins on Baby Lake near Hackensack, Minnesota.
They also traveled throughout the country. There were frequent trips to Iowa, Missouri and Texas to visit friends and family. They traveled to Oklahoma, North Carolina, California and Panama to visit their son, Don, when he was stationed in those places with the Army. They traveled to Massachusetts and Florida to visit their daughter, Marge, who had settled far away from Minnesota. And, for several years, Tom and Lona wintered in Texas.
After Tom’s death, Lona continued to live at their house. Her mother, Barbara, eventually lived there too until she passed away on 24 March 1972. Lona lived alone at the house until her last few months of life.
Lona Iona Fawcett Estes died on 30 Nov 1973 in Austin, Mower, Minnesota at age 71. She was buried on 03 Dec 1973 in Grandview Cemetery, Austin, Mower, Minnesota beside her husband and next to her parents.
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