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Venita Shirlene Kirby was born March 4, 1930 north of Gravity, Iowa at a place called Oak Hill to Oma Winifred (Brown) and Lawrence Clyde Kirby. She was welcomed to their home by a sister, Oma LaVon and a brother, Virgil Edwin.
She started school at a country school southeast of Bedford, Iowa and later attended Conway consolidated school, rural school west of Diagonal and then Diagonal High School. During her high school years, she worked in Beemer Drug store and for D D Dolecheck Grocery store. In 1947 Venita met Leonard Sobotka and they were married June 14, 1947 and engaged in farming on a farm south of Diagonal. In 1948 they purchased a farm southeast of Clearfield where they lived and raised their children, daughters Connie Sue and Karen Rae, and son Duane Lee.
Leonard and Venita established Sobotka Landscaping and Excavating. Venita became a nurses' aid and worked in Ringgold County Hospital in Mount Ayr and later at the Greater Community Hospital in Creston, Iowa. They built a new home in Clearfield in 1966. Venita was always involved in community work and loved doing things for others. She was active in church work as a Sunday school teacher, a girls 4-H Club leader as well as Boy Scouts den mother. Venita was a 64-year member of the Clearfield Unit #97 American Legion Auxiliary where she served as Unit President, Taylor County President, and 7th District President. She also served as Americanism Chairman and Junior American Legion Auxiliary leader for many years. She worked as a bookkeeper in Clearfield's MFA elevator for several years. She lost her husband, Leonard, to cancer September 29, 1973, after 26 years of marriage.
In 1976 Venita moved to Fairfield Bay, Arkansas where she purchased a Gift Shop and later added two more. On October 24, 1978 Venita was married to Ernest (Ernie) Schmidt. They were owners of rental homes and a barbeque restaurant. Pursuing more interests, they moved VEES BBQ to Hot Springs Arkansas. They traveled to Florida every year and enjoyed a trip to Hawaii. After 22 years of marriage Ernie developed cancer and passed away June 20, 1999.
She attended the Church of Christ in Hot Springs but kept her membership and interest in her Clearfield Christian Church where she had been baptized.
Her son, Duane, joined her in her home where they looked after each other until his passing June 23, 2017. Moving closer to her Daughters at the Clearview Assisted Living in Mount Ayr, Iowa she enjoyed getting reacquainted with old friends and family.
She passed away peacefully after being transferred for care at University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City on August 21, 2018 at the age of 88 years.
Venita was preceded in death by her parents; parents-in-law Edward and Frances Sobotka; sister LaVon Lange; brother Virgil Kirby; brothers-in-law Donald Sobotka, David Sobotka and Ivan (Butch) Sobotka; sisters-in-law Mildred Sobotka and Norma Jean Lumbard; son-in-law Dennis Cooper; and son Duane Sobotka.
Left to cherish her memory are daughters, Connie Cooper of Bedford and Karen and husband Mike Schaefer of Maloy; seven grandchildren Jackie (Peter) Cooper-Bennett, Wendy (Matt) Poore, Darcie (Neil) Cooper, Devan Cooper, Jennifer (Billy) Bell, Billy (Suzi) Schaefer, and Timothy (Jennifer) Schaefer; fifteen great-grandchildren Aidan & Noah Cooper-Bennett, Breia & Mallory Bell, Danielle (Kurtis Norwood) Poore & Kirsten Poore, Sadie & Nathanial Cooper, Samantha, Loryn, Natalie, & Tate Schaefer, and Katelyn, Tyler & Colton Schaefer; two great-great grandchildren Adelynn Wahlstedt and Levi Norwood; three sisters-in-law Dorothy Kirby, Lois Anne Sobotka, & Sharon Sobotka; brother-in-law Roy Lumbard; many nieces, nephews and friends.
Venita loved flowers, mountains, nature and people! Her guideline was Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Funeral Service: 4:00 p.m. Sunday, August 26, 2018 – Clearfield Christian Church – Clearfield, Iowa
Officiant: Pastor Sherry Wiley
Open Visitation: 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday, August 25, 2018 – Armstrong Funeral Home – Mount Ayr, Iowa
Visitation With Family Present: 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sunday, August 26, 2018 – Clearfield Christian Church – Clearfield, Iowa
Burial: Diagonal Cemetery – Diagonal, Iowa
Memorials: Clearfield Christian Church – Clearfield, Iowa
Connie and family, I just wanted to say how sorry we are for the loss of your mother. Unfortunately, we did not have the privilege to know your mother, but if she was anything like you...she was the sweetest. May you find comfort in your memories and support from your family and friends. Our condolences on your loss...Brian, Susie, Cameron & Courtney
Susie Nelson Aug 26 2018 12:00 AM
I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. My sympathies to all of her family.?
Lynne Votava Maben Aug 22 2018 12:00 AM