Lela M. Zepp
Lela M. Zepp, 98. of Ottumwa died Thursday, October 3, 2019 at Vista Woods Care Center. She was born September 6, 1921 on a farm near Martinsburg, Iowa to Harry John and Ida Clarice Chacey Braden.
A graduate of Martinsburg High School, Lela attended Central College in Pella and taught sixth grade in the Gilman School District for three years. She then became a meteorological aide in the United States Weather Bureau working in the airports at Pueblo and Denver, CO. and Sioux City, IA. In Sioux City she broadcast weather reports over WGN radio.
Lela and Rex Elbert Zepp were united in marriage April 17, 1948 in the Martinsburg Methodist Church by the Reverend Lawrence Hight. She was a homemaker for twenty-five years. Her husband was killed in the crash of a KC-135 military aircraft January 17, 1968. After Colonel Zepp's death and after her younger son completed high school, Lela graduated from Reynolds Institute of Business in Riverside, CA., moved to Colorado Springs, CO. and worked as a secretary at Fort Carson and The Winslow Court Retirement Community in that city. She moved to Ottumwa in 1998 and lived there until her passing.
In addition to her husband she was preceded in death by her younger son, Roger Alan Zepp, who was killed in an automobile accident in Colorado July 17, 1996; her older son, Larry Gaylin Zepp who died December 16, 2013 in Ottumwa, IA; her daughter-in-law, Susie Zepp of San Antonio, TX. January 15, 2002; her parents; her brother, Glenn Braden and her sister-in-law, Wilma Braden.
She is survived by a grandson, Larry Rex Zepp, his wife, Sarah and two step-great-granddaughters, Hannah and Bethany of San Antonio, TX; a granddaughter, Stephanie Michelle Hierholzer, her husband, Faron, a great grandson, Heston Cade Hierholzer, a step-great granddaughter, Kimberly Hierholzer all of Boerne, TX.; and a step-granddaughter, Sabrina Williams and her children, Vanessa, Brittany and Gerald Williams IV of Sparks, Nevada.
Also surviving are three nieces, Joyce Millikin of Hedrick; Janet Dunaway of Freeport, IL. and Kathleen Sterling of Batavia and their families; plus many relatives by marriage on the Zepp side of the family.
Lela enjoyed scrapbooking and putting together photo albums. She had many traveling adventures. She also was an avid reader, still ordering new books to add to her collection. Lela was a generous contributor to many charitable organizations; the military was especially important to her.
She was a member of the Gold Star Wives of America; the Society of Military Widows; the Women's Club of Ottumwa and the Hospice Auxiliary of Wapello County.
Funeral services were held Tuesday, October 8, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. in the Fremont Funeral Chapel with the Reverend Michael Elrod of the Hedrick-Martinsburg United Methodist Church officiating. The Fremont Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements. Visitation began Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. and continude until time of service. Burial will be in Memorial Lawn Cemetery next to her husband and son, Roger. Her son Larry is buried in Boerne, TX. next to his wife, Susie.
Memorials may be made to The Hospice Auxiliary of Wapello County or The Iowa Special Olympics.
Published on October 9, 2019


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Ava, Nick, Dori and Paul Cresanta
Nov 27, 2019
My mother and Lela were good friends in Colorado Springs, and after my mother passed away, Lela and my family became close. I have some precious pictures of Lela holding my baby twins, who are now 25 years old. We live in Denver, but about every time we came down to the Springs we'd stop in to see Lela. She was a wonderfully warm and incredibly intelligent friend. I stayed in touch with her after she moved to Iowa. We got a Christmas card with a letter from her two years ago while she was living in the assisted living facility in Iowa, but we didn't hear from her last year. Wondering about her, I found her obituary today and am very saddened. I'll always cherish our special friendship. Lo...ve to you, Lela, always.Read more