Gwen C. Eilers

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Gwen Carole Eilers, 79, of Luana, died Friday, July 23, 2021, at Northgate Care Center, Waukon. Gwen was born May 3, 1942, in Palmer, Alaska, to Carl and Edithbelle (Heller) Wilson. From Palmer, the family moved to Fairbanks, Alaska. In 1954, Gwen's parents, her and her two brothers, Rocky and Terry, moved to Chena Hot Springs, travelling through wilderness and over mountains. She and her brothers were homeschooled by Edithbelle for a time. Gwen went to high school in Fairbanks and graduated from there. She attended college, beginning in Fairbanks and finishing at the Oklahoma College for Women, where she obtained her bachelor of arts in music, specializing in the piano. Gwen spent a good portion of her childhood growing up in the Alaskan bush while her family owned and maintained the Chena Hot Springs Resort. She wrote about her unique experiences while living at the Springs and published her memoir in 2019. She was very proud of her book and being able to share her experiences and stories. She has always been proud of her heritage and how it taught her to be fearless and independent.

 

While teaching elementary music in Lawton, Okla., she met Dennis Eilers. They were married at Chena Hot Springs on Oct. 20, 1968. The couple has two sons, Jon and David. The family lived in various places around the United States. Gwen raised her sons and took care of the family while working in various places where ever they lived. She was always proud of the fact that she raised two independent, capable boys. Eventually, she and Dennis moved to the Eilers family farm in Luana. Besides working on her book, Gwen also enjoyed working on family genealogy and history. She helped Dennis run The Iowa Photo Farm, Inc. She was an active member in the Clayton County Republican Party for many years. She also enjoyed gardening, ceramics, playing cards and, of course, music, especially playing the piano. She was a fantastic cook, and her family always enjoyed being together for meals, especially for the holidays. She loved to laugh and have fun.

 

Survivors include her sons, Jon Eilers and David (Brianne) Eilers; her brother, Rocky (Sandy) Wilson; sisters-in-law, Eileen (Tony) Dudek, Anita (Paul) Langholz and Denise Eilers; brothers-in-law, Jim Orr and Bill Bertrand; and many nieces and nephews.

 

She was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Terry; her husband, Dennis; sister-in-law, Karen Orr; brother-in-law, Gerald Eilers; sister-in-law, Margaret Rose (Eilers) Bertrand; and sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Betty Catherine and Steve Gysendorfer.

 

Memorial visitation will be Sunday, Aug. 8, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Leonard-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Monona.

 

Graveside service will be at 11 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 9, at Mt. Olivet, Guttenberg.

 

Leonard-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Monona, is helping the family with the arrangements.

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