Lenora J. Speer
Lenora Julia (Melzer) Speer passed away on May 21, 2023 in Walnut Creek, California, where she had lived since July 2016 to be near family following the death of her husband. She was 92.
Lenora was the wife of Dr. Edward W. Speer, long time veterinarian in Stanwood, IA who died February 24, 2016. Married for over sixty-three years, Ed and Lenora were the parents of four children. It was Ed and Lenora’s wishes that they be buried next to each other in the township where they spent over sixty years of their lives.
Born November 23, 1930 in Topeka, Kansas, Lenora was the only child of Arthur and Elizabeth (Rees) Melzer. Lenora was educated in the Topeka public schools, and subsequently attended Kansas State University, Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ, and Washburn University of Topeka, where she was a member of the Delta Gamma sorority.
Lenora played piano from an early age, and played for her aunt’s wedding at the age of 12. Washburn University granted her full tuition scholarship to sight-read piano accompaniments for vocal students, and she played every weekend for the Veterans through her last year at college. After moving to Iowa, Lenora was a piano teacher, accompanist, and church organist all her adult life, including 26 years as organist for Peace Church of Christ United in Bennett, Iowa.
Lenora and Ed married in 1952 and moved to Stanwood, Iowa in November 1954 following completion of his service in the Air Force Veterinary Corps. Two boys, Tom and Brad, were born in March 1952 and June 1954; and two girls, Kris and Kym, arrived in March, 1958 and January, 1960 to complete the family. When Lenora’s children were grown, she returned to school to finish her college education, commuting from Stanwood to the University of Iowa in Iowa City where she received a Master of Arts degree in 1984. Following her graduation Lenora worked for Mechanicsville Nursing & Rehab near Stanwood, where she was employed for over 20 years.
Supportive of her husband’s profession, Lenora was a past President of the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association Auxiliary, and a past President of the Eastern Iowa Veterinary Medical Association Auxiliary. She also was a member of the American Guild of Organists (Blackhawk Chapter), a member of the American Association of University Women (Tipton branch), and board member of Cedar County Volunteer Services.
Lenora shared the love of flying with her husband, Ed, and their family flew a vintage Cessna 195 aircraft for many years. Besides trips to Kansas where both Lenora and Ed had grown up, the family made numerous trips around the Midwest and Southwest United States in the 195, plus a memorable family trip to Hudson Bay, Canada.
Lenora is survived by her children, Bradford (Janet) Speer of San Diego, CA, Kristin (Richard) Morgan of Belmont, CA, and Kymberly (Charles Cuda) Speer of Lafayette, CA; daughter-in-law Dr. Kathy Long of Poulsbo, WA; eight grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. Lenora was preceded in death by her husband Edward; son Thomas Speer, who died of renal cancer in November, 2022; her parents; and sisters-in-law, Dorcas Severance, Klonda Speer, and Laura Varney.
Donations in remembrance can be made to Peace Church of Christ United in Bennett, Iowa, the Cedar County Historical Society, or the charity of your choice.
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