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Beverly Jane Wooddell

Beverly Jane Wooddell went to be with her Lord peacefully in the presence of her family at home on the morning of Saturday, August 5, 2023, at the incredible age of 95.

Beverly, or as she sometimes joked, Beaverly, saying it with her two front teeth prominently showing like a beaver, was born in Colfax, Iowa, to Pearl Allison and Lottie Jane Bauer in 1928.

In 1936 she moved to Prairie City, Iowa, and, as a freshman at Prairie City High School, met her high school sweetheart, Wayne Wooddell. They married on June 15, 1945, and were lovingly married until his passing in 1999.

The couple moved to Des Moines in 1946 where they eventually built their family, adopting their children Kevin and Lori as babies. Beverly continually said that the only thing she wanted to be in life was a mother. She was thrilled when she was able to adopt and become a stay-at-home mom until Kevin and Lori were in high school.

Before then, Beverly worked as a secretary to the President of Banker’s Life using her incredible shorthand writing skills. After that she became the secretary to the Minister of Music at Westminster United Presbyterian Church. Her dedication to Westminster and her Lord were unwavering and a big part of her life. She participated at Westminster as a Deacon, Sunday school teacher, long-term choir member, and artist who frequently created paintings to hang in the sanctuary as a part of their seasonal displays.

Always light-hearted, sweet, and laughing, Beverly loved to be social by attending local dances several times a week into in her upper 80s, calling her friends regularly, getting together for lunch, and traveling. In addition to her well-known painting abilities, she also loved chocolate, sewing, and crafting. She taught an art class for many years at Wesley Acres after she retired.

Her sense of humor was uncanny and unexpected! You never knew how this beautiful and sweet woman was going to surprise you! She could unexpectedly show up at your office dressed as a witch for Halloween to hand out candy, dress up as a Playboy bunny to serve you and your date dinner at home before a dance, or sit down for Thanksgiving dinner with a two-liter bottle of Dr Pepper in front of her to swig out of instead of using a glass!

Out of all her talents, Beverly is best known for her paintings. Besides her family and God, painting was the love of her life. She loved to paint nature, especially birds, and always had a painting or two going, even up until last fall. Few knew of her love for Grant Wood and her dedication to educating others about him. She painted a replica of his well-known American Gothic painting and took it to local venues dressed up as Nan, the woman shown in the American Gothic painting, in clothing that she sewed herself. It was through Nan’s perspective that Beverly presented the history of Grant Wood. As a part of her fascination, she once ate lunch sitting next to his grave in Anamosa, Iowa.

Beverly’s talents, sense of humor, thoughtfulness, sweetness, laughter, and determination made her one of a kind. She will be FOREVER missed!

Beverly is survived by her daughter, Lori Zircher, and her son, Kevin Wooddell, as well as many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her loving husband of 54 years, Wayne, parents Pearl and Lottie Bauer, brother Kenneth (Maudie) Bauer, and her close friend of many years, Russell Dent.

Kevin and Lori would like to thank both Suncrest Hospice and Home Instead Care Services for the care, compassion, and outstanding service that made it possible for Beverly to remain home with her family until her passing.

There will be a memorial at Westminster United Presbyterian Church in the Chapel on August 25, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. with a luncheon to follow.

Westminster United Presbyterian Church

4114 Allison Avenue

Des Moines, Iowa 50310

In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to our local Iowa Alzheimer’s Association Chapter or Westminster United Presbyterian Church.

Alzheimer’s Association—Iowa Chapter


Westminster United Presbyterian Church 4114 Allison Avenue

Des Moines, Iowa 50310

Please make checks out to Westminster Presbyterian Church with Beverly Wooddell Memorial in the memo.


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