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Gretchen Heston

Gretchen Lorraine Heston, 99, passed away at Karen Acres Health Center on February 23, 2021. Gretchen was born on November 28, 1921, near Bayard, Iowa, to John and Florence (Colton) Veenstra, the youngest of six children.


After graduating from Bayard High School in 1939, Gretchen moved to Des Moines, Iowa, where she completed beauty school and worked as a hairdresser. Later, she worked at an ordinance plant where she met her future husband, John Heston. They were married July 8, 1943 and resided in Des Moines and later in Johnston, Iowa.


At the age of forty, Gretchen decided to pursue a career in nursing and graduated from the Des Moines School of Practical Nursing in 1963. She worked at Mercy Hospital as an LPN for the next fourteen years.


John and Gretchen spent many summer vacations and some of their retirement camping and exploring in many states. They especially enjoyed Arizona and spent several winters there.


In retirement, Gretchen also found joy in volunteer work at Broadlawns Hospital Gift Shop, Kavanaugh Hospice, and Calvin Community. Her favorite hobbies were knitting, stitchery projects and holiday crafts. She also enjoyed traveling with her sister-in-law LaVon Heston.


John Heston died in 1989. Gretchen was also preceded in death by her parents; brothers Clair, Ralph and Nyal Veenstra; and sisters Marie and Ruth Veenstra.


She is survived by her nieces Joyce (William) Evans, Urbandale, and Jill Veenstra, Altoona; nephews Jim Veenstra, Clinton, and Billy Veenstra, Altoona; numerous Heston relatives, including nieces, nephews, great- nieces and -nephews, and great-great nieces and - nephews.


According to her wishes Gretchen was cremated and no services were planned. Her ashes will be interred at a later date next to her husband at the couple’s plot at Avon Cemetery.