Obituaries » LaVaune Wood Caldwell
August 3, 1918 - November 30, 2016
December 28, 2016
3520 Gand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50312
LaVaune Wood Caldwell, 98, passed away at Wesley Acres Health Center on November 30, 2016 after a progressive decline due to Alzheimer’s disease.
A memorial service will be held at Wesley Acres at 10:00 a.m., December 28, 2016.
LaVaune was born August 3, 1918 to Alvin and Ida Lewison. She grew up on a farm near Kanawha, IA. Her parents were immigrants from Norway. She attended a one-room schoolhouse located a mile and one-half from the farm, and graduated from Britt High School in 1935.
She followed her sister, Ramona to Des Moines, where her first job was to replace Ramona at Aetna Insurance Company, located in the Des Moines Register and Tribune building. After a couple of years working there, she took a new position working for the Hotel Fort Des Moines as secretary to the manager. It was during this job that she met Warner Wood, an assistant manager at Wakonda Club, who later became manager of the Embassy Club.
LaVaune and Warner were married March 1, 1941, at St. John’s Lutheran Church. They honeymooned in Mexico. Two daughters, Sue and Sandra, were born during the war; Sue in Iowa, and Sandra in Indiana, where Warner served at a naval supply depot. After the war, LaVaune and Warner resided on 36th Street in Beaverdale. While at that address, a third daughter, Kristine, and a son, Randall, were born.
LaVaune was active in PTA, as a homeroom mother, a Campfire Girl’s leader, and was especially active at St. John’s Lutheran Church, where she later became an elder. She and Warner regularly attended Club Manager’s conventions including one held in London and another in Hawaii.
Warner passed away October 11, 1981. A few years later, LaVaune moved to West Des Moines, making new friends and satisfying her interest in foreign travel, visiting Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Budapest, Bratislava and Japan. She remained close to her 5 siblings, spending time with a few of them in Texas during the winters.
In 1996, LaVaune became reacquainted with Wallace C. Caldwell, son of her mother’s best friend in Britt, who had become a widower in 1995. Wally and LaVaune were married August 1, 1998. For the next few years they travelled, sailing through the Panama Canal, cruising in Alaska, and a bus trip up the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains in to Canada. The couple lived in Ankeny for 2 years, then in 2000 moved to Wesley Acres on Grand Avenue in Des Moines. Wallace died in 2012.
LaVaune lived a long and rewarding life. In her last years, she spoke often of her family, her travels, her pets, and especially her cats.
She is survived by her children Sue McNeil and Sandra Clark (Walter) of Des Moines, Kristine Wood of Fairfield, and Randall Wood (Bronwyn) of Ann Arbor, Michigan; 7 grandchildren, Kristine McNeil, Brian McNeil, Dennis Clark, Victor Clark, Paul Clark, Laura Clark, and Philip Vega; and 15 great-grandchildren.
She is preceded in death by her two husbands, 2 two brothers, three sisters, and most of her friends.
The family extends special thanks to the staff of the Austin Center and Health Center at Wesley Acres and to Unity Point Hospice for their wonderful care and support.
Memorials may be directed to Wesley Acres Good Samaritan Fund or to St. John’s Lutheran Church.