Iris (Nelson) Lange
Iris (Nelson) Lange passed away at the age of 89 on August 7, 2019, in Goodyear, AZ.
Iris was born on a farm in Grant County, SD on December 31, 1929, to Florence (Aronson) Nelson and Nuel Wallace Nelson. She was an only child but felt that she gained sisters when her cousins Ardis and Bonnie Lundberg came to live with her family.
When she graduated high school, members of the local school board offered her a teaching job if she would take a summer teacher training class. She loved teaching and spent many subsequent summers taking classes to complete her Bachelor’s Degree in Education. While teaching in Troy, SD, she met and married Hank Lange, the older brother of one of her students. Shortly after their marriage, Hank shipped out to join Army forces in the Korean Conflict.
When Hank returned from his service they moved to Watertown, SD and raised three children there. They were longtime members of Grace Lutheran Church. Iris taught the elementary grades at Lakeview School, and then in the Watertown Public Schools until her retirement. She took great pride in teaching the first computerized classroom in South Dakota, which earned her the SD Teacher of the Year Award.
After retirement Iris and Hank spent many happy years traveling. They loved seeing the United States in their RV and also took several trips to Europe. They eventually moved permanently to Phoenix, AZ.
Iris was preceded in death by her husband, Hank; her parents; Bonnie (Lundberg) Barnes; and beloved aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Iris is survived by her children, Linda (Gary) Nelson, (Phoenix, AZ), Larry (Vikki) Lange, (Griffin, GA), and Laurel (Jeff) VanDenBerg, (Sioux Falls, SD); grandchildren, Colin (Sara) Nelson, (Phoenix, AZ), Kirstin (Seth) Yates, (Phoenix, AZ), and Trevor Nelson, (Detroit, MI); great-granddaughter, Eva Nelson; Ardis (Lundberg) Barber; and treasured sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews, and cousins.
A memorial service will be held at 1:00 pm, Saturday, August 24, 2019, at Thompson Funeral Chapel, 926 S. Litchfield Road, Goodyear, AZ 85338. A celebration of life and interment of ashes will be held at a later date in South Dakota.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Tabor Lutheran Church Cemetery Fund, PO Box 37, Strandburg, SD 57265.