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Obituary for Winifred D Israel (Dickinson)

Winifred D  Israel (Dickinson)
Winifred D. Israel, a former music teacher and Girl Scout director active in Sioux City community groups for 66 years, died March 22, 2012, of complications from Parkinson’s disease. She was 91.
Mrs. Israel was born Winifred Juliet Dickinson Jan. 23, 1921, in Charles City, Iowa, to Wesley Amos and Halle Hills Dickinson, and grew up in Ogilvie, Windom, and St. Paul, Minn. The second child of a former Minnesota state president of the PEO sisterhood, she attended PEO-related Cottey College, Tarkio, Mo., for two years, then transferred to the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
She studied economics and sociology, and displayed talents in the humanities and the arts. She was a member of Delta Psi Omega, the YWCA, the French Club, Westminster Foundation, and chaired the Comstock Dramatic Club. She also studied organ with Professor Arthur Jennings, whose organ-and-choral work, “Springs in the Desert,” she loved and which hinted at some of her life in retirement.
After graduating from the university in 1942, she moved to Sioux City to accept a position as executive director of Siouxland Girl Scouts. She served for eight years. She also sang in the First Presbyterian Church choir.
Former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Louis J. Israel of Henniker, N.H., later recalled meeting her one evening in 1943, as he passed out cake to guests at a USO party at the Sioux City Airbase. Their first date became singing together at choir practice at the First Presbyterian Church. They married at the home of her parents in St. Paul, Minn., on July 3, 1945, days before Sgt. Israel shipped out for the invasion of Japan.
After World War II, Mr. Israel, himself a talented musician, became a music faculty member with Woodbury County schools in Lawton, Salix, and Hornick, and in the Sioux City public schools. In 1950, Mrs. Israel resigned from Girl Scouts to begin raising two sons and encouraging them in music, drama, and academic work. The family regularly played and sang together and individually, in small ensembles at home, and with larger musical groups.
In the 1960s and ‘70s, while supporting her sons in musical and dramatic productions, Mrs. Israel began teaching piano to an array of students, continued active membership in Chapter LX of PEO, in Wimodausis, and as a member of the board of Girl Scouts, and the Mary Treglia Community House. She was active at Morningside Presbyterian Church, and at the Sunrise Community, where her parents moved, from St. Paul, in 1965 until they died in the late ‘70s. Mrs. Israel became a resident there herself, from 2002 to 2008.
Perhaps influenced by living on a farm in Ogilvie, Mrs. Israel and her husband both shared a passion, not only for music, but for the natural world. The couple pursued their courtship through hikes in and around the Girl Scout camp at Stone Park. They continued hiking there years later with their sons, and enjoyed gatherings with friends and neighbors at Dakota Point. At home, they fed cardinals and goldfinches, chickadees, sparrows and squirrels as eagerly as they nurtured music in their students. As their sons grew, the family camped and hiked throughout Iowa and Minnesota, and from one end of the United States to the other.
The outdoor outings continued when the couple retired in 1982 to winter near Sioux City friends in Mesa, Ariz. Mrs. Israel continued her artistic bent, winning a state poetry award, painting landscapes treasured by the family, and enjoying outings to the natural attractions of Arizona and the Southwest. She continued to enjoy outings near and far with her family, into her final year. Even days from death, Mrs. Israel asked to be taken outside to sit in the sun, the wind in her hair, her love of the natural world deep, to the end.
Survivors include son and daughter-in-law Steve and Lynn Israel of Sylvania, Ohio, and granddaughters Hayley of Oundle, England, and Laura, Columbus, Ohio; son, Bill Israel and daughter-in-law Eileen Breslin, of San Antonio, Texas; former daughter-in-law Claudia Israel of Eureka, Calif., and step-grandchildren Ben Hotz of Eureka, and Dove Hotz, of Portland, Ore.; nieces Barbara Tornatzky and husband Bob of Westerville, Ohio, and Susan Reis and husband Winfried of Rosheim, Germany; and nephew Kirk Dickinson and wife, Shari, of Valencia, Calif. She was preceded in death by her husband, Louis, in 2002; and brother, William A. Dickinson, in 2011.
The family wishes to thank the staff of the Sunrise Community, Sioux City; the Elizabeth Scott Community, Maumee, OH, where she lived until her death; and Hospice of Northwest Ohio. Memorial contributions may be made in her honor to Morningside Presbyterian Church, 4327 Morningside Avenue, Sioux City, IA 51104.

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