Shela M. Williamson
Shela Williamson
Shela M. Williamson

August 20, 1932 - August 7, 2018
Born in Anita, IA
Resided in Altoona, Iowa
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Shela Mae (Howard) Williamson, 85, of Des Moines died peacefully, surrounded by her family, on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 in Altoona. She was born on August 20, 1932 in Anita to Harley and Fern Howard. Shela’s father died unexpectedly when she was only four. Her mother then married Lewis Curry and moved with her family to a farm in Massena, Iowa. She attended a one-room schoolhouse then graduated from Massena High School in 1950 and moved to Des Moines to pursue her nursing career at Mercy College of Nursing. She married Joseph Williamson in 1952 and they raised five children on Des Moines’ east side. For over 40 years she was an esteemed nurse at Mercy Hospital until she retired as House Supervisor in 1997.

To those who knew her, Shela was one of a kind. She had a beautiful smile, a magnanimous personality and a generous heart. Shela was a nurturer, a devoted daughter, sister, mother, grandmother and friend. She was a dedicated parishioner of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and was comforted by her faith in her final hours.

Shela had many talents and passions. She loved to dance, spending countless evenings cutting a rug at Lake Robbins and other big band attractions. She enjoyed horseback trail riding and was a remarkable seamstress and quilter. She loved preserving unforgettable moments through photos.

Shela and Fred Sassatelli, her special companion, enjoyed spending time with friends for birthday club, playing cards, traveling and hosting holiday parties. She deeply loved her family and provided them a love and presence that will never fade - her legacy will live on through her everlasting influence, traditions, and cherished family memories.

Survivors include Shela’s three daughters, Shelley (Phil) DeLong of Indianola, Mary (Pat) Carroll of Adel and Bobbie (Mike) Barnholdt of Atlantic; son, Mark (Teri) Williamson of Des Moines; two brothers, Bill Howard of Clear Lake and John (Coni) Curry of Massena; three sisters, Barbara Meyers of Nebraska, Marie Thayer of Ankeny and Colleen (Bob) Wilbur of Macedonia; twelve grandchildren and fifteen great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her son, Gerry Williamson; infant grandson, Jared Williamson; two brothers, Don Curry and Bill Joe Fleming; and sister, Jayne Gallagher.

Visitation will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, August 10 at Iles Grandview Park Chapel with a 7 p.m. vigil service. Funeral services will be 11:30 a.m. Saturday, August 11 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Des Moines. Graveside services will be 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Evergreen Cemetery, Anita.

The family extends special thanks to the staff of Prairie Vista Village for their compassionate care.

In lieu of flower, memorial contributions may be directed to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.


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Grandview Park Funeral Home
3211 Hubbell Avenue
Des Moines, IA US 50317
Friday, August 10, 2018
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
St. Joseph Catholic Church
3300 Easton Boulevard
Des Moines, IA 50317
Saturday, August 11, 2018
11:30 AM
Evergreen Cemetery
231 White Pole Rd
Anita, IA 50020
Saturday, August 11, 2018
3:30 PM


St. Joseph Catholic Church
3300 Easton Boulevard
Des Moines, IA US