LaVerne Eva Nielsen, the daughter of Paaren and Anna Jane (Mitten) Fiscus, was born on February 20, 1915, in Polk Township, Shelby County, Iowa. She attended Polk #5 school in Shelby County, completing the eighth grade. She then worked as a hired girl for a number of years. On May 4, 1938, LaVerne married Arthur John Nielsen at the Elk Horn Lutheran Church parsonage in Elk Horn, Iowa. The couple lived in Shelby County for most of their lives, where LaVerne worked for the Harlan school lunch program. In April, 2004, LaVerne moved to Nevada, Iowa, to be with her daughter.
Most recently, LaVerne was a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Harlan, Iowa, and was a member of the Immanuel Lutheran Church Women. When she was younger, she was a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Jacksonville, Iowa, where she had served as a Sunday School teacher and a Bible School teacher. She also was a former 4-H leader, and was active in the Shelby County ARC (Association for Retarded Children) and the American Red Cross. LaVerne loved being around people, especially children; she delighted in acting as Mrs. Claus when Art played Santa. She also enjoyed sewing.
LaVerne E. Nielsen died on Tuesday, November 22, 2005, at the Israel Family Hospice House in Ames, Iowa, at the age of 90 years, 9 months, and 2 days.
LaVerne was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Arthur John Nielsen, on April 2, 1997; three sisters, Malveree Fiscus (at birth), Elvie Kolb, and Florence White; and four brothers, Elmer Fiscus, Iliff Fiscus, Melvin Fiscus, and Leonard Fiscus. Her survivors include one daughter, Ardith (George) Forsyth of Nevada, Iowa; two grandsons, Eric (Michelle) Forsyth of Monterey, California, and Gregory (Christine) Forsyth of Newton, Iowa; four great-grandchildren, Max Forsyth and Kate Forsyth, both of Monterey, California, and Emily Forsyth and Anna Forsyth, both of Newton, Iowa; two brothers, Ivan Fiscus and Wayne (Violet) Fiscus, both of Kirkman, Iowa; two sisters-in-law, Madge Fiscus and Kathryn Fiscus, both of Harlan, Iowa; and other relatives and friends.
Funeral services were held on Saturday, November 26, 2005, at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Harlan, Iowa, with Pastor Myron Herzberg and Pastor David Burling of Memorial Lutheran Church, Nevada, Iowa, officiating. Amy Williams served as organist and Pastor David Burling was the soloist. Honorary casket bearers were Connie White, Melva Fiscus, Kathy Archer, Donna Nelson, Glenna Rasmussen, and Donna Mae Murray. Active casket bearers were Greg Forsyth, Eric Forsyth, Terry Fiscus, Keith Fiscus, Randy Fiscus, and Lyle Fiscus. Burial was in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Kimballton, Iowa. The Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home in Harlan, Iowa, was in charge of the arrangements.