Iona L. W. Ekern


Iona Lee Wanek Ekern, affectionately known as “Honey”, passed away a year and a half ago, February 7, 2020, following a brief illness.

She was born at home, July 19, 1925, in Winona, MN. A graduate of Winona Senior High School, she met and married the love of her life, Alvin Jr. “Windy” Ekern of Galesville. This union would last until his untimely death at the age 61.

Honey and Windy moved to Toppen Coulee where they farmed for 10 years before returning to Galesville. While on the farm, Honey served as a 4-H leader, taught Sunday school and, with her beautiful tenor voice, sang in the choir at Hardies Creek Lutheran Church.

Honey was an accomplished seamstress. She fashioned everything from bridal ensembles to velvet dinner jackets for her brother. Honey retired from the G-E-T School District after serving over 20 years as the secretary to the guidance counselor.

Honey embraced life. She loved her family, little children, the Mississippi River, a game of pool, her beloved cats, tending her orchids, reading and an afternoon Coors.

She is survived by her children: Luann L. Tedesco (Dr. Francis) and James R. Ekern (Polly); her grandchildren: Jennifer Ellis and Cheyanne Dietrich; Polly’s daughters: Summer Smithers (Lou) and Heidi Rist; her great grandchildren: Cal and Hayes Ellis, Dylan and Lincoln Dietrich, Gavin and Skylar Smithers and Vayda and Cru Rist. She is also survived by her brother, Don Wanek (Jean); sister-in-law, Laurel Wanek; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Her loss continues to be deeply felt by us all.

Honey was predeceased by her parents, John A. and Hilda Schwertel Wanek; her older brother, Owen Wanek (Mary Jane); and her youngest brother, Allen Wanek.

She enjoyed close friendships that spanned her years and was enriched by her loving neighbors.

Honey will be laid to rest in a private family ceremony later this summer. If desired, her family requests that memorials be directed to the Hardies Creek Cemetery Association, c/o Hardies Creek Lutheran Church, N18481 County Rd. DD, Ettrick, WI 54627.

Zwickey Funeral Homes, Galesville Chapel will handle arrangements. Contact at 608-582-2746.

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