Roberta Jane Russell, daughter of James Edward Van Cleave and Fairy Rose Marie Clark Van Cleave, was born Aug. 20, 1927 on her parents’ farm near Yale, Iowa and died Jan. 29, 2017 at Genesis Senior Living in Des Moines, Iowa. Roberta was 89 years, 5 months and 9 days old. Roberta’s funeral services were held at 10 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017 at Hastings Funeral Home, Jefferson, Iowa. Pastor Larry Monthei, Hope United Methodist, Cooper, Iowa, provided words of comfort. Her honorary casket bearers were Jay Elliott, Amanda Heilman, Brian Cook, Carrie Cook, Molly Brown, Austin Brown, Anne York, Ryan Humpal, Ashley Kelly and Ranae Fallis, active casket bearers were Kenneth Russell, Dan Russell, Adam Kelly, James Russell, Nathan Heilman and Andy Russell. Recorded music was “Legend Of The Dog Wood Tree,” “Old Rugged Cross” and “In The Garden.” Burial was in Highland Township Cemetery, Bayard, Iowa. Following the service at the cemetery, everyone was invited to a time of lunch and fellowship at the Jamaica Community Center, served by the Jamaica woman.


Roberta attended Country School in Cass and Victory Township then graduated from Yale High School. Following her school days, she went into Civil Service Work, assigned soon after to Wright-Patterson Field in Ohio. On Oct. 23, 1946, she married Jack Russell in Dayton, Ohio. They were blessed with three sons, James, Kenneth, and Danny. The family made their home in various areas including Denver, Colo., Bayard, Yale, and Jamaica.


Roberta was very involved in the Jamaica community. She never knew a stranger and had many friends. Roberta was an ambitious lady, having worked for Garst Seed Company, Meadow Gold Products in Perry, Franklin Manufacturing, cleaned for others, and mowed lawns for the city of Jamaica. Most folks will remember the 25 years she drove bus for YJB Schools and was a First Responder for Jamaica for many years. Roberta will also be remembered for her love of genealogy and enjoyed her membership in the Genealogical Society. She enjoyed quilting and yard work, refinish furniture, but her first love was her family.


Roberta was blessed with a large extended family and she looked forward to each and every gathering. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Jack in 1982, stillborn daughter Katherine, son Jim Russell, sisters Delores Helle and husband LeRoy, Barbara Kipp, niece Sara Helle, and nephews Eric Helle and Tom Van Cleave, and grandson-in-law Rex Fallis.


Roberta’s memory will be cherished by her sons, Kenneth Russell and his wife Deanna of Storm Lake, Iowa; and Dan Russell and his wife Kellie of Truesdale, Iowa; daughter-in-law Christyne Russell Hellebuyck and her husband Al of Drexel, Mo.; her beloved grandchildren: Jay Elliott, Carrie Cook (Brian), Amanda Heilman (Nathan), Molly Brown (Austin), Adam Kelly (Ashley), James Russell, Anne York, Ryan Humpal, Ranae Fallis, and Andy Russell; great-grandchildren: Derek, Kayli, Ethan, Adeline, Nolan, Reis, Rylee, Alexander, Wyatt, Shawn, Dylan, Kayla, Nicholas, Kiersten, Ayden, Lily, Ian, Brooklyn, Skylar, Brayden; brother Lee Van Cleave and his wife Frances of Perry; brother-in-law Dick Kipp of Yale; many cousins, nieces and nephews, other relatives and many friends.


Memorials in her name may be sent to Hastings Funeral Home, Box 204, 1417 2nd St Perry, Iowa 50220, www.hastingsfh.com, hastings@minburncomm.net. 515 465-4691.