Harriet Elizabeth Ethell, 103, passed away peacefully at Homestead Assisted Living in Knoxville, Iowa on December 1, 2023. A funeral service will be held at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, December 6, 2023, at Pierschbacher Funeral Home in Knoxville. A visitation will begin at 1:00pm prior to the service. Harriet will be interred beside her husband George William Ethell at Graceland Cemetery following services.
Harriet was born at home in Avery, Iowa on July 20, 1920, to Angelo and Diletta (Dal Vesco) Sebben. She attended Avery High School. In 1939, Harriet married George William Ethell. They were married until George’s passing in 1983. Harriet lived in Attica, Iowa for 55 years. During her time there, she was a homemaker, raising three kids, and worked at Pearson’s Grocery Store for 20 years. She also worked as a waitress at Kin Folks for 12 years until retiring at age 80. Following her time in Attica, she moved to Knoxville and then relocated to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2013 to live with her grandson Rob and his family. They made their way back home to Urbandale, Iowa in August of 2020. In May of 2023, she made the decision to move to Homestead Assisted Living in Knoxville.
Harriet enjoyed many different activities and hobbies in her lifetime. She was an avid bowler and enjoyed traveling with her friends to bowl in tournaments. She also enjoyed sitting down to a friendly (or sometimes not so friendly) game of cards. She loved immersing herself in a good book, reading countless pages over the years. The Bible became her book of choice after she accepted Christ and was baptized at age 95. Her favorite activity of all was spending time with her family and friends.
With over a century of life, Harriet saw many historical moments play out in front of her eyes. From the Great Depression as a teenager, to the start of World War II as a young 19-year-old newlywed. On a black and white screen, she watched Neil Armstrong take the first steps on the moon on her 49th birthday. When Harriet was born, Woodrow Wilson was President, and she lived through 18 Presidents following him.
With all the changes Harriet experienced throughout her life, family was always a constant. They adored her sassy and sometimes hard headed attitude that made her the amazing woman they loved. She will be missed by many.
Harriet is survived by 9 grandchildren; as well as many great grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, and countless nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, George; children, George Ethell, Geraldine McKay, and Margaret Beaver; brothers, Joseph Sebben, Lewis Sebben, John Sebben, and Angelo “Tony” Sebben; sisters, Mary Caldwell, Eva Edgington, Bernice Rabnett, Doris Whitson, Flora DeMoss, and Alberta Whitson; sons in-law, Jim McKay and Jim Beaver; and a daughter in-law, Sharon Ethell, as well as her beloved friend and hairdresser Linda Rogers.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in Harriet’s name may be made to Suncrest Hospice. Their amazing care and kindness were greatly appreciated by Harriet’s family.