Ethel Moen

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Ethel Vivian Milbrath Moen, 95, died Sunday, May 21, 2017, at the Vinton Lutheran Home.

The family will greet friends and relatives from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, May 25, 2017, at Bethany Lutheran Church, Elkader, followed by the funeral service at 1 p.m. with Pastor Susan Friedrich officiating. Committal will be held at the Elkader Cemetery.

Ethel was born January 16, 1922, in Winneshiek County to the late Herbert and Mabel (Gunderson) Milbrath, the third of six children. She was baptized January 26, 1922, and confirmed June 14, 1936, in the Lutheran faith in Cresco, Iowa, by the late Rev. H.M. Normann. She attended rural schools in Winneshiek and Howard Counties and graduated from Cresco High School in 1940.

On June 23, 1943, Ethel married Selmar “Sam” Moen at the Decorah Lutheran parsonage by the Rev. Oliver Fjelstad. In 1950, the couple moved to New Hampton, Iowa, where they worked together in the grocery business. In 1965, the family moved to Elkader, Iowa, where Sam managed and Ethel worked for Wilke’s Sure Save grocery store until his death in 1984. Ethel continued to work for Wilke’s until 1989.

From August 1989 through August 1991, Ethel served as a Lutheran Diaconal Associate at Eben Ezer Lutheran Home in Brush, CO, working in the dietary and medical records departments. In July 2011, she moved to an assisted living apartment of the Lutheran Home in Vinton, Iowa, to be closer to some of her family.

Ethel was a den mother for Cub Scouts for many years, an assistant Girl Scout leader, a Sunday School teacher and an officer in her church organizations. She, her husband and family joined Bethany Lutheran Church in 1965, where she enjoyed being active in the Women of the ELCA circle and Prayer and Share group. Ethel also enjoyed watching her sons wrestle, baking, reading, watching baseball and gatherings with her family.

Ethel is survived by a sister, Hazel Milbrath Amundson of Decorah. She leaves her five children and their families: Charles S. (Barbara) Moen of Phoenix, AZ; Robert A. (Becky) Moen of Vinton; Steven P. (Andrea) Moen of Iowa City; Susan M. Moen of West Des Moines; and Sandra K. (Ralph) Jones of Pleasantville, PA. Ethel will be missed and remembered fondly by 14 grandchildren: Sam, Beth, Jason, Rachel, Tessa, Justin, Jessica, Patrick, Pam, Peggy, Elaine, Stephanie, JinLan and Alex; and 18 great-grandchildren: Elizabeth, Luke, Morgan, Peyton, Calin, Max, Bob, Ted, Emelia, Vivian, Allison, Jackson, Allexis, Austin, Harper, Hudson, Judah and Felicity.

Besides her parents and husband, Ethel was preceded in death by her oldest child, David, who died at birth on May 3, 1944; brothers, Lester and George Milbrath; and sisters Geneva Vagts and Audrey Ott.

Memorial contributions may be made to Bethany Lutheran Church, Elkader; Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Vinton; or the Assisted Living Unit of the Vinton Lutheran Home.

Van Steenhuyse-Russell Funeral Home of Vinton is caring for Ethel and her family. Condolences may be left at


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