Clabe Wilson: His Last Autumn

Hospital News, September 13, 1946, The Perry Daily Chief: “Clabe Wilson has been admitted to the Kings Daughters Hospital as a medical patient.”

Clabe fell when he got out of bed. Stroke.

When he asked for a drink of water at the hospital, a nurse set the glass on a table, but he was unable to reach it. When Leora learned this, she asked if she could stay to help him. They were glad for the offer and put a cot in the room for her. She took over Clabe’s nursing.

When he was discharged twelve days later, the Wilsons rented a hospital bed to use at home. Son Delbert, who’d moved home with his family after Junior was killed, mixed up eggnogs for his father. They had to be patient to feed him, though, as he needed time to concentrate on each swallow.

Doris, with her toddler and baby, visited her folks October 4. Joy talked to her grandpa in the tall bed. Clabe’s eyes had lost their glassy look, and he was improving.

The next day Delbert phoned Doris. Their dad had died.

One of last photos of Clabe Wilson, taken on Mother’s Day 1946, Omaha, Nebraska.

Obituary, October 10, 1946, The Perry Daily Chief:

Funeral Services Held Yesterday for Mr. Wilson

Funeral services for Claiborne (Clabe) D. Wilson, local farmer who died last Saturday, were held at 2:30 p.m. yesterday at the Workman Funeral Home.

The Rev. Lyle V. Newman of the First Christian church officiated and burial was in Violet Hill cemetery.

Mr. Wilson, son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Wilson, was burn Jan. 7, 1888 near Coon Rapids in Carroll County.

During his lifetime he farmed in various localities, including Guthrie Center, Dexter, and Minburn. He had moved to his present home about two years ago.

On Feb. 15, 1914 he was married to Leora Goff, who survives. Also living are two dons, Delbert G. of Perry and Donald W., who is in the navy; two daughters, Mrs. Warren D. Neal of Redfield [mailing address] and Mrs. Alvin C. Scar of Earlham; a half-brother, Fred Davis of Des Moines; three sisters, Mrs. Alice McLuen of Stuart, Mrs. Fonnie Kiggens of Boston, Mass., and Mrs. Verna Parrott of Des Moines, and several nieces and nephews.

Preceding him in death were three sons, all casualties of the recent world war. They were Dale R., Daniel S., and Claiborne Junior. 

One of the bouquets of flowers sent to the funeral had a card that read, “Down the Road.” It wasn’t until several days later that Doris figured it out. The flowers had to be from “Don and Rose.”

It hadn’t been quite five years since Doris had heard the foreboding announcement of the attack on Pearl, while serving Sunday dinner in a Perry restaurant. The devastating events since then seemed to outweigh the exhilarating ones. Doris tired to keep dark thoughts buried while she cared for her family out in the country. She wasn’t always successful. From the house on the hill, she could see pastures. Fields of drying corn. The song of a meadowlark rippled across the barnyard. Her brother Danny’s favorite bird. Its song was at once hopeful. . . and haunting.

 Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II is available from Amazon in paperback and ebook, also as an audiobook, narrated by Paul Berge.

It’s also the story behind the Wilson brothers featured on the Dallas County Freedom Rock at Minburn, Iowa. All five served. Only two came home.



  1. I like reading those simple obituaries. One person’s life summed up, distilled so that the essence of a life; family, work and homes is presented for us to contemplate. Any death leaves us sad, but remembering a good life helps us carry on.

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