March 03, 2021

Zola Westphal


Zola Dolores Zietlow Westphal was born to Ernest and Clara Zietlow in Fontanelle Dec. 23, 1927. She was baptized and confirmed at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fontanelle and began playing the organ for her beloved church at the age of 14.

She was valedictorian of her 1945 Fontanelle High School. After graduation, her musical interests led her to attend Simpson College for two years to study music, however, her love for her future husband of 73 years brought her back to Fontanelle to marry Bruce Westphal Oct. 12, 1947.

Bruce and Zola first worked at her father’s clothing store, The Toggery, until moving to a farm south of Fontanelle —without running water or indoor plumbing – and as Zola recalled, no telephone.

To their union, three daughters were born: Nancy, Sherol and Celia. After nine years, Bruce received an opportunity to farm north of Fontanelle until buying the original Westphal farm in 1966. The family moved there in 1976 and celebrated this Century Farm at the Iowa State Fair in 2006. Bruce continues to reside on his cherished farm.

Zola was a lifelong active member of Emmanuel Lutheran Church. Because of her love of the Lord and her joy in serving him, she played the organ for over 70 years for church services, choir practices, weddings and funerals. She also taught Vacation Bible School and was president of Women of the Church.

Outside of church, Zola was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and the Adair County Hospital Auxiliary and also worked over 30 years figuring income taxes.

Bruce and Zola participated in countless community events. They especially enjoyed school events and in particular, basketball games. They loved their regular card playing group and also many sightseeing trips, creating many memories traveling with their good friends and neighbors Don and Helen Baudler.

Zola’s love for her family was demonstrated by her caring actions; taking sandwiches and cookies out to the hay crew working in the fields, freshly baked warm chocolate chip cookies and/or cinnamon rolls waiting for family/visitors to arrive, or the countless apple pies she’d lovingly bake for whatever occasion deserved one. Most of all, a true sign of love was going on countless trips in a small airplane, because Bruce loved to fly.

She always enjoyed spending time with her mom, eventually her four grandsons and great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Ernest and Clara Zietlow; in-laws, Ralph and Lucy Westphal; their children: Charles and Carol Nielson, Calvin and Esther Hazen, Kenneth and Estelle Blazek; niece Janice Dickerson.

She is survived by her husband, Bruce; daughters: Nancy (Jack) Laird, Sherol Brown and Celia Westphal; four grandsons: Brian Brown, John Laird, Dave Laird and Alex Barber; three great-grandchildren: Hannah Bradly, Gavin Barber and Grace Barber.

Funeral services were held 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fontanelle, with burial in Fontanelle Cemetery. The Steen Funeral Home in Greenfield is in charge of professional arrangements. Online condolences may be left to the family at