Iola Beth West


Iola Beth (Stethem) West, formerly of Gordon, Neb., passed away on April 29, 2013, at the Heartland Assisted Living facility in Seward, Neb. Funeral services were held Friday, May 3, at the United Methodist Church in Gordon. Burial was held in the Gordon Cemetery.

Chamberlain-Pier Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Iola Beth Stethem was born on August 9, 1927, in Burwell, Neb., to Guy and Grace (White) Stethem. Her family welcomed another member, Glenn, three years after Iola’s birth.

Iola graduated from Bennett County High School in 1945. She later attended beauty school in Omaha, and graduated in 1947 before returning to Gordon. She was working at a beauty shop in Gordon when she met and later married the love of her life, Origen West, on Christmas Eve in 1947. To this union four children were born: Blaine, Randy, Michelle and Melissa.

In 1950, when Blaine was a toddler, Iola and Origen moved to Omaha in order for Origen to attend barber school. He received his license to barber in 1952. Origen operated the West Barber shop in Gordon for over 50 years.

Dancing was a large part of Iola and Origen’s life. They met at a dance and they waltzed through life beautifully. They joined the Gordon Square Dance Club, which was a hobby for years. Iola and Origen also enjoyed multiple campers and RV’s over the years. They traveled to Yellowstone Park, Calgary, Canada, Nashville, Tenn., and many other destinations, but always returned to the Black Hills as their first love.

Cooking for family and friends was an important part of Iola’s life. She loved to create elaborate plates of Christmas cookies, which she gave away to friends in the community.

After her brother Glenn passed away in 1993, Iola remained very close with her sister-in-law, Dolores (Petrik) Stethem and her family. 

Iola and Origen raised their own family and continued to live in Gordon until Origen’s death in 2009. Iola then moved to Seward, Neb., for her remaining years.

Iola’s children are Blaine (Karna) West, Columbus, Neb., Randy (Louise) West, Denver, Colo., Michelle (James) Jackson, Saratoga, Calif., and Melissa (Rex) Farmer, Seward, Neb. She also has nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

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