Frances Jean Van Cleave of Perry


Graveside services for Frances Jean Van Cleave were held at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 26 at the Prairie Center Cemetery in rural Linden, with visitation one hour prior to the service.

Pastor Catherine Stokes of the First United Methodist Church in Perry provided words of comfort. Honorary casket bearers were Lee Van Cleave, Mitchell Van Cleave, Angel Bunn and Mary Lee. Recorded song selected was “Amazing Grace.” Hastings Funeral Home in Perry was in charge of arrangements.

Frances Jean Van Cleave, daughter of Arthur Bennink and Jeanette VanDerWerff Bennink, was born Aug. 5, 1930, in Armour, South Dakota, and died Oct. 18, 2020, at the Perry Lutheran Home in Perry, Iowa.

When Frances was just 7 years old, her family moved to Iowa on a farm near Linden.

She graduated from Panora High School in 1947.

On Aug. 29, 1948, Frances and Lee Edward Van Cleave were united in marriage. The couple was blessed with three children, Bonnie, Tom and Tim.

Frances and Lee rented 80 acres south of Bagley, then to Carmen Kempf’s farm for seven years. They farmed Carl Shaffer ground for 42 years before they bought a farm nearby and bought another 80 acres. Frances and Lee were a team in marriage and on their farms.

Throughout the years of hard work, they were able to travel to Europe and spend winters in Mexico, Texas and Arizona.

They always made new friends wherever they went, especially in their square-dancing club, where they danced together for 25 to 30 years. Frances and Lee enjoyed camping with their square-dancing friends and would play yard darts, ride mopeds and just have fun together.

In 1994 they built their new home, and the whole family loved it.

In 2007 Frances and her family dealt with a tragedy when Lee suffered a stroke, but with their loving support and determination, Lee forged forward.

Frances and Lee had been married for almost 69 years.

She loved spending time with her family and taking care of everyone. Frances made the best chocolate chip cookies ever! She enjoyed gardening and loved her flowers.

Frances was preceded in death by her parents, Arthur and Jeanette Bennink; husband, Lee Edward Van Cleave in 2017; daughter, Bonnie Van Cleave in 2020; sons, Tom Van Cleave in 1991 and Timothy Van Cleave in 2017; and bother, Warren Bennink.

She is survived by her grandchildren, Sunni Lee of Bagley, Jim Van Cleave of Springfield, Missouri, and Mike (Jessica) Van Cleave of Fair Grove, Missouri; great-grandchildren, Angel Bunn, Mary Lee, Mitchell Van Cleave and Lee Van Cleave; great-great-grandson, Malachi Hribar; sister, Bonnie (Jim) Harmon of Grand Island, Nebraska; brother-in-law, Richard Kipp of Yale; daughter-in-law, Annette Wetteland of Des Moines; nieces; nephews; cousins; other relatives; and many friends.

Memorials may be sent to Hastings Funeral Home, P.O. Box 204, Perry, IA 50220.


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