Cover photo for Letha Mae Josephsen's Obituary
Letha Mae Josephsen Profile Photo
1921 Letha 2015

Letha Mae Josephsen

July 11, 1921 — December 29, 2015

Letha Mae Josephsen, the daughter of Oliver and Erma (Johnson) Saxton, was born July 11, 1921, near Anita, Iowa and died December 29, 2015, at the Mercy Hospital Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa at the age of 94 years, 5 months, and 18 days.
Letha Mae was baptized and confirmed at the Anita United Methodist Church in Anita, Iowa. She attended rural schools near Anita then graduated from the Anita High School with the Class of 1939.Letha Mae worked for several area families as a hired girl and also worked at several retail stores. One day while she was working at J.C. Penney’s her future husband came into the store and proposed to her.
On October 23, 1943, she was united in marriage to Robert L. Josephsen at the Methodist Parsonage in Atlantic, Iowa. They were blessed with four children Shirley, Danny, Sally, and Leland. They lived on and operated Robert’s family century farm east of Exira, Iowa. Letha Mae helped raise the children and helped Robert farm growing row crops and raising livestock. She always had a garden and spent many hours tending to the vegetables and canning the fruits and vegetables that were produced. After farming for many years they retired. Robert died on May 5, 1992. Letha Mae lived on the farm then moved to her present home in Audubon in 2005.
Letha Mae was a member of the Anita United Methodist Church. She was a charter member of her neighborhood club the “Tuesday Klatter Club” which was not only a social club but also did much charity work. She was an active member of the Farm Bureau for many years. Letha Mae was well known for the many beautiful cakes that she made for weddings, birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries. She was an accomplished seamtress and made clothes for the entire family and also enjoyed doing crafts. Letha Mae loved attending the Alumni Banquets and the annual Saxton Family Reunions where she and her sister served as the historians and main story tellers for the family.
Preceding her in death in addition to her husband Robert was her infant son Leland Josephsen; her daughter Sally Peluso; her granddaughter Jessica Peluso; her daughter-in-law Barbara Peluso; her parents; her brothers Robert Saxton and Russel Saxton; and her sister Neva Smith.
Survivors include her daughter Shirley and husband Jerry Karns of Audubon, Iowa; and her son Dan and wife Marilyn Josephsen of West Des Moines, Iowa; her son-in-law Vince Peluso of Pottstown, Pennsylvania; her grandchildren and spouses Susan and Darron Dunn of Waukee, Iowa, Scott and Kim Karns of Polk City, Iowa, Kevin and Susie Karns of Waterloo, Iowa, Jeremy and Jackie Karns of Audubon, Iowa, Julie Karns of Clarinda, Iowa, Justin and Ellen Josephsen of St. Louis, Missouri, Brandon and Kelly Josephsen of Collierville, Tennessee, Kari and Brandon Glenn of West Des Moines, Iowa, Jared and Shriya Josephsen of Austin, Texas, Lisa Josephsen and Dax Wedemeyer and Jordan Josephsen and Sarah Borzo all of Des Moines, Iowa, Teresa and Jim Webster of Elverson, Pennsylvania,; and Michael and Lauren Peluso of West Lawn, Pennsylvania; 21 great grandchildren; 5 great, great grandchildren; her sister Arvis McKeane of Coon Rapids, Minnesota; nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.
Funeral services will be conducted by Reverend Garry DeGeest on Wednesday, January 6, 2016, at 10:30 A.M. at the Anita United Methodist Church in Anita, Iowa. Interment will be in the Exira Cemetery in Exira, Iowa. The honorary casket bearers will be Randy Smith, Steve Saxton, Allen Josephsen, Marvin Saxton, Berton Saxton, Jay Saxton, Mark Saxton, Michael Peluso, and Matt Hackwell. The casket bearers will be Scott Karns, Kevin Karns, Jeremy Karns, Justin Josephsen, Brandon Josephsen, Jared Josephsen, and Jordan Josephsen. The family will meet with friends Tuesday evening from 6:00 P.M. until 9:00 P.M. at the Kessler Funeral Home in Exira, Iowa.

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

6:00 - 9:00 pm (Central time)

Kessler Funeral Homes, Inc. - Exira

234 West South Street, Exira, IA 50076

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

Anita United Methodist Church

, Anita, IA 50020

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Exira Cemetery

, Exira, IA 50076

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