Dorothy (Rosa) Elson, surely the last of her generation of Redlingshafer
descendants, died during late January. Named for her great-
grandmother, Doratha Redlingshafer, who is buried at Salem, she was
born during the closing years of the 19th century, lived the 20th from
beginning to end and died on Jan. 27, 2002, at the age of 104.
Dorothy's parents were John W. and Sarah Minerva (Chynoweth) Rosa;
and her grandparents, John and Anna Margaret (Redlingshafer) Rosa.
Lucas County seems sometimes to specialize in complex relationships,
and that certainly was the case here. Dorothy's dad, John W. Rosa,
was a first-cousin of my great-grandmother, Mary Belle (Redlingshafer)
Myers. Her mother, my family's "Auntie Rosa," was my grandmother,
Ethel (Dent) Myers', aunt; and Grandmother made her home with
Dorothy's family after her own mother died during 1901 and her father
and brothers moved west to Wyoming.
I have been thinking lately of the dynasty of bantams that roamed our
barnyard when I was a child, descended from colorful little birds that
were Dorothy's gift to 6-year-old me. I'm awed by this long and
productive life that spanned three centuries.
Dorothy's obituary was published in the Chariton Leader on Tuesday,
29 January 2002.
"Dorothy Marie Elson, daughter of John W. and Minerva (Chynoweth)
Rosa, was born in Lucas County, Iowa, on Aug. 13, 1897, and passed
away on Jan. 27, 2002, at the Lamoni, Iowa, Nursing and Rehabilitation
Center at the age of 104 years.
"Dorothy was raised on a farm south of Chariton, Iowa. She
attended the Garton Rural School and was a graduate of Chariton
High School. In 1917, she received a Teaching Certificate from
Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, and taught school in Lucas
and Wayne Counties for six years.
"She was united in marriage to Parker Guy Elson on April 15, 1922.
They lived on a farm southwest of Clio, Iowa, for 11 years, and later
in the Lineville, Iowa, area for 13 years, moving back to Clio in 1946.
When Parker's health failed in the mid-1970s, they moved to Leon,
Iowa, where Dorothy lived until entering the Lamoni Nursing and Rehab
Center in 1998. Parker preceded her in death on Dec. 16, 1978.
She was also preceded in death by her parents; a son, J. W. Elson;
and by a brother, George Rosa.
"Dorothy is survived by her son, Robert Elson (and daughter-in-law
Virginia) of Bradenton, Fla.; two grandchildren, Diane Altenbach
of Atlanta, Ga., and Douglas Elson of Bradenton; four great-
grandchildren; two step-great-grandchildren; five step-great-great-
grandchildren; and by a daughter-in-law, Ann Elson of
"Dorothy had been a member of the United Brethren Church in
Lucas County, later becoming a very active member of the
Methodist churches in Clio and Lineville.
"Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2002,
at the Greenlee-Middleton Funeral Chapel in Lineville, Iowa,
with the Rev. Max Carmichael officiating. Burial was in the Clio,