Thelma Mae was born Mary 24, 1930 at home on the farm just north of Belinda to Russell and Ina Fern Etter Byers. She was the third of nine children. Thelma had many duties growing up on the farm. Since she was one of the oldest siblings, she did many farm chores; some of these she enjoyed and some she didn’t, like tending the chickens. She also watched after her younger siblings, something she loved to do. She attended Belinda Country School and graduated from Chariton High School in 1948. Thelma was united in marriage to Walter Loynachan on Dec. 26, 1948. Walter passed away suddenly in 1975.
Thelma’s children persuaded Jerry Stevenson, a neighbor, to ask their mother out on a date. She accepted, and the two were married on Sept. 23, 1977. Some of Thelma’s favorite pastimes were reading, knitting, and crocheting. She truly enjoyed going to auctions and finding “a good deal.” It didn’t matter if she already had three or four of the item. She loved going to garage sales, shopping, and jewelry. Many will remember her cooking: the breads, donuts, chicken and noodles, and wedding cakes that she made. Many of these items were donated to the Pleasant Prairie Church auction. Thelma would stay up all night before the sale making the prized donuts. Thelma loved to talk and never met a stranger. She loved meeting new people and finding out about them. She was selfless and had a big heart, always willing to help anyone in need.
Thelma was in the dog business for 42 years, making many lifelong friends from all over the United States and the world. She was an honorary member of the Des Moines Kennel Club and for several years enjoyed cooking the judges’ dinner at the yearly show. This became famous with judges from all over the country.
Her true pride and joy were her children, seven grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren. She was close to all of them and loved having them all stay over at her house and hearing about how they were doing in their lives. She always enjoyed children, taking care of her siblings and having nieces and nephews stay for weeks at a time during the summer.
Thelma passed away at home on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019. She is survived by her husband, Jerry Stevenson; children: Kathy Loynachan, Keith (Janice) Loynachan, Steve (Carol) Loynachan, and Karla (Brian) Trenary; seven grandchildren: Sonya, Amy, Tracy, Laurie, Isaac, Jesse, and Michael; 11 great-grandchildren: Elliott, Lucas, Aidan, Samantha, Alex, Alexandria Mae, Theodore, Caeden, Jessalyn, Kassidy, and Abbi Mae; siblings: Vern (Arlene) Byers, Arlen (Shirley) Byers, Jim (Donna) Byers, Connie (Allen) Loyd, and Carol DeMoss; along with many nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.
Preceding her in death were her parents, Russell and Ina Fern Byers, husband Walter Loynachan, infant son Kenneth Loynachan, and siblings Donna Jean (Bob) Lee, Robert (Betty) Byers, and infant brother Roger Byers.
A celebration of life service for Thelma Mae Byers Loynachan Stevenson, 89, of rural Chariton, was held Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019 at 11 a.m. at the Pierschbacher Funeral Home in Chariton. A luncheon was held following the services at the funeral home. Memorials are requested to the Chariton Public Library or EveryStep Hospice in Knoxville.