In Memory of
Faye Mary Whitecotton
A beloved wife, mother, grandmother and friend passed away in the early morning hours of Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. She was 74.
Faye had fallen on July 31 and suffered a broken hip and wrist. A combination of health issues followed, and she died at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls with family at her side.
Faye was born to Rita and Floyd Leidholm in Washburn, N.D., and grew up on the family farm outside Washburn, N.D. Her stories of life on the farm were fascinating. Among the best: She used to lay atop one of her favorite cows in the pasture to while away an afternoon while reading a book; after a fox invaded the henhouse, she nursed a brood of injured chickens back to health, and for the rest of the summer this comically disabled group of chickens followed her around the farmyard wherever she walked; her father at times drove her and her brothers Ronnie and Larry to school in a horse-drawn wagon, fire-heated bricks placed in the wagon to keep them warm against the frigid North Dakota winter.
Faye graduated from Washburn High School in 1957. She moved to Minneapolis for a brief time to attend school, then moved back home and graduated from Minot State Teachers College.
It was while teaching kindergarten at Crosby, N.D., in 1961 that she met her future husband, Walter Whitecotton of Marysville, Calif., who was stationed at Fortuna Air Force Base in Fortuna, N.D. They were wed June 15, 1963, in Washburn, N.D. Over their 51 years of marriage, they lived in Great Falls, Plentywood, Bozeman, Missoula, Billings and Lewistown, Mont., Sacramento, Calif., and Truesdale, Manson, Meriden, Quimby and Larrabee, Iowa.
Faye also taught in Black Eagle, Mont., Great Falls, Mont., and Westby, Mont.
Three of her children were born in Montana - Terri in Plentywood, Lisa in Missoula and Tim in Lewistown. In 1971 they moved to Manson, and daughter Tina was born in Fort Dodge.
It was in Manson where Faye and Walt raised their children. Although she did not return to the classroom, her teaching never stopped. She was a tremendous editor of her children's papers and provided invaluable guidance on all subjects, gently guiding the way to the correct answer while insisting the children did the work by themselves - no matter how hard they begged her to just do it for them. She was a fierce supporter of her children in all their extracurricular activities, and sports were a large part of this. The time she spent sitting on bleachers, where she was a vocal presence, and nursing injuries both physical and emotional in her young athletes can never be calculated, nor would she want it to be. It was a blessing when nearly two decades after watching her last child play for Manson High School, she was able to watch her grandchildren Brandon and Bryce play on the same Manson courts and fields. Again, she was a staunch supporter. It was a particular thrill when the boys played on an American Legion team out of Carroll that won a state championship and played in a regional tournament in her home state of North Dakota.
During the Manson years, she was the backbone of Walt's operation as a field manager for a school fund-raising company. While he was on the road working with schools throughout northwest Iowa, she was at home, fielding calls from school secretaries, preparing for Walt's upcoming schedule and making last-minute deliveries to nearby programs. All this while serving in her greatest role: a stay-at-home Mom whose presence was a source of security and grounding for her children, who knew she was always just a phone call away and would be waiting at home for them after school.
She loved dancing and gardening and caring for her cats and Tim's dog, Taffy, which she had personally played a large role in rescuing. She delighted in her eight grandchildren. She was an active Granny, sharing her love of crafts and her sense of humor with them whenever they visited. She delighted in defeating Terri's sons Brandon and Bryce in Skip-Bo and Tim in cribbage, and using all those long-ago skills gained as a kindergarten teacher to play with Tina's daughters Jordan, Chloe and Carli and Lisa's children Amanda, Elizabeth and Anthony.
She became an avid follower of Iowa Hawkeye basketball, and rarely was a game over for long before a phone call was made to or received from one of her children to break down the game. It was always a comforting presence for her children to know that wherever they were, if they were able to catch an Iowa game on TV, they knew that back in Iowa their Mom was watching, too, and getting just as angry or exhilarated as they were at the Hawkeyes' efforts.
Faye is survived by her husband, Walter, of Larrabee, Iowa; children Terri (Terry) Wessels of Palmer, Iowa; Lisa (Armon) Azevedo of Windsor, Calif., Tim Whitecotton of Minneapolis; and Tina (Josh) Danielson of Wesley Chapel, Fla.; grandchildren Brandon and Bryce Wessels; Elizabeth, Amanda and Anthony Azevedo; and Jordan, Chloe and Carli Danielson; and brothers Ronnie (Mary) Leidholm of Washburn, N.D., and Larry Leidholm of Minot, N.D.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Rita and Floyd Leidholm of Washburn, N.D.
Faye's wishes were to have her remains spread on the family farm in Washburn. Anyone wishing to make a memorial in her honor is asked to make a donation to Siouxland Humane Society, 1051 Tri-View Avenue, Sioux City, IA 51103 or to the animal shelter of their choosing. Online condolences may be sent to the funeral home at www.greenwoodfuneral.com.
Greenwood Funeral Home
216 South 2nd Street | Highway 59 South | Cherokee, Iowa 51012 | 712-225-4886
100 Eagle Avenue | Marcus, Iowa 51035 | 712-376-4886