Connie Kay Heussner, 79
Connie Kay Heussner, age 79 of Fredericksburg, IA, died Tuesday, April 12, 2022, at home.
A celebration of life service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 27, 2022, at Trinity Lutheran Church in New Hampton with Pastor Kevin Frey presiding. For those unable to attend in person, please join the family via Facebook Live located on the Hugeback – Johnson Funeral Home’s Facebook page.
Friends may greet the family from 4 – 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, 2022, at Hugeback Johnson Home & Crematory Chapel in Fredericksburg. Visitation continues an hour prior to the celebration of life service.
Connie was born on May 8, 1942, to Erwin and Elsie (Ungerer) Winter at home on their farm southeast of Fredericksburg. She had a happy childhood as a farm kid along with her younger brother, Dennis, and older sister, Lorraine. While living on the farm included lots of hard work, Connie and her sister spent hours decorating their playhouse made from an old chicken house and roller skating in the top of the sheep barn. When the hay came in each year, Connie, her siblings, and their friends had fun making tunnels in the barn with the bales. They got in big trouble when later that winter their daddy fell through one of the weak spots left by their playful engineering project.
Connie attended Social Center School, a one-room rural schoolhouse, and graduated from Fredericksburg High School in 1960. At FHS, she was a star girl’s basketball player, named to the 3rd team All State as a guard. Music filled Connie’s life, singing in school groups and with her sister, and playing flute in the school band. Her musical talent contributed to her winning the titles of Dairy Day Princess in 1958, as well as the title of Miss New Hampton which qualified her to compete in the Miss Iowa Pageant, a preliminary for Miss America.
Without a doubt, Connie considered her greatest accomplishment finally agreeing to go on a date with the man who would become the love of her life, Dennis (Denny) Mitchell Heussner. Following her graduation from nurses training at St. Luke’s in Cedar Rapids and Denny’s first year of his enlistment in the US Army, Connie and Denny married on May 6, 1962, at Peace Church in Fredericksburg. Connie passed away just 25 days short of their 60th wedding anniversary. Connie and Denny had two daughters, Lisa and Gina.
Connie and Denny spent several years in Fayetteville, NC at Fort Bragg, where Connie worked at Womack Army Medical Center and later at Cape Fear Hospital. Following his discharge in 1963, the couple moved back to Iowa, settling in Waterloo. They would later move their young family to Pekin, IL where they would live for over 40 years.
When Denny retired the couple returned to Iowa to purchase the homestead where Connie was born to build their dream home: a 3,800 square foot log home on 4 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens. A true labor of love, Connie and Denny oversaw every element of the construction, completing a 3-stall garage with living quarters above in 2005. They lived in the garage “apartment’ while the construction on main home was completed. Connie stained and sealed every board and log, using over 120 gallons of product. Many years of love and laughter were spent on the farm including what became a family tradition…an annual Fourth of July party. After Connie’s diagnosis in January of 2021 of a grade 4 glioblastoma, the couple made the difficult decision to sell their home and to move into town in Fredericksburg.
In addition to her career as an LPN, Connie earned her real estate license and was much sought after as a seamstress, specializing in hand-beaded wedding gowns. Indeed, she made both her daughter’s wedding dresses, prom dresses, and other treasured specialty items like quilts. She had many friends from her youth who continued to be an important part of her life until the moment of her death. Connie continually added friends to her circle. In her later years she was an avid card player. Connie would never spend a nickel, not because she was frugal, but because nickels were key to her favorite card game, Sixty-Five. Her family, especially her five grandkids, remember fondly games of Sixty-Five with their Nana.
Connie was the rock of her family. However, the rock was more than symbolic. Near Connie’s childhood home, there is a large rock located in the ditch along the gravel road. This rock was a treasured landmark when Connie’s daughters were little. The girls knew the trip to grandma and grandpa’s farm was almost over when they passed the rock. Connie played on that rock as a little girl herself, trying to climb up the east side, but it was always too high. Later Lisa and Gina would tell their children the stories and “Mom’s Rock” and it quickly became “Nana’s Rock”. In July of 2021 as Connie’s friends and family gathered to stay goodbye to the farm, and the rock that marked the way played a part…everyone left their print on “Nana’s Rock.” A title was painted by Connie’s granddaughter Elizabeth, and friends and family added their sentiments on the rock, and others sent rocks from as far away as Greece, Spain and over 20 states in the US.
“The family wishes to thank all the friends, family, and healthcare professionals who gave Connie love and care during her journey, especially the staff of St. Croix Hospice, specifically Sarah, Amanda, April, and Nikki.”
She is survived by her husband, Dennis, and her two daughters, Lisa (Steven) Young of Dallas, Texas, Gina (Thomas) Miller of Bentonville, Arkansas; her sister, Lorraine Weilder of New Hampton; five grandchildren, Austin (Veronica) Young of Dallas Texas, Emilia (Richard) Rieske of Mobile, Alabama, Riley Miller of Bentonville Arkansas, Hayden (Andra) Young of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Elizabeth (Andrew) Groom of Orem, Utah. She has two great-grandchildren, Olivia Miller and Eliza Kay Rieske.
She was proceeded in death by her parents, Elsie (Ungerer) and Erwin Winter, and her brother, Dennis.