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Ramona Marie Smith-Gates, 95

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Ramona Marie (Fox) Smith-Gates passed away peacefully on April 19, 2022, in Des Moines. She was born near Riceville, IA on September 29, 1926 to Albert J (Bert) Fox and Loretta (Murray) Fox. They preceded her in death in 1978 and 1984, respectively. She had a beloved younger brother, John Fox, who passed away in 2004.

Ramona graduated from Lawler High School, where she played basketball and made lifelong friends. After graduating from high school, she went to work at the Chickasaw County Treasurer’s Office. It was there that she met her future husband, Clemens Smith, a New Hampton native and recent graduate of the Drake University Law School. He was running for the office of Chickasaw County Attorney when one day, he “happened” to visit the Treasurer’s Office. They placed a friendly wager - Ramona bet he wouldn’t win the election. She would never disclose whether she voted for him or not but they were married two weeks and two days after making that bet. She and Clem were lifelong New Hampton residents. He passed away in 1983.

A frequent traveler, Ramona especially enjoyed Ireland.  She was proud of her Irish heritage and took her family to Ireland to celebrate her 80th birthday.  While she enjoyed being with family, she loved and rarely missed her 7:00 am coffee at McDonald’s with her special group. Her early morning coffee group began over 50 years ago and she participated well into her 90’s.  Ramona enjoyed cooking, entertaining and making an occasional trip to a casino, or three.

Ramona supported the community of New Hampton through many charitable activities. She was a devout member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and died with rosary in hand.

Years after Clem’s death, Ramona met and married Dale Gates, a local businessman. Prior to his death in 2011, they were married for over 20 happy years. They enjoyed family and traveling together. Ramona was blessed to have five new step-children and was ecstatic when she became “Grandma” to their children.

When her health declined, Ramona moved to a care facility in Des Moines, where the staff quickly identified her sense of fun and orneriness, even at age 95.

Ramona is survived by her four children, Mark Smith (Artis Reis) of Des Moines; Jim (Cindy) Smith of West Des Moines; John Smith (Gail Ward) of St. Paul, MN; and Margee (Bill) Stamper of Greenwood, IN.  She is also survived by granddaughter Shannon (Kevin) Gaydos of Chicago; step-granddaughter Emily (Cory) Abbas and sons Rowen and Crey of Des Moines; grandsons Jordan (Bri) Smith of Las Vegas, NV; Colin Smith and daughter Maddie of Waukee, IA; Ryan (Jayma) Stamper and sons Jack and Charlie of Indianapolis, IN; Bryce (Staci) Stamper and sons Liam and Finn of Greenwood, IN; Bill (Amy) Stamper and daughters Hayden and Morgan of Fishers, IN;  and Jackson (Erin) Smith of Minneapolis.

Ramona is also survived by step-children Sue Gates, North Liberty; Karen (Randy) Erion of Decorah; John (Mary) Gates, Cedar Rapids; Lisa (Robert) Wilson of Marion; Kim (Lynn) Hopp of New Hampton. Step-grandchildren are Alison (Matt) Wood of North Liberty; Stephanie (Brian) McClure of North Liberty; Abby Erion of Cedar Rapids; Lainey ( Brad) Erion of Seattle, WA; Kyle (Emily) Gates of Chicago; Kellie (JP) Helgens of Chicago; Meggie Gates of Chicago; Hayley Fry of Cedar Rapids; Hunter (Audrey) Fry of Marion; Hilary (August) Raack of Bettendorf; Nick (Carol) Hopp of Decorah; Taylor (Maddie) Hopp of Mesa, AZ; Logan (Whitney) of Decorah; and Noah (Isabell Hoey) of Cedar Falls.

Visitation will be held on Monday, April 25, from 4 -7 pm at the Conway-Markham Funeral Home, 115 N. Broadway Ave, New Hampton.  The Funeral Mass will be held at Holy Family Parish at 10:30 am on Tuesday, April 26. Ramona will be buried next to her husband, Clem, in New Hampton.  In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions be directed to Holy Family Parish, 215 N Broadway, New Hampton, IA 50659.

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