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Lora Rackstraw

June 27, 1931 May 8, 2018
Lora  Rackstraw
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Obituary for Lora Rackstraw

Loree (Lora Lee) Rackstraw died on Tuesday, May 8, 2018, in Grinnell, Iowa, at the age of 86. She was born on June 27, 1931, in Omaha, Nebraska, to Armour and Lela (Mason) Pugh. She is survived by a sister, Lois Larson of Minneapolis, MN; five children, Leslie Wilson of Minneapolis, MN; Robert T. Wilson III of College Grove, TN; Kevin Rackstraw (m. Joanne Hustead) of Bethesda, MD; Geoffrey Rackstraw of Bethesda, MD; Deirdre (Rackstraw) Moore of Eugene, OR; thirteen grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

Loree grew up in Mason City and Clear Lake, Iowa, spending much of her youth reading, helping to establish a local Girl Scout camp, sailing and teaching swimming.

She received her BA in psychology from Grinnell College and her MFA from the University of Iowa, where her love of language and literature bloomed in the Writers’ Workshop. One of Loree’s passions was teaching and she served as an associate professor of English and also the Humanities (’66-’96) at the University of Northern Iowa. She was loved by thousands of students and admired by fellow faculty over the years for her commitment to the arts, quality education and her unfailingly gracious and supportive nature.

In 2007 Loree published a memoir (Love as Always, Kurt – Vonnegut as I Knew Him) which is an examination of her longtime friend, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.’s, major works of fiction through the lens of his life and the state of the world during the writings. She also contributed to numerous publications regarding Kurt Vonnegut’s work, published articles on a variety of other topics and served as Fiction Editor to the North American Review from 1969-1972.

Loree’s fine mind was insatiably curious about many things including environmental protection, mythology, Chaos theory, feminism and the humanities. She studied ancient ruins in France, Turkey, Peru and Egypt, sailed the Greek Islands and traveled to places such as Russia, the Galapagos Islands, France and Italy with family and friends. She also participated in many professional and community organizations, tirelessly advocating for respect and fair mindedness.

Another passion was her family and friends. Loree’s home in Cedar Falls was the hub for memorable meals, holidays and gatherings where she welcomed many, from all walks of life and around the world. Her generosity, adventurous nature, and life loving presence will be dearly missed by all.

Loree’s life will be celebrated on July 7, 2018, 2-5 pm, at the Hartman Reserve Interpretive Building in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Contributions in Loree’s memory can be made to Iowa Public Radio.

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Previous Events

celebration of life




2:00 PM 7/7/2018 2:00:00 PM - 5:00 PM 7/7/2018 5:00:00 PM
Hartman Reserve Nature Center

657 Reserve Drive
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613

Hartman Reserve Nature Center
657 Reserve Drive Cedar Falls 50613 Iowa
United States

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