Norma Jean Whisler-Sprouse “Bird”, age 75, of Centerville, passed away Monday, March 28, 2022 at Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines.
Jean was born on November 15, 1946 in Bloomfield, Iowa, the daughter of William Wade “FID” and Gertrude (Dokos) Whisler. She graduated from Centerville High School with the Class of 1965. Jean was united in marriage to Larry Joseph Sprouse, and to this union, two children were born, Nicole and Justin. The couple later divorced. She furthered her education at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, receiving a bachelor’s degree in social work.
After college, Jean began working in the social work field, and excelled in her work, being promoted to Director of the Iowa Department of Human Services for four counties. She worked for DHS for 23 years, changing many lives and helping many families and children until her retirement. As a woman that always cared for others more than herself, Jean decided to continue to help others, accepting a job at the Domestic Violence & Women’s Shelter, Family Crisis Center in Ottumwa, Iowa. She was an advocate for women and children suffering from domestic violence and sexual assault. When Nicole moved to Arizona, Jean followed, and worked at a Crisis Center as an advocate to anyone in need. She wrote many grants throughout her work life for the safety of women, families and for DHS. Upon moving back to Centerville, Jean stopped working as an advocate, but never stopped her passion of caring for others. She was known to always help anyone in need, including feeding the homeless and clothing families after tragedies. Jean was called the Cat Lady of the neighborhood, because she loved taking care of all the animals, especially the cats. She was a genuine person, who had a heart of gold.
In her spare time, Jean enjoyed collecting and hunting rocks. She was also fond of the ocean and lighthouses. Moreover, her family always came first. She loved them deeply, and cherished every moment spent with her children and grandchildren.
Jean was raised a Baptist, and in her early adult years, she converted to Catholicism. Most recently, while still valuing her Catholic views, she attended the Bridge Church in Centerville, and always had good things to say about it.
Left to cherish Jean’s memory are her children, Nicole Sprouse-Boughner of Centerville and Justin (Amanda) Sprouse of Centerville; two brothers, Dan (Nancy) Whisler of Springfield, Missouri, and Ron (Sandy) Whisler of Bakersfield, California; 11 grandchildren, Gavin Boughner, Brayden Boughner, Garrett Boughner, Katelyn Boughner; Jacy Drew-Sprouse, Paris Sprouse, Josie Sprouse, Leah Sprouse, Blaine Sprouse, Josie Collins, and Kiley Collins; a great grandchild on the way (which Jean was ecstatic about!); her best friend, Nell Gates of Centerville; as well as several other family members including nieces, nephews and cousins.
Jean was preceded in death by her parents, William “FID” and Gertrude Whisler; an infant brother, Jerry Whisler; her sister, Debbie Stevens; her son-in-law, Christopher “Chris” Boughner; and her very best friend, her Schnauzer Dog, Darla, who she cared for like one of her children.
Funeral services will be held at 11AM, Saturday, April 2, 2022 at the Bridge Church, 415 Bank Street, Centerville, Iowa 52544 with Pastor Tommy Wilkins officiating. Burial will follow the service at Haines Cemetery, north of Centerville. Visitation will be held Saturday, April 2, 2022 at the Bridge Church, with the family greeting friends from 10-11AM. Memorials have been established to either Nicole Sprouse-Boughner or Justin Sprouse and may be mailed to Lange Funeral Home and Crematory, 1900 S. 18th St., Centerville, Iowa, 52544. Condolences may be shared online at www.langefh.com or on our funeral home Facebook page.