Clara Burns


Clara “Ella” Thompson Burns, 92, Bonaparte, died on Friday, May 20, 2022, at 12:50 p.m. at Van Buren County Hospital in Keosauqua. In accordance with her wishes her body has been cremated. A celebration of life service will be held on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 at 11:00 AM at the Bonaparte Baptist Church, with Pastor Mark Caston officiating. Visitation will open at 2:00PM with family present from 5:00 to7:00PM Tuesday May 31, 2022 at Pedrick Funeral Home in Keosauqua. Burial will be at the Bonaparte Cemetery immediately following the service. Memorial contributions in Ella’s memory to the Bonaparte Baptist Church may be left at the church or mailed to the family at 411 Jackson Street, Bonaparte, Iowa 52620.  Friends may leave online condolences at

Ella was born February 25, 1930 to George Roy Thompson and Clara Ethel Dorson Thompson in rural Keosauqua. After the death of her mother at the age of 12 she went to live with her maternal grandparents, Otto and Clara Dorson in rural Milton graduating from Milton High School. She married Dean Brown Burns May 29, 1947 in Cantril, Iowa and moved to Bonaparte. Dean died February 25, 2006. Ella was an avid reader, enjoyed bowling and golf. When she was nine years old she was taught by her mother to play the piano and organ. Ella was asked by Gerald Harlan to play the piano at the Bonaparte Baptist Church in April of 1953. The church later purchased its first organ in November of 1954. She was a fixture behind the organ keyboard for nearly 68 years. Ella worked at the Fairfield Glove Factory in Bonaparte for a short time before going to work in the office at Corry’s Machine and Tool in the mid 50’s. She worked there for 16 years before moving to the Record-Republican newspaper for a couple of years. She later worked in the bookkeeping department at Riverside Plastics for 19 years before retiring on November 4, 1996. She is survived by a son, Kenneth and his wife Astrid of Fairfield; a daughter, Shirley and her husband Steve Shriver of Bonaparte; grandchildren, Benjamin Burns of Redding, California; Joshua Burns of Spokane, Washington; Heather Benedict of Shelton, Washington; Jennifer Rowe of Willard, Missouri; Megan Lynn of Bowling Green, Kentucky; Scott Bartholomew and Andy Bartholomew, both of Keosauqua; 17 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, her mother, father, step-mother, Geneva McCash, a grandson, Michael Bartholomew, three sisters, Juanita Meyer, Alice Louise McCumber and infant Alberta Ruth Thompson.

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