Sylvia Roush


Sylvia Mae Roush, 87, formerly of Ottumwa, died September 27, 2022 in Wayzata, Minnesota where she had resided for the past year.

She was born January 30, 1935 in Burlington to Withrow B. and Naomi E. Meyer Roscum. She married Richard C. Roush in 1959 and he preceded her in death August 1, 2008.

Growing up in Denmark, IA, Sylvia graduated from Denmark Academy. She earned her nursing degree (RN) from Coe College/St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing in Cedar Rapids and a Bachelor of Science Degree at Iowa Wesleyan College while working as a campus nurse. Sylvia was the first person in her family to graduate from college. While working as the campus nurse in Mt. Pleasant, she met her husband, a traveling pharmacist, while picking up prescriptions. They lived in Iowa City while Richard went to Dental School and in Pella where Richard had a dental practice, before moving to Ottumwa, where he practiced orthodontics.

Sylvia was a wonderful, hugely creative person with a great sense of humor and an enormous heart who was late to everything as she always had just 1 more thing to do. She was a gifted seamstress who sewed countless prom dresses (often hemming dresses during pictures with the date), bridesmaid dresses, kids’ clothing, doll dresses, window treatments, and anything else you needed as she was always up for a challenge. She also loved oil painting especially painting Santa and his reindeers flying over her house. She made the best Halloween Costumes. And the best caramel rolls. She was a leader for 4-H, Blue Birds and Cub Scouts. Sylvia was a faithful parishioner of First Presbyterian Church holding many positions over the years including Deacon, Elder, Sunday School Teacher and communion bread baker. Sylvia was a savior and rescuer of innumerable animals (the veterinarians were surely among the most to miss her when she moved )and a devoted volunteer of Heartland Humane Society. She was also a member of: Fortnightly Ladies Group, P.E.O. Chapter HC, Laurieate Guild, Pi Beta Phi Sorority, served on the Indian Hills Community College Foundation board.

Surviving are her children, who are all above average in looks, intelligence, temperament, and humbleness, however, Sylvia made it clear that they were not going to be people who could rely on their looks and that they needed to develop a winning personality, Christopher Roush of NC, Joan Mallonee of Bettendorf, Lynne (Steve) LaRose of Plymouth, MN, Dr. Eric (Dr. Kim) Roush of Urbandale, Susan (Dominic) Holmes of Plymouth, MN and Leslye (John) Liu of NC; 18 grandchildren; 1 great-grandson, 2 nieces and 2 nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; a brother, Charles Roscum; and a sister, Lois Kelly.

Memorials may be made to Samaritan’s Purse International Disaster Relief, Heartland Humane Society, Hospice Foundation of America or as a memorial, we know she would prefer for you to adopt a pet from your local humane society and name it Sylvia.

A private burial and service has been held.

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