Florence Irene Kinney

florence kinney
Florence Irene Kinney, age 97, of Elma, IA passed away Friday, December 20, 2013 at Colonial Manor in Elma. Florence Irene (Pollock) Kinney was born to Ray I. and Annetta (Hepner) Pollock in Nora Springs, Iowa on August 20, 1916. Florence had an older brother, two younger brothers and a younger sister. When Florence was three and a half years old the family moved to a farm northwest of Elma. The summer after she graduated from high school Florence enrolled at Iowa State Teachers College (now known as University of Northern Iowa) in Cedar Falls. She began her teaching career that fall. She taught in the Afton 5 and 6 country schools before she was united in marriage to Matt Kinney. She and Matt were parents of six children: Carol, James, Mary Lou, June, Patty and Linda. They lived on the Kinney home place two and a half miles west of Elma their entire married life. In 1955, Florence was able to go back to teaching. This started a long series of night classes and getting up at four o’clock in the morning to make the trip to Fayette, Iowa for summer classes. Florence received her BS degree in 1970 from Upper Iowa University. The return to teaching started in two different country schools and continued in two nearby communities, Riceville and Alta Vista. She taught 5th grade in the Elma Public School the final eleven years of her teaching career. Florence was known as a diligent student throughout her elementary and high school years. She often related that she decided to become a teacher in eighth grade due to the influence of her teacher, Amanda Boderman. She knew early in her life that a teaching career would fulfill her strong interests in human development and give her the joy of working with children. She took a deep personal interest in her students, always looking to bring out the best in each one and engaging their families in their education. She took great pride in hearing about the successes of her former students. She thoroughly enjoyed running into them in town and sharing laughs about her disciplinary methods and hearing how much of a positive difference she had made in their lives. When Matt passed away in June 1989, Florence stayed on the farm for another 18 years taking care of the house and farmland. She planted a large vegetable garden each spring, always experimenting with new growing and watering techniques. She preserved large quantities of vegetables and fruits to be enjoyed by her children and grandchildren. As Florence began to decline physically, ever practical and realistic, she made the decision herself to move to Colonial Manor in November 2007. She made the transition with her usual grace and positive attitude, often expressing her gratitude and admiration for the staff there. She was a long-time member of the Tomorrow Club and the Friends and Neighbors Club. Florence loved her local community and was known as a loyal friend to many neighbors and teacher colleagues. She took great pleasure in the visits of her children and grandchildren to the farm, cooking their favorite dishes and keeping close track of their activities and successes. They would all agree that despite her relentless work ethic she could always laugh at herself and enjoy moments of fun. She is survived by her 5 daughters: Carol (Square) Pritchett, Rogers, Arkansas; Mary Lou (Harlan) Hansen, Goodland, Minnesota; June (Jim Spady), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Patty (John) Wilson, Iowa City, Iowa; Linda (Dave) Menees, LeClaire, Iowa; her daughter-in-law Joan Kinney, Vermillion, South Dakota; her brother Lawrence Pollock of Hemet, California; her sister Harriet Duran of Tampa, Florida, 19 grandchildren, and 15 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by husband, Mathias J. Kinney of Elma, Iowa; her son, James R. Kinney of Vermillion, South Dakota; her parents, Ray and Annetta Pollock of Osage, Iowa; two brothers, Tom Pollock and his wife Colleen of Northwood, Iowa; and Howard Pollock and his wife Lucille of Portland, Oregon. ** Please note that on Friday the Scriptural Wake Service will open with the song "No More Night" by grandson Andrew Menees with fiance Natalie. There will be scriptures, a memorial reading, and an opening for sharing memories and thoughts about Florence. At the end will be the hymn "I'd Rather Have Jesus" by grandson Jeremy Menees.

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  1. As my own family grew our two boys favorite memories were of our visits to my aunt Florence. She would always have a list of fix it items for me and chores for our sons. On our arrival once Florence was on the outdoor steps to the cellar with a pitch fork. When we got out of the car she was poking a raccoon that was down on the cellar steps. Nothing ever messed with Florence.
    I’ll miss her.
    Larry Kinney
    (Steve Kinney’s son)

  2. I just finished reading Mrs. Kinney’s biography. on the service page. ….

    What a wonderful tribute to Mrs. Kinney! As a former fifth grader at Elma Elementary…I recall many memories of Mrs. Kinney forever trying to find a spot for me to sit where I would not talk to my classmates. I believe Mrs. Kinney triumphed in the end…but it took several moves before I got the hint. Her perseverance paid off and I was able to pass fifth grade and very much to my own parents sigh of relief become an educator. Each time, I ran into Mrs. Kinney we shared a laugh or two about my inability to stop talking…and her pride that I entered into the field of education. And every now and again, as I am in my classroom, wondering how I am going to get through to this student…I think of my fifth grade teacher…and her ability to get through to the many students that entered her doorway.

  3. To the Kinney girls:
    You have my deepest sympathy at your mothers passing. You’ve had lots of years with her and I’m sure lots of wonderful memories as well. It’s been many years since I’ve seen your mom but I do have a good remembrance of her, especially when Patty & I would get into trouble!
    Gods Blessing on all of you!
    Jeanne (Paulus) Hegtvedt

  4. Dear June and family, I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your dear mom. She sounded like such a wonderful person who had a full and happy life. My thoughts are with you always. Sincerely, Janice (Philadelphia, PA)

  5. Dear Kinney Family,
    Our deepest sympathy to all of you. I remember Florence with great admiration. She was so kind to my Mother and Dad. As a kid I stayed at your home for some overnights and we had great fun. You all cherish the wonderful memories of being with your Mother.
    We are in Colorado visiting until after Christmas with our son and family.
    We are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.


    Louise and Donn

  6. I spent a great deal of time going to classed with Florence. She was a very smart, dutiful student!!!!
    I was also classmate of her daughter Mary Lou and I think that she took us both to college our freshman year. She was a very kind, thoughtful person!!!!!!

  7. June, I am very sorry about the loss of your mother. You were a loving, compassionate daughter. Please know that your friends and colleagues are thinking of you. Fondly, Elayne Howard

  8. Dear Linda & Patty & all… So sorry for your loss. Your Mom was awesome. I loved the sound of her voice. It had such a quiet, calming effect! My Mom always spoke of her with so much admiration of her intelligence and ability to express herself.
    Sincerely, Alice (Enright) Gansen

  9. Such great memories of Mrs. Kinney’s 5th grade class. Because of her, I will always spell Wednesday correctly. I also learned the words to “We Three Kings” for our Christmas program – it’s still one of my favorite Christmas songs.

  10. Carol and all of the Kinney Family,
    We want to extend our prayers and sympathy to your families.Your Mom was a very special lady,and always so nice to visit with.One could always tell she was educated and knew a lot about many things. She was just special.may all your great memories help you at this sad time.
    Marian and Tom Gebel

  11. My deepest sympathy to all of Florence’s family. I cannot tell you how blessed I feel to have had her for a teacher for my 7th and 8th grade years at the Alta Vista school. She left a wonderful legacy as a teacher, which I will never forget. Sheryl (Tolliver) Ostlund

  12. Please accept our sincere condolences. May the words quoted from this song bring you a measure of comfort as it did for us.
    ”If a man or woman should die, can they live again?
    Hear the promise God has made:
    He will call; The dead will answer.
    They shall live at his command.
    For he will have a longing
    For the work of his own hand.
    So have faith, and do not wonder,
    For our God can make us stand.
    And we shall live forever,
    As the work of his own hand ”(Job 14:13-15)

  13. Florence was a great neighbor, friend and landlord! She always had a great interest in farming and what you were doing on the farm. I remember her spending many hours in her huge garden and was happy to share the fresh produce with the neighbors and her family. She was a hard worker and a great teacher. She will be missed!

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