Iva Lynn, 92, passed away on December 19, 2022, in Aspen Trace Family-first Senior Living in Greenwood, Indiana. Surviving her are daughters Lori Lynn and Jodi (husband, Kent) Barth; grandson, Kyle Barth; granddaughters, Katie Barth and Kirsten (husband, Josh) Crawford; and great-granddaughter, Josie Crawford; brother, Dennis (wife, Rose Ann) Strandlund; and brother, Don (wife, Joanne) Strandlund. She is predeceased by her husband of 68 years, Leslie Ray Lynn, Jr.; father, Elmer Strandlund; mother, Anna Strandlund; and sister, Alice (husband, Ralph) Beckstrom.
Iva was known for her sweet, caring, and nurturing personality with a persevering, “can-do” attitude. Friends and family found her ability to remain calm and collected during stressful situations very comforting and inspiring. The grace with which she approached life stemmed from her faith perspective: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13 Her life exemplified “faithful servant.” If someone made a mistake or a bad decision, she didn’t place judgment. She would ask, “What have you learned from this?” She lived with a consistently kind and loving demeanor. She adhered to the adage, “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything.” She has been described as a modest, quiet, polite, elegant lady. She loved watching birds, especially hummingbirds, interacting with little children, and decorating her home, especially during holidays. She enjoyed making Swedish food, collecting Swedish made items, and sharing her Swedish heritage with her family at VASA events and at home.
Jodi and Lori wish to share some possibly little-known facts about her life and found the cost of goods and wages fascinating in the early part of her life. Iva was not born on her family farm; instead, she was born “in town” at a midwife’s home, the Lundquist family’s home in Roseau, Minnesota. She grew up on a farm in Roseau. She recalls her life started without electricity, plumbed water, or indoor toilets. For light, they used kerosene lamps, and they got water by manually pumping a well and carrying it back to the house. Some of her fondest childhood memories were the “Sunday Night Special Performances by Elmer” where her father dressed in funny outfits, sang, told stories, and created entertaining skits for his family. Her favorite childhood gift was a Shirley Temple doll. She attended the nearby one-room Strandlund District 27-E Elementary School at which her mother previously taught. Her first job was working at the County Auditor’s office making $100 per month. By the time she graduated high school in 1948, she saved $400 and enrolled to attend Bethel College. In the summer of 1949 at Lake Bronson, Iva met Ray, her husband-to-be, who was part of a gospel team at Vacation Bible School (VBS). At the VBS, Iva taught classes and sang with her sister’s piano accompaniment. Ray preached, sang, and played a couple of songs on the alto saxophone. She was especially attracted to Ray’s zest for life and boundless enthusiasm. It didn’t hurt that he was “really good-looking” either, she added. During that summer, Ray visited Iva in Roseau and found out that she, too, was planning to attend Bethel College.
The next year, she attended Bethel College as a part-time student and worked part-time at a dry cleaner where she made $0.50 per hour. Initially, she aspired to become a counselor and help people. Ray and Iva got engaged and lived in dorms before they got married. She attended Bethel from 1949 to 1950. To cover Ray’s college and upcoming seminary expenses, she quit school and worked as a full-time bookkeeper at Hanline University in St. Paul. In 1952, they married in Roseau, Minnesota. They moved to an apartment on the fifth floor (without an elevator) with a shared bathroom in St. Paul. They had plastic curtains and one fluffy rug which they would always walk around to keep it looking nice. Out of habit, they walked around the rug during a visit from their parents who copied their actions. Everyone had a good laugh when an embarrassed Ray and Iva told them to feel free to walk on the rug.
In May 1956, they moved to Louisville, Kentucky to Bernard Hall and then to Judson Hall so Ray could attend seminary. Their daughter, Lori, was born a month later. Oakland City College (connected with the General Baptist denomination) hired Ray to be a part-time teacher and a part-time General Baptist pastor on Sundays. Ray and Iva arrived in Oakland City on November 4, 1956, and they moved into a duplex. Iva frequently played piano and sang for church services and prayer meetings early in Ray’s career. She loved singing in various church choirs over the years.
That fall, Iva attended Oakland City College. Iva was then a mother, a minister’s wife, and a student with a full load of tuition-free classes, a perk for being married to a college employee. Knowing her husband’s calling as a pastor would potentially involve frequent moves, she thought she would have a greater likelihood of finding a job as an elementary school teacher. Iva graduated from Oakland City College with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in June 1959. In December 1959, she obtained her General Elementary Provisional Certificate.
Ray and Iva moved from Oakland City to Princeton where Ray became the pastor at Princeton Baptist Church. Iva earned a ½ year credit toward retirement when she became a kindergarten substitute teacher in Princeton.
Their daughter, Jodi, was born shortly after moving to Bloomington, Indiana. Spencer Elementary School hired Iva to set up the kindergarten program, after which she taught fourth grade in Spencer for 10 years. In Spencer, Iva made $4,480 per year as a first-year teacher in 1962. In the summer of 1960, Ray and Iva moved to I.U. Student Housing in Hoosier Courts. Indiana University hired Ray as a professor teaching philosophy, psychology, and religious studies. As the wife of an I.U. employee, Iva was able to take master’s classes tuition-free while teaching.
Iva became a packing and household relocating expert with nineteen different homes over the years. In the beginning, they served Baptist congregations in Oakland City and Princeton, Indiana. Ray and Iva were then baptized in the United Methodist faith and served congregations in various locations in Indiana. During Ray’s 59-year career as a minister, the family moved whenever Ray was assigned to a new United Methodist Church (UMC) in the Southern Indiana Conference. Most of the UMC congregations they served are listed here: Whitaker UMC in Gosport, Samaria, Fatch Chapel near Center Point, Bowling Green, Springville, Harrodsburg, Evansville, Columbus, Indianapolis (Chapel Hill), Fishers, Bedford, Indianapolis (Bellaire UMC and East 10th Street UMC) and lastly at Brookside United Methodist Church in Indianapolis for 6 months until the assigned minister graduated from seminary.
During these household moves, Iva taught kindergarten and fourth grade in Spencer, fifth grade at McGary in Evansville; fifth grade in Columbus (at McKinley, then McDowell); and fifth grade in Indianapolis (at College Park and Guion Creek). During her 34-year teaching career, she had tenure 3 times (which required a 6-year period in the same school corporation to earn tenure).
Iva retired in 1996 after teaching 34 years. Later she worked part-time in the Warranty Department at C.P. Morgan (a residential home builder where Lori worked). Her last job was as an administrative assistant for Kruse Carpet Recycling where she worked for several years. The staff celebrated her 80th birthday before she retired.
Iva loved to travel and learn about other places. Ray and Iva took many trips with Iva’s sister Alice and husband Ralph. They toured Europe, Iceland, and many places in the states. Iva joined Ray on several tours of Europe and Sweden. In 1979, the family went on an 11-day European tour.
Being Swedish Iva had an interest in learning more about her heritage. When they first moved to Indianapolis, Iva heard about the VASA Order of America, an organization for people of Scandinavian heritage. On May 2, 1982, she joined VASA Svea Lodge 253 and became extensively involved. In 1983, she went to Sweden as a VASA guest with Ray, which was the first of several trips taken to visit her relatives in cities in Sweden. Iva was proud of her Swedish heritage and eager to learn more about Swedish culture. Although she grew up around grandparents who spoke Swedish and understood most of what she heard, she took Swedish language classes to improve her ability to communicate with and write to her relatives. She loved bringing her family to Swedish festivities and meetings and sang in the Lucia choir for many years. She served on many committees over the years. As Cultural Leader for Svea Lodge 253, she enjoyed developing educational programs for the monthly Svea meetings. Later, she was asked to become the District Cultural Leader and District Historian for the District Lodge Lake Michigan #8 and developed programs for the District, as well. After many years of service, District Lodge Lake Michigan No. 8 presented her with the Distinguished Service Award medal in 2004 and a lifetime VASA membership. As her health declined, she missed being able to attend the meetings and events, but she especially missed seeing her VASA Family.
Iva delighted in taking ballroom dancing lessons. Her true passion for dancing centered around learning and performing Swedish and German folk dances with Dans Norden (Northern Dancers), an Indianapolis dance group specializing in traditional Scandinavian folk dances. She danced with Dans Norden since its inception in 1986. The group performed many times for the International Festival, the Indiana State Fair, and many other venues. As a dancer, she decided to order an authentic, custom-made outfit from Sweden using materials, colors, and textures that represented her ancestral region of Umeå.
In 2011, Iva and Ray moved from Fishers to a home in Indianapolis. In 2016, they moved to the Altenheim Family First Senior Living Community where Ray passed away in September 2020. Iva passed away December 19, at Aspen Trace Assisted Living under hospice care. Her quiet strength and ever-present love and interest in the lives of her loved ones will be dearly missed.
A memorial celebration is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 11, 2023, at Little & Sons located at 4901 E. Stop 11 Road, Indianapolis, IN. In lieu of flowers, Iva asked donation gifts be made to “VOA SVEA Lodge 253” (send to Ulla Williams, 270 Earl Park Way, Westfield, IN 46074-8979); or ”St. Luke’s United Methodist Church” (send to St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 West 86th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46260); or to your own church.