HAWARDEN—Elna Jane Juffer, 78, beloved sister and mother, died Friday, July 22, 2022, in Hawarden, IA.
A private service will be held in California.
Elna was born on Jan. 12, 1944, in Hawarden to Gerrit and Gertrude Juffer. As a small child, Elna grew up on the family farm at the edge of Ireton with her parents, first and second-generation immigrants from Holland respectively, and her 10 older siblings. In later years, the family moved into town.
Elna was a gifted violinist placing first in several Iowa state competitions for high school students, and was concertmaster in regional and state orchestras during her years as a student. She also played trombone in the high school band, a testament to her extraordinary versatility as a musician. Elna was elected to the homecoming queen’s court and graduated from Hawarden High School with honors. She went on to attended Morningside College in Sioux City and then University of South Dakota in Vermillion earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Education.
In 1964, Elna married Jack Bode. Together they moved to Wayne, NE, where their son, Nick, was born in 1965. In subsequent years, the family moved to Michigan, London, England, Washington, DC and finally to New York City. During these years Elna worked as a teacher and then returned to university earning a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Hunter College in New York City. After achieving her degree with honors, Elna worked at the Brooklyn Human Services Agency and a YMCA in Manhattan.
In 1979 Elna moved to Sibley, IA, where she lived with her son Nick. It was during these years that her life-long struggles with mental illness became apparent to those who loved her most.
She moved to Southern California in 1981 and lived there for many years, always residing very close to the beach where she loved to take long walks and enjoy the ocean breezes. In 1989, Elna moved to Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas, USVI. She lived in the Caribbean for several years before returning to Southern California in the late 1990s. In later life, Elna returned to Hawarden where she lived amongst a community that loved and supported her until her passing.
Elna maintained a fiercely, independent spirit and an absolutely extraordinary memory … she consistently amazed her family and friends with detailed recollections of historical dates and events. There was literally nothing you could slip past her! She remained an avid reader throughout her life, and continued to enjoy a deep love for music of all genres, especially classical and R&B.
Elna is survived by her sisters, Ruth Young and Verla Jungling; her brother, Marvin Juffer; and her son, Nick Bode. She will be deeply missed.
Tribute gifts can be sent to: secure.givelively.org/donate/american-psychiatric-association-foundation.