Della Lee (Bradshaw) Brunson was born September 12th, 1925 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Della was one of six children born to Francis and Mary "Tamie" Fatamor Bradshaw. Raised in Florida, she graduated from Lake Worth High School in Florida and attended Harding College.
December 24th, 1943 she married her one and only true love, Robert Ellery Brunson Sr., during WWII, while he was stationed in Florida. They moved to Muscatine, Iowa, where they raised their five children, on the same land that two generations of Brunsons did before them. They shared their home, faith, love and care with numerous children and foster children over the years. Della was a loving, devoted, hardworking wife and mother. She had a lovely contagious smile complimented by her southern accent.
During her most difficult times, Della leaned on her faith. In 1977 she spent long hours in the hospital caring for her husband as he battled cancer. She faithfully prayed as he fought and eventually lost his battle to cancer in 1978. During this time she made one of her famous quilts for their daughter. Always thinking of others even in her darkest times, Della had a huge heart for service and a generous soul. She was a cornerstone of the Davenport and Muscatine Church of Christ supporting missionaries, sojourners, preachers, hungry college kids and the elderly.
Della was a master gardener and took a course on bee keeping. She used these skills and experience to serve on the Muscatine conservation board for 10 years.
Combing two of her passions gardening and her faith, she created a ministry. Sharing her faith as she shared her garden and knowledge with all who would visit. No one left her garden tours empty handed. If you didn't leave with a truck load of plants, you left knowing a little more that when you arrived. More about plants, animals and God.
Della enjoyed traveling and made it to most of the United States she visited New Zealand, Australia, Fuji, Spain, Venezuela, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and South Korea.
The last ten years Della lived with her only surviving sibling, Cathryn, under the care of Cathryn and her daughter Patty. Patty and her family were instrumental in the love, joy and support that surrounded these sisters. The sisters attended church, family functions, and even doctor appointments with their family doctor, Dr. Slaton together. After hearing of Della's passing Dr. Slaton said their story was the most beautiful love story he'd ever heard in all his 50+ years of practice.
Although Dementia/Alzheimer's had stolen her memory, during church Della still knew all the words to hymns and could correctly answer bible study questions. Memory loss could not touch her deep rooted faith.
We celebrate her life, rather than only grieve her loss. Rejoicing in her life on this earth. A life that blessed many.
Della is preceded in death by her parents; husband, Robert Sr.; son, Robert Jr.; grandson, David; granddaughter, Micaela; brother, Francis "Jack" Bradshaw Jr.; and sisters, Mary, Ann, and Betty in infancy.
She is survived by her sister, Cathryn; Robert Jr.'s children, Maria, Beth and Claudette; daughter, Cathy (Ted) Colschen and their children, Catrese and Michelle; sons, Paul (Deb) and his children, Sarah, Rachel, Amanda and Brad; Peter (Connie) and his children, Alison and Adrian; Brian (Alma) and their children, Danielle, Lindsay, Garrett and Rebekah. Also left to honor her memory are many great grandchildren and a great, great grandchild.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made in Della's name to the Muscatine, Iowa, or Alchua, Florida, Church of Christ, the Muscatine Conservation Board, or you could plant or share a flower with someone in Della's memory.
"My husband and I worked along side Della at the Muscatine High School. She cleaned the library area on the third shift, and at that time you could look down into the library from the 2nd floor. We could often see her "reading" the news paper through her eyelids as her chin rested on her chest...lol!! We always felt blessed by Dell'a kindness and patience. Della invited us to her home to cut a Christmas tree down in the timber. We soon realized the tree blessing in that rip was the joy she received from sharing her gardens and memories of building her home with her beloved husband. At the time I didn't truly appreciate the love of the simple things she cherished so much, like the handmade quilt she lovely touched as she told the story of its pieces. Della gave me a new perspective on family and memories that I hold dear to this day. May you rest in peace my dear friend! Mary Keever Quigley"
"Della always said, "People are like plants. Some of these (as she pointed to her flower garden) are hardy and strong, some are fragile and need lots of help. Some of them take over if you let them, and some you have to nurture to get growing..." and she went on to tell of human nature and our differences. And how to love every person you meet. She was a truly inspirational woman and I am glad she was in my life. "
"So sorry for loss, but heaven's gain. She was always so sweet! "
"So sorry to the whole family."
"I met Della when I was a teenager and friends with Cathy and Bobby. Always so friendly and welcoming to me when I visited. All my memories of Della are great ones, and I can hear her voice as I text. My sympathies to all of her family and friends.