Lois Banwart was born August 20, 1921 to Hugh and Ethel Colwell, at their Ayrshire, Iowa farm home. She passed away peacefully, surrounded by family at her Adel home on March 15, 2012.
Lois enjoyed telling her grandchildren and great-grandchildren her family history, which was hard for them to comprehend when compared to their lives today. Her first seven years of education were in a country one room school. She and her brother would travel the three miles to and from school in a cart pulled by their pony. Tales such as this prompted Lois and her husband Harold to write an extensive memoir of their lives which is treasured by friends and family. Lois graduated from High School in Algona, Iowa and attended Dakota Wesleyan University.
After Pearl Harbor she interrupted her education choosing to contribute more directly to the national effort working for the FBI in Washington, DC and Chicago. After five years of military service, three years of which had been spent overseas, Harold Banwart returned and on August 15, 1944 Harold and Lois, high school sweethearts, were married in the living room of her parent's home in Algona. Harold graduated in 1950 from the Iowa School of Dentistry and the couple moved to Adel to set up practice. Lois worked as office manager and homemaker for three active children. In 1964 their youngest child, Bette, age twelve, died after a long illness. Although in her mid forties, Lois returned to college determined to complete her degree. Following graduation from Drake, she taught high school business subjects at Central Dallas in Minburn.
Upon retirement Lois and Harold embarked on second careers in foreign missions. With Harold practicing dentistry and Lois assisting, their dental mission work included Yucatan and Pueblo Mexico, the Torreon Navajo Mission in New Mexico, Hong Kong, and Haiti. Their most exciting assignment was in 1979, a year of service in Botswana, Africa where Lois taught at a Catholic business school for girls while Harold practiced dentistry. In 1984-1985 they spent two years as host couple greeting, educating and feeding thousands of guests at the Heifer International Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas. Lois and Harold retired to Florida. When Harold died in 2000, Lois returned to enjoy the love and support of her Adel family.
During her years in Adel, Lois was active in the community. She was a member of the Adel Methodist Church and later the Panther Creek Church of the Brethren. She was a member of PEO and Adel Women's Club. Other interests included Hospice of Central Iowa, reading, music and bridge. In 2006 Lois began a new project as a devoted and relentless spokesperson for Heifer International's effort to feed the hungry. Lois and her family are deeply appreciative of Pastor Dave Kerkove's gentle spiritual support and the daily joy and comfort of her friends. We are grateful to Mercy Hospice and Home Instead Senior Care. Without their professional and personal care Lois could not have lived out her final days in the home she loved.