Adele M. "Della" Stefani, 97, of Nevada, Iowa, died with her loving family by her side on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at the Story County Senior Care Center in Nevada.
Services celebrating Della’s life were held Tuesday, November 12 at St. Patrick Catholic Church with Father Rick Dagit officiating. Burial was held at Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines, Iowa.
Della was born January 3, 1916 in Bloomfield Township, Polk County, Iowa to Italian immigrants Primo and Filomena (Tollari) Rossi. She graduated from Waukee, Iowa High School in 1934 and on October 25th of the same year, was united in marriage to Renato (Ray) Stefani at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Waukee, Iowa.
Della and Ray lived their early years of marriage in the Shuler Coal Mining Camp near Waukee, Iowa. In the late 1930’s they moved to Chicago, Illinois and in 1945 moved to Nevada, Iowa where they purchased, in partnership with Armido Cerretti, the Nevada Candy Kitchen and Rainbow Billiard Parlor.
Della was an active member of St. Patrick Catholic Church, St. Ann’s Study Club, Catholic Daughters of America, Nevada Women’s Club, Societa Vittoria Italiana Auxiliary, American Legion Auxiliary Post 48, and Nevada Public Library Book Club. She was recognized many times for her volunteer services at the Story County Medical Center and Senior Care Center.
Della was selected as the first Nevada Lincoln Highway Days Queen. She was voted Citizen of the Year by the Italian-American Cultural Center of Iowa during the 2006 Columbus Day Celebration in Des Moines. She was also voted as the first winner of the Mama Mia contest at the Italian-American Heritage Festival in Des Moines in 2011.
Her family and many friends knew Della to be energetic, loving, generous, and compassionate. She was a fantastic cook of Italian cuisine and homemaker. Della’s delicious meals were well known to many of her children’s friends who found ingenious excuses to be invited to her house to share in the meals and enjoy wonderful friendship.
When all her children were in school she worked many years at Donnelly Marketing Corporation in Nevada. After retiring from Donnelly’s, she enjoyed working seasonally with her friends at Crows Hybrid Seed Corn Company in Nevada. Della also enjoyed detasseling seed corn on Nevada area farms with her friends, children, and grandchildren. Della and Ray were well-known and loved by many generations of children and adults who patronized their Story County 4H Fair concession stand. They owned and operated the stand for over forty years serving snow cones, cotton candy, popcorn, soft drinks, and candy.
Left to cherish her memory are her six children, Angelo, Lillian (Gary), Gloria (Richard – deceased), Gary (Linda), Ron (Sue), and Nancy (Gary), 11 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren, and 1 great, great granddaughter. She was preceded in death by her husband Ray, her parents, her brother Elia Tollari and Uncle Louie Tollari of Detroit, Michigan, and other relatives in Italy.
A memorial fund has been established in loving memory of Della.
Chet Ryan Mortuary in Nevada was entrusted with the care of Della and her family.