Reta Cairns

Reta Cairns, 98, of Jefferson, passed away Mar. 15 in Jefferson.

Born December 27, 1915 in Greene County, she was the daughter of Clyde Raver and Berdena Brewer Raver. Reta, as she was known, graduated from high school in Jefferson.   

On November 1, 1942, Reta was united in marriage to Curtis Cairns. They had two sons, Robert and Clair. Reta and Curtis lived near Farlin all their married lives. In the early years, Farlin was a close-knit community and Reta and Curtis were the first in the area to have a television.  Friends from the Farlin area came to their house every Saturday night to watch boxing matches on TV.  Reta and Curtis attended Farlin softball games and enjoyed vacations camping at the Iowa State Fair.  

Reta did lots of volunteering. She drove to the Woodward Care Center and worked as a “Gray Lady”. She was a Charter Member of the Greene County Hospital Auxiliary where she was a buyer of cards for the gift shop and made floral arrangements with her best friend, Margene Miller. The Cairns family attended the Farlin Church of Christ where Reta was the pianist.  For many years, she was the superintendent of the art hall for the Greene County Fair. She was well known for her handywork. She won ribbons for her knitting, crocheting, tatting and cross stitch work.  Reta worked for Millie Cudahy at the Cudahy Paint Store and made drapes for many customers in the county. Quilting was a favorite pass-time and Reta taught her granddaughters to quilt.

Rita is survived by her two sons: Robert R. Cairns (Yvetta) and Clair Cairns (Barb), all of Jefferson; six grandchildren: Venie Dvorak (Bob); Brenda Cunningham (Mike); Robert L. Cairns (Shannon); Cathy Melton (Joe); Shelley Fairbairn (Scott); and Robin Gunn (Junior); 14 great-grandchildren and nine great-great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband Curtis, who died in 1977.  

A Service of Remembrance was held at 2 p.m. on Mar. 21 at First Baptist Church Jefferson. Words of comfort were offered by Minister Bob McKnight. Shiela Pound was the soloist, accompanied by Monica McGregor and music included How Great Thou Art, In The Garden and On Eagle’s Wings .  

Casket bearers were Dan Borkowski, Scott Fairbairn, Charles Gunn, Bob Dvorak, Michael Dvorak and Joe Melton. Honorary casket bearers were Margene Miller and Shirley Drayer. Burial was at the Jefferson Cemetery.  

Slininger-Rossow Funeral Home in Jefferson, 515-386-2171,

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