Obituary and Condolences

Elizabeth Rossing Forell

November 25, 1922 February 26, 2018
Elizabeth Rossing Forell
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Obituary for Elizabeth Rossing Forell

Elizabeth Rossing Forell, 95, of Iowa City, passed away Monday, February 26, 2018 in Iowa City. A funeral service will be held at 10 AM, Saturday, March 3, 2018 at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Iowa City with Pastor Roger Dykstra celebrating. Burial will be in Woodlawn Cemetery, Argyle, WI. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The World Hunger Appeal of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (

Elizabeth Rossing Forell was born in Argyle, Wisconsin, on November 25, 1922, the daughter of Bertha and Hjalmer Rossing. The third of six children, she was always an excellent student who played the flute and the piano and worked in the large family store. She would eventually write an account of that store, a contribution to local and to family history. Betty attended Saint Olaf College, where she sang in the Saint Olaf Choir, had many friends, with whom she kept in touch over the years, and graduated with distinction. After graduation, she headed to New York to pursue graduate study at the New York School of Social Work.

When she attended a lecture given by the dashing young German pastor, George Forell, she asked a question and he asked for her phone number. Their grand romance became the stuff of family legend. They were married in 1945 and soon after moved to St. Peter, MN, where Dr. Forell taught philosophy and religion and Betty taught composition and raised their two daughters, Madeleine and Mary. After seven years, the family moved to Iowa City, where Dr. Forell was a member of the Department of Religion and Betty obtained her teaching credential. After moving to Germany, and then Chicago, the family returned to settle in Iowa City for the next half century.

In Iowa City, Betty was an active member of Gloria Dei, singing in the choir, teaching Sunday school and taking on many leadership roles. She became a remedial reading specialist, helping prepare teachers in the College of Education.

As a gifted prose stylist and editor, Betty supported her husband’s scholarship, reviewing and editing his manuscripts. As a classic faculty wife, she entertained colleagues, students, visiting dignitaries and local friends. She was a great hostess with a remarkable repertoire of elegant foods for large gatherings and a genuine interest in other people.

After her in-laws, “Mutti” and “Vati” moved to Iowa City, she added senior care to her long list of kind duties. After they moved to Iowa City, her nieces and nephew came to dinner almost every week. She was a loving and engaged grandmother to her four grandchildren: Elizabeth, Katherine, Margaret and Matthew. Her many great grandchildren loved and admired her.

Her long life included frequent European travel and summers at her Plummer Lake retreat. During the ten years her daughter Madeleine’s family lived in Puerto Rico, George and Betty spent every January in the tropics.

She was particularly proud of the pastors in her family, her daughter, Mary, her son-in-law Gary Marshall, and her granddaughter, Katherine Marshall.

Betty Forell died February 26, in Iowa City, in the loving care of her longtime helper, Heather Hood-Davis.

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Previous Events





10:00 AM 3/3/2018 10:00:00 AM
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church

123 E. Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
123 E. Market Street Iowa City 52245 IA
United States

Cemetery Details


Woodlawn Cemetery Final Resting Place

15327 WI 78 Trunk
Argyle, WI 53504

15327 WI 78 Trunk Argyle 53504 WI
United States

Memorial Contribution

The World Hunger Appeal of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
ELCA Gift Processing Center
Merrifield, VA 22116-8009

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