The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Meet Your Neighbor

By: Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner

Meet Your Neighbor Judy McCoy of Stronghurst, born in Eldora, Iowa, the daughter of Henry and Marie Muhlena whom immigrated here from Germany before she was born.

Judy's siblings are: Marita "Rita" Hammond, Eldora, IA, Gerhart Muhlena, Wilminstor, Delaware, Lillian Michaelson, Marshalltown, IA, all deceased; Evelyn Schwarck of Eldora, IA, Carolyn (stillborn), David (Pat) Muhlena, of Union, IA, and Kenny (Cindy) Muhlena of Marshalltown, IA.

Judy and her 3 sisters and 3 brothers were the first U.S. citizens born here.

Her father hired out as farm help and then bought his own farm in Eldora. He raised cattle, hogs, chickens, sheep and grew hay and corn.

Her family also had a very large garden where all the girls did the gardening, which Judy said, "We hated!" From early morning to late evening the girls all pitched in and helped their mother. The boys mainly helped their father.

They did not have running water so mom walked outside to the pump to get water from the well and carried it in for bathing, cooking, cleaning and for whatever else it was needed.

Her mother never worked outside of the home. She called Judy "Julie" at birth but because of her different accent it was written down as Judy. She continued calling her "Julie".

Some of the brothers and sisters were born at home until after the stillborn daughter and then her mother went to the hospital for Judy and the other two siblings.

She played much growing up with her two younger brothers. They would take the garden hoe and make their own little roads and make bridges and rivers with sticks and boards. They also liked to play baseball and hide and seek.

When Judy was older she did quite a bit of babysitting in their community.

During junior high and high school years they watched TV. They used to watch American Bandstand with Dick Clark and her mother would say, "You can't understand anything they say"!

When her brothers went to the neighbors she would tag along and watch westerns such as Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy and Gene Autry.

"My mom was a real good cook and I wish I'd paid more attention to how she fixed things. She always made delicious meals and one of my favorites was her apple crisp". When my mom took it out of the oven she would always say, "It's too hot you can't eat it yet". But when she left the house we would always get in it! We especially loved her potato salad and roast beef dinners."

With a garden they always had fresh vegetables and also 2 cherry trees and a large apple tree loaded with apples.

Judy attended Eldora Kindergarten and lived 12 blocks from school. She said, "I was short and little and I was teased and called a baby because I had to wait on my sister, Evelyn to walk me home. One day I decided to walk the 12 blocks without waiting and got my sister in trouble when she came home without me until they found out the story."

Then her parents bought a farm, they moved to the country and attended grades 1-8 at Union School. After a consolidation, Judy graduated from Union-Whitten in 1962.

Her sister, Lillian and husband lived in Ft. Madison, IA and Judy moved with them and worked at Sheaffer Pen Co where she met her husband, Jack, who lived in Dallas City. They were married in 1963. A friend that worked at Shafer Pen in Ft. Madison introduced her to Jack.

She and Jack started housekeeping in Dallas City while they were at Shafer Pen. Jack also worked for Chuck Jacob cornshelling.

She and Jack have three children, Teresa (Jim) Shoemate of Burlington, Iowa. Teresa is a special education aid at Black Hawk School. They have one daughter, Gracie 8; son, Wesley McCoy, who is single, lives at Dallas City and is a welder at Case New Holland in Burlington, Iowa; and Betsy (Jeff) Anderson. Betsy is a special education teacher at Oscaloosa, Iowa. She and Jeff have two daughters, Amanda, a freshman at the University of Omaha and Kadee, a junior high student at Oscaloosa, Iowa.

Judy worked several places but was at the Henderson County Health Department for 18 years, retiring in 2011. Her husband, Jack, retired at Case when he was 48.

They previously lived in Gulfport, Lomax, La Harpe and came back to Stronghurst in April of 2010.

She loves attending her grandchildren's school and church activities, doing yard work, and gardening. Now is especially her favorite time of year to be outside.

She also enjoys movies, grand sports, and traveling. Twice a year they travel to Branson, Missouri to enjoy the shows. They have seen Jr. Talley, an Elvis impersonator from Monmouth.

Last year she and Jack celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

They attend the Nazarene Church in Burlington, Iowa and enjoy the Stronghurst Senior Citizens.

Her motto is, "Take each day and enjoy it because things will change and it's good to have the Lord on your side."