Audrey J. Healy

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Audrey Jule Healy, 81, of Cedar Rapids, formerly of Elkader, died peacefully at her home on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, surrounded by her loving family. Audrey was born on May 18, 1939, in Chicago, Ill., to Morton Louis and Grace Jule (Benge) Romie. She graduated from Central High School in Paddock Lake, Wis., with the class of 1956. Following high school, Audrey attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater for a brief time. 


Audrey was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt and loving servant of all who came into her life. She found her deep connection to children as a young girl by helping raise her sister and brother during difficult times. After high school graduation, she wished to pursue her dreams of becoming an elementary teacher until a family accident called for her to go to work to support her mother and siblings. She started working at the telephone company in Antioch, Ill., where she met and fell in love with her soulmate Jerry Healy.


Audrey was united in marriage to Jerome Joseph “Jerry” Healy on Nov. 23, 1957, at St. Peter Catholic Church in Antioch, Ill. They had a long and happy union of 52 years, giving them five children, 16 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. 


During their marriage, Audrey devoted every day as a loving wife and mother who tenderly cared for her family in all details of their needs. She was an avid baker, a scrumptious cook and lover of all recipes healthy and organic. Audrey’s garden was always full of beautiful flowers and splendid vegetables. She simply loved anything nature related. It was a quality that was nurtured and encouraged in her children and grandchildren.


Audrey and Jerry decided in 1972 to move their family from the city life near Chicago to Iowa for a chance to build a more holistic lifestyle more in line with their values. She was adventurous enough to take the plunge as they bought a dilapidated farmstead without indoor plumbing, enough bedrooms for the kids and minus a kitchen. With a new addition to the house, it soon began to feel like home. Over the years on the farm, she raised chickens, sheep and cows for the family and bottle fed the orphans left behind.  


Audrey was a woman of enormous hospitality and a gracious and gifted host. She entertained family and friends who traveled around the country to visit. The warmth of welcome at Audrey’s B&B was a priceless vacation place for anyone who visited. Years later, all her guests still recall the food, fun and memories on the farm. 


Audrey’s spiritual life was full and rich and involved practicing her faith by volunteering for church functions and teaching religious education. When the Catholic school needed a bus driver, she stepped up by driving the bus for the year. That same year, she became a foster mom to a baby named Lily. Audrey was a strong advocate for social justice. Her life examples made her an exemplary teacher to her children.  Audrey essentially fulfilled her longing to be a teacher with her family. Many of her examples were tending to the poor locally and internationally through donations of food, money, clothing, time and support. 


Audrey loved sewing quilts for her family and always had a continual patch of fabric ready to go for the next quilt. She enjoyed going to garage sales, second hand shops and auctions to find the next good buy of furniture and clothing for children and grandchildren. She was always on the hunt for a good deal! Audrey was a woman of many talents and gifts, but the greatest legacy she leaves is her loving, kind, beautiful family which she loved sharing vacations, meals, celebrations and gatherings with. 


Survivors include her five children, Julie (Christopher) Grau of Elkader, Thomas (Nancy) Healy of Elkader, Jerome (Jody) Healy of Ely, Joseph (Sara) Healy of Ely and Carole (Brian) Palas of Cedar Rapids; her grandchildren, Joshua (Annette) Grau of Monona, Kathryn (Jerad) Lally of Dallas, Texas, Peter Grau (David Wilkinson) of Bettendorf, Patrick (Staci) Grau of Elkader, Edosa Grau of Elkader, Meheret Grau of Decorah, Andrew Healy of Ely, Danielle Healy (fiance, Mitch Hankey) and Elizabeth Healy of Ely, Bethany Healy of Los Angeles, Calif., Timothy (Liz) Healy of Ely, Hannah, Grace and Benjamin Healy of Ely, Annie Palas of Ely and James (Laura) Palas of Cedar Rapids; her great-grandchildren, Rose, Joseph, Clare, Julia, Emma and Leo Grau, Isaac and Oliver Lally, Theodore Wilkinson-Grau, Benjamin and Brooks Grau, Blayne, Trace, Cruz, Willow and Briggs Healy, Ethan and Audrey Stull and Edie Palas; her sister, Mary Romie; her brother, John Romie; and brother-in-law, Eugene Healy.


Audrey was preceded in death by her husband, Jerry Healy, on Feb. 24, 2011; her mother, Grace McBride; her father, Morton Romie; her father-in-law and mother-in-law, Timothy and Ethel Healy; her in-laws, Ethel and Theodore Brendel, John “Jack” and Ann Healy, Frances Healy, Lucy Healy and Mary Therese Healy. 


A private family graveside service will be held at a later date at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Elkader.


Leonard – Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Elkader is in charge of arrangements. 

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