Frances E. McGaffey

1928 - 2019


Frances E. McGaffey, 91, of Wellman, died Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, at the University of Iowa Hospital following a brief illness.

Celebration of life services will be held 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, at the Faith Baptist Church in Washington, Iowa, with Pastor Mark Larson officiating.  Calling hours will begin 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, at the Faith Baptist Church where the family will receive friends from 4-7 p.m. Friday evening.  Private family interment will take place at the Wassonville Cemetery in Wellman.  Memorials have been established for the First Baptist Church in Wellman or the East Iowa Bible Camp.  Online condolences may be sent for Frances’s family through the web at

Frances was born Jan. 21, 1928, on the family farm in Washington County, Iowa, the daughter of Raymond E. and Frances A. (Perrin) Sojka.  She attended Egypt Country School before attending Kalona High School and Washington High School where she graduated in 1946.  Frances was united in marriage to John McGaffey on Jan. 21, 1947, at her parent’s home in Washington, Iowa.

Prior to living in Wellman, Frances lived in various locations to be close to her family.  She was a cook for a fraternity at the University of Iowa, a cook at HACAP and for a camp in Colorado.  She worked as a nurses aide, was house mother for Elizabeth House, was a foster parent for many years and babysat for multiple families.

Frances was a member of the First Baptist Church in Wellman, where she was active in the Dorcas Society.  She was a former member of Faith Baptist Church in Washington.  She was a member of the HJ Club and in her earlier years was a 4-H member holding a variety of offices.  She loved sewing and quilting for her family.  She enjoyed gardening, canning, cooking and playing dominos.

She is survived by 13 children including sons: James (Linda) McGaffey of Brainerd, Minn, Joseph (Arlene) McGaffey of Harlowton, Mont., Robert McGaffey of Ham Lake, Minn., Thomas McGaffey of Wellman, Douglas (Joanne) McGaffey of Austin, Minn., Donald (Jodi) McGaffey of Brandon, Minn., Mark (Kristin) McGaffey of Bloomington, Minn., and Perry (Kari) McGaffey of Wellman; daughters: Valorie Burnham of Wellman, Deanna McGaffey of Grinnell, Janelle (Alan) Christiansen of Wellman, Johnna (Shawn) Stultz of Washington, and Karen (Tim) Snyder of Marshalltown; 36 grandchildren; 47 great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; two sisters: Rosamond Goodlander of Washington and Lovila Jane Rinaldo of Varna, Ill.; as well as many nieces and nephews.

Frances was preceded in death by her parents; her husband: John in 1980; two brothers: Raymond Sojka and Leland John Sojka; one sister: Ethel Darlene Kelley; grandson: Shane David McGaffey; and three brothers-in-law: Joe Goodlander,  Robert Rinaldo and Rich Kelley.


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