Selma L. (Behnkendorf) Riedel

Selma Louise (Behnkendorf) Riedel, age 91, passed away Saturday evening May 26th, 2018 at the Belmond Rehabilitation Center surrounded by her loved ones.

Visitation will be 5:00 -7:00 PM on Thursday, May 31, 2018 at Ewing Funeral Home, 111 Luick’s Lane South, in Belmond. Celebration of her life will be at 2:00 PM on Friday, June 1, 2018 at the Immanuel Lutheran Church (near Rowan) with Pastor Mark Peterson officiating.

Selma, daughter of John and Emilie (Dietrich) Behnkendorf, was born in her parent’s farm home on November 14, 1926. She, along with her brother Edward, completed their family. Selma went to country school for the first seven years, followed by parochial school for one year, and then finished school by graduating from the LuVerne High School in 1944.

Dates were rare because of gas rations and tire rations. However, one night when she was twenty years old, her roommate and her roommate’s boyfriend said they had someone out in the car and would like Selma to go out with them as a foursome. Thus began the courtship of Selma and Stanley Riedel. Their first date was at a dance hall someone had built in the country. Selma did not like Stan right away because she wasn’t ready for a relationship, but she couldn’t beat him off with a stick! (HER words!) His persistence paid off and he proposed to her in the fall of 1947. (No ring—just popped the question!) They were married on March 14, 1948 in the Lutheran Church in LuVerne. Thus began their life’s adventures together and their journey continued for seventy EXCITING years! Throughout these 70 years, the couple blossomed into a family of four children, 11 grandkids, 15 great grandkids, and 3 great, great grandkids.

Selma proved to be resourceful and talented as she managed to keep food on the table. She tended a large garden and canned what she sowed. Her shelves were filled with a variety of fruits and vegetables- but she never successfully mastered a crisp pickle! She baked delicious cinnamon rolls, pies, cakes, cookies, quick breads and established many favorite dishes with her family- including her rice pudding, spaghetti, beef stroganoff, chocolate upside down pudding cake, and German borscht. Selma’s sewing skills were admirable and all four kids were models for the many garments she constructed. She worked alongside Stan in his many job endeavors. Selma was in charge of all the food prep and orders for the concession stand at the racetrack. She also was the ticket lady selling tickets to the many truck races Stan took on the road as “Three Star Productions”. Selma was always the ‘hub’ of the home. Even after her children left the nest, they all continued to come back to her warm and inviting home- which seemed like Grand Central Station with all the comings & goings! Selma loved babies and it didn’t take long for her to start “ordering” her grandchildren. She said she had a special connection to Heaven and was able to order what she wanted! She correctly predicted every grandson and granddaughter (with the exception of one)! Her predictions became well known and she was asked to predict the babies of others- as well as one lady who asked her to predict over the phone! Selma loved to crochet, knit, and cross-stitch. Many of these cherished projects (made with love) were gifted to her children and grandchildren. Selma also had a green thumb and enjoyed tending her flowerbeds. Her roses were stunning! And in the winter, she enjoyed her many houseplants. Her grandchildren brought her much delight. It didn’t take long for the grandchildren to realize what a gem they had in their Grandma Riedel! They especially enjoyed their tea parties with her- complete with “homemade” cookies that were professionally wrapped!

Selma always had time for conversation- along with a cup of tea or coffee. Her sense of humor was like no other! Selma had just the right amount of sass which- when paired with her wit- made for a fun conversation filled with laughter. Her beautiful blue eyes and dazzling smile -when combined with her other many facial expressions- were a picture to behold. She had a knack for guiding others indirectly- whether you wanted to hear it or not. Selma was amazingly strong and compassionate. She truly was a resilient lady. She spoke only positively about others and was accepting of everyone. Selma had an endless supply of patience- which was beneficial since it seemed to be tested often! But the trait we most admired in Selma was her strong faith. In fact, her last audible words were the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer with her daughter and granddaughter on the morning of her final day. It is this fervent faith that carried her through many hardships. Because of her strong faith and her ability to stay the course throughout all of her life’s trials and tribulations- the family affectionately nicknamed her “Saint Selma”.

Those left behind to cherish Selma’s many beloved memories are her daughter Marcia Burt (Randy), her son Larry Riedel (Donna), and her daughter-in-law Barbara Riedel. Her grandkids: Tracy Dorr, Jaclyn Wessels (Jason), Emily Bailey (Donald), Joshua Riedel (Tiffani), Tonya Dockwell, Clinton Riedel, Amanda McConnell, Joslyn Stock (Adam), Derek Burt (Jill), Ellie Riedel, and Megan Riedel. Her great grandkids: Kaitlyn, Madison, Tristan, Jackson, Kristin, Addilyn, Joshua, Brianna, Emma, Morgan, Jayden, Ashton, Elias, Gabriel, and Alexis. Her great, great grandkids: Gage, Garrett, and Graycen.

Those rejoicing with Saint Selma at the Pearly Gates are her parents John & Emilie, her sibling Ed, her husband Stan, her two sons David and Steven, her daughter-in-law Lois Riedel, and her grandson-in-law Timothy Dorr.


Date: Thursday, May 31, 2018
Time: 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Where: Ewing Funeral Home – Belmond
111 Luick's Lane South, Belmond, Iowa 50421
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Date: Friday, June 1, 2018
Time: 2:00 pm
Where: Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church – Clarion
2145 Highway 69, Clarion, Iowa 50525
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