Dane, Allegra Gardner
Allegra Gardner Dane died Monday, Nov. 19, 2012, at Mercy Iowa City following a glorious day of giving thanks and celebrating Christmas with all 26 immediate family members. After everyone left she then called a few of her friends to tell them about her wonderful day before she died suddenly and peacefully.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, at the First United Methodist Church in Iowa City with Sunday Parking Ordinance in effect. Burial will be at Oakland Cemetery in Iowa City. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made out to any of Allie’s four favorite organizations: First United Methodist Church of Iowa City, the Iowa 4-H Foundation for the benefit of the Johnson County 4-H Endowment Fund, or the University of Iowa Foundation for the benefit of either the John Dane Family Cochlear Implant Research Fund or the International Writing Program.
Online condolences may be sent for her family through the web at www.gayandciha.com.
Allegra was known to the community as Allie Dane but to generations of school and preschool children as Mrs. Dairy, because for the past 56 years Allie has continued the farm tours of Haldane Farm started by Ethel Dane in 1931, which now concludes with an ice cream cone treat from Dane’s Dairy.
Allegra Alice Gardner was born Feb. 16, 1927, in Iowa City, the fourth of five children of Russell Otis Gardner and Helen Siegling Gardner, and raised on their family farm near Morse, Iowa. She and John Dane met as Junior Farm Bureau members, and celebrated 63 years of marriage this year. Allie was active in her children’s education, serving as room mother for each of the children and encouraging them in their participation in school, scouts, and 4-H activities.
Allie was a lifelong promoter of Iowa agriculture through the Johnson County Farm Bureau, ISU Extension Master Gardening Program, the Johnson County 4-H Fair and the annual spring Agriculture Appreciation Day. Allie and her husband, John built Haldane Farm and Dane’s Dairy, now in its 53rd year, into a local landmark. In 1995, Allie was selected as an Iowa Master Farm Homemaker by Wallaces Farmer magazine. In 1994, Allie and John purchased a winter home in Sandalwood Park, Venice, Fla For the past 18 years, John and Allie enjoyed each winter with their many new friends at Sandalwood.
Allie was a lifelong member of the First United Methodist Church and involved in Methodist Women (Circle). Allie was an avid supporter of the Republican Party, an unwavering booster of Iowa sports teams and a competitive bridge player — hosting bridge and duplicate bridge groups for over 50 years and earning some masters points. Allie also enjoyed euchre games with her rural group and friends at Sandalwood.
Every year, John and Allie served ice cream to the Iowa Football Team as well as the Men’s and Women’s Basketball players. Allie cherished her relationship with Iowa’s coaches and sent weekly letters encouraging and supporting the coaches, especially through the tough times. Allie was looking forward to the annual Hawkeye Cruise again this year.
Allie and John became acquainted with and promoters of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Over the past 27 years, Allie has hosted the participants of the International Writing Program plus over 100 of her closest friends and neighbors at an annual Harvest Party — celebrating the end of the growing year with a traditional Thanksgiving feast for 150 — often featuring turkeys, corn, squash and apple pies grown and prepared by Allie. Allie was legendary for her gardening and cooking. Her pie making skill was unmatched, sometimes preparing as many as 60 pies for a banquet. Allie’s pies were topped with Dane’s ice cream and there were always seconds available.
Allie is survived by her devoted husband, John Dane; and her five loving children, nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren: James “Jim” (Ruth) Dane of Iowa City, their daughter Jane Jennifer “JJ” (Erik) Severson of West Des Moines and their infant daughter, Allegra Jane “Allie”, Margaret “Peg” (Bill) Ehler of Newton, and their children Tony (Sara) Ehler of Chicago, Christina Ehler and her infant daughter, Angel of Newton, and Tricia (Aaron) Groves and their infant daughter, Adalynn of Newton, Donna Allegra Dane of Iowa City, Harold John “Jack” (Michele) Dane of Bettendorf, and their three sons, Calvin, Iowa City, Nathan, Chicago, and Adam, Bettendorf, and Dr. Helen Dane (Roger Hohle), North Aurora, Ill., and their two children Max Hohle, Bayview, Idaho, and Rae Hohle, North Aurora.
Allie is also survived by her brother, Dwight Russell Gardner, Morse; and her sister-in-law, Mary Ann Gardner Schaap of Temecula, Calif.
Allie was preceded in death by her parents; her sisters, Helen Gardner Miller of Iowa City and Phyllis Gardner McMillan of Austin, Texas; and her brother, Dr. Charles Gardner of Fallbrook, Calif.
John Dane and the Dane family want to recognize Donna Dane for her great love, devotion and care of Allie and for carrying forward the tradition of Dane’s Dairy.
Published in The Gazette Nov. 21, 2012.