Cover photo for Regina M. McCarty's Obituary
Regina M. McCarty Profile Photo
1925 Regina 2018

Regina M. McCarty

October 25, 1925 — July 14, 2018

Services for Regina M. McCarty, age 92, of Sheldon who passed away on Saturday, July 14, 2018 in Rockford, Illinois. Her funeral mass will be 10:00 A.M. on Saturday, July 21, 2018 at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Sheldon with Father Siby Punnoose ~ officiating
Burial will be at St. Cecilia Catholic Cemetery in Sanborn.
Visitation with family present will be from 5 - 7 P.M. on Friday, July 20, 2018 at Vander Ploeg Funeral Home in Sheldon. Prayer service will begin at 7 P.M. followed by rosary at 7:30 P.M.
Memorials to: All Aboard for Kids, c/o Michael and Lisa McCarty;
St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Sheldon, Iowa
October 29, 1925 – July 14, 2018
Regina Margaretha McCarty was born in Beresford, South Dakota, on October 29, 1925, and passed away on July 14, 2018, at the home of her daughter Mary in Rockford, Illinois. Regina was born to immigrant parents Stephan and Anna (Mühlenkord) Pape who had arrived in South Dakota in November of 1924 from Verl in Westfalen, Germany, shortly after their marriage. There they joined two of Anna’s sisters and three uncles who had immigrated much earlier. Regina spent her first years on a farm and was joined eventually by a brother and two sisters also born in South Dakota. She started Kindergarten at a country school near Beresford and recalled that there was no running water and a pail with a ladle for drinking. It was the beginning of many changes that she’d see over a very long and productive life. She remembered her mother adjusting a kerosene lantern, riding to school on horseback with her father when the weather was bad and the very first Ford family car which was an exciting luxury replacing horse and wagon transportation to town. Learning English was a challenge in school as she spoke the language of her parents, Verler Platt, which was her mother tongue. Her parents had contemplated returning to Germany, but soon the global economic crisis and threats of another European war led them to decide that they’d stay in America. Both of her parents had come from very large families and were kept informed by brothers and sisters. Through all of the changes, her parents sang in harmony, she recalled. At first they lived on a rental farm and then purchased one of their own. Their harvest was very good the first year. But as the depression encroached upon the Midwest, the rains diminished, the dust storms swirled around the land and crop harvests sank. Her father was farming with horses, and the best horse was killed by lightning. They were people of faith, and their faith had been tested. Her parents decided to go in other directions in their lives and leave South Dakota. In 1936 her family moved to Sheldon, Iowa, where Stephan pursued other employment. He’d always wanted to be a welder; he attended school in Sioux Falls and in St. Paul, Minnesota. The children were busy attending the Sheldon Public Schools and helping their mother while their father was away. Her father soon became very accomplished as a welder. Alert to the winds of war, Regina’s parents decided in 1940 that they’d eventually leave the Midwest and travel to the state of Washington. Her parents had become American citizens while they lived in Sheldon. During WWI Stephan had been drafted into the German military (Naval Air Force Division) where he had served as a medic. Anna had lost her close brother Anton in that conflict. They were very opposed to war which they had already experienced. But, Regina said, they’d be working in the war industry against their native land. Her father bought a 1941 new Ford, made a trailer for the car, loaded up the washing machine and family luggage and the car with Regina and the rest of the family. At that time there were three additional siblings born in Sheldon. The trip was very memorable for all of them, traveling rather slowly as there were no interstates at that time. It was a slow trip. In Bremerton, Washington, her father passed a welding test with flying colors and was hired on the spot. He began welding on ships in the Bremerton shipyards. They purchased a home in Puyallup, Washington near Tacoma. Regina and her brothers and sisters attended various schools. They were there when Pearl Harbor occurred in December of 1941. Because of the Japanese internment, there was a labor shortage the following summer. As a result Regina and several of her siblings had their first jobs, working in the Valley. There Regina pulled up daffodils and picked berries. In later life she said she still had scars from those awful blackberry thorns.
Regina graduated from Sumner High School in 1943. After high school graduation, she began working in the war industry, inventorying airplane parts in several warehouses. At the end of the war, the family, now with eight children, returned to Sheldon, Iowa, where their father set up his welding and machine shop. They settled on south 8th avenue where Regina was very involved in helping her mother with the gardening and sewing. She continued working at Armour’s in Sheldon. Regina married Francis (Frank) J. McCarty on April 22, 1947, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Sheldon. Frank, the oldest of ten children, had grown up on a farm near Sheldon and had served in the army in WWII. They settled on a farm near Sanborn, Iowa, where they became the parents of twelve children; their life was centered on family and agricultural pursuits. Frank was a mechanical expert who could keep the equipment going. Like her mother, Regina was an avid gardener, canner and became an excellent seamstress; they had the talents to pursue their chosen life together. She loved reading and exploring new ideas and new projects. When the computer age arrived, she loved researching online and keeping up extensive correspondence. There were many happy events at the farm as well as sorrowful when they lost their son Charles in a farm accident. School and chores kept everyone very busy. One by one their children left home. Regina and Frank encouraged the post high school education of all of their children who went on to successful lives of their own. All of them acquired a bachelor’s degree and some an advanced degree. In January of 1982, Regina suffered the sudden loss of her beloved Frank. After she was widowed, she continued farming, managing the crops and raising pigs with the assistance of her children. She continued her involvement in the management of her farm until her recent illnesses.
She was a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. She had been involved in Church committees and the Farm Bureau. Her Farm Bureau women friends loved her annual Christmas brunch. During her lifetime she traveled extensively, visiting Germany and the homes of her parents several times, Rome, Italy; Singapore, Ireland, and India and the homes of all her children in various states. She loved music and played the harmonica for lots of guests and children. In her later years, she spent part of the year in Omaha where she loved participating in many family activities. When she retired, she sold the farm homestead and built a house in Sheldon as she wanted a home where the Pape’s and her children could continue to gather. She was the family matriarch, a role which she enjoyed, hosting many family events for more than twenty years at her home there. Even as a young person, she had been very solicitous of her parents, siblings, and later, her children and husband.
She is survived by her children: Mary McCarty, Rockford, IL; Carol McCarty & Jane McCarty, Anchorage, AK; Geri Gauch, Colorado Springs, CO; Joseph McCarty, Thousand Oaks, CA; Frances (Jim) Crotty, Crosslake, MN; Donald (Karen) McCarty, Gainesville, FL; Gregory (Polly) McCarty, Highland, MD; John McCarty, Lyndonville, VT; Edward (Julie) McCarty, Omaha, NE; Michael (Lisa) McCarty, Ames, IA. Eighteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Her sisters and brothers: Theresa McCarty, Albuquerque, NM; Rudolph (Marian) Pape, Sioux City, IA; Anthony (Marlene) Pape, Sheldon, IA; Mary Pape, Omaha, NE; Annette (Patrick) Kelleher, Omaha, NE. Sisters-in-law: Jean (McCarty) Abel; Patricia (McCarty) Rodkewich; Theresa McCarty; Peggy (Robert) Naughton; Carol McCarty. Many nieces and nephews, other family members and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Stephan and Anna Pape, her husband Frank and her son Charles; her sister and brother-in-law, Dolores and Duane Wunn; her brother and sister-in-law, Leander and Esthermarie Pape. Sons-in-law, Jeffrey Gauch and Terry Carter.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Regina M. McCarty, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, July 20, 2018

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Vander Ploeg Funeral Home - Sheldon

724 Sixth Avenue , Sheldon, IA 51201

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Saturday, July 21, 2018

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

St. Patrick's Catholic Church

310 10th St., Sheldon, IA 51201

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St. Cecilia Cemetery ~ Sanborn


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