Cover photo for Zella Challen's Obituary
Zella Challen Profile Photo
1920 Zella 2019

Zella Challen

June 24, 1920 — December 17, 2019

Zella M. Challen, formerly of Mt. Pleasant, IA, passed away on Tuesday, December 17, 2019, at Tidewell Hospice House in Port Charlotte, FL. Zella was born in Henry County, IA, to Frances Burke Mallams and Myrtle E. (Purdy) Mallams on June 24, 1920. She graduated from Mt. Pleasant High School in 1938.

After graduating, she worked at Scarf Produce and Fuel. One day while she was working, the man who would become her husband, Rama Challen, poked his head in the office and said Good Morning, Yall. They were married February 14, 1944. The couple made their home in Mt. Pleasant, IA, where Rama opened Challen Accounting firm and raised their family.

Zella taught at Humpty Dumpty Pre-School for several years. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Mt. Pleasant, where she taught Sunday School and became a member of the former Memarco class. She was also an original member of the Threattenes Bridge Club along with being a member of several other bridge groups. Zella was a Girl Scout Brownie Troop Leader and a Cub Scout Den Mother.

There were many crafts that Zella enjoyed: toll painting, cake decorating, crocheting, embroidering, and quilting. She would make red hearts for patients recovering from heart surgery, afghans for shelters, and crocheted caps for newborns. She always found a way to give back.

Zella and Rama spent winters in Stuart, FL, after retiring January 1, 1985. Due to health issues, they moved to Port Charlotte, FL, to be closer to family. Over her lifetime, she shared treasured friendships. Family was a priority to Zella, and her grandchildren and great grandchildren were her special joys.

Zella was preceded in death by her husband, Rama; son, Gary Challen; and great grandson, Luke Challen.

Survivors include her sons, Carter (Amy) Challen and John Challen; grandchildren, Eric (Rona) Challen, and their sons Jacob and Jordan; Phil (Jennifer) Challen and their children Lexi and Caleb; along with many nieces and nephews.

Visitation with the family present, will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 20, 2020, at Olson-Powell Memorial Chapel. A memorial service will followat 11:00 a.m. at the Memorial Chapel. Inurnment will be in the Forest Home Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be given to the First United Methodist Church, 309 North Main Street, Mt. Pleasant, IA, 52641 or to a local Hospice organization. On line condolences may be directed to

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Zella Challen, please visit our flower store.


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