The Circle of Life on the Homestead
Story provided by: Carol Schaal of Guttenberg, IA
Written by: Haley Kregel, Hospice Social Worker, LMSW
Lyle L. Schaal made his arrival into the world on October 10, 1925. He was born the only child to Fred and Mae Schaal, on the family home farm on Jolly Ridge Road, which is just south of Guttenberg, Iowa. Lyle grew up here as a “farm boy” and developed his passion for agriculture. He received his education from the Jolly Ridge Country School.
Lyle went on to make farming his life-long career on the family homestead on Jolly Ridge. He raised everything from cows and pigs to chickens and planted corn, oats, and hay. Lyle married the love of his life, Carol, on April 23, 1963, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Guttenberg.
When they weren’t busy farming, Lyle and Carol could be found dancing at Lakeside, or at a neighbor’s home for a card party on a Saturday night. They made close friends with their neighbors and Lyle was ready to lend a helping hand to all that knew him. On a chilly October morning, Lyle would be found on his red, International Harvester tractor, bringing in the Fall harvest. This is where he loved to be. Lyle also enjoyed attending farm sales and auctions.
As Lyle grew much older and his health declined, his hope was to stay at home and to die at home. Lyle shared these wishes with his wife Carol and neighbor Denny, who was like a son to Lyle and Carol. Carol and Denny promised Lyle they would do their best to keep him at home on the farm.
It was Lyle’s home healthcare nurse who gently suggested it may be time for Hospice care. Lyle was at peace and had stated he “was ready to go anytime.” Once Hospice came in, they helped with many things, including assistance with bathing. Carol states “I don’t know what we would have done without Hospice.” She goes on to say, “We are sure thankful for them, it was worth everything.”
With the care of Carol, Denny, and the Hospice team, Lyle was able to die peacefully at home. On the day he passed, Lyle, Carol, and Denny had just eaten lunch together, and Lyle asked to lie down. Carol states she knew things were changing. Once Lyle was resting comfortably in bed, Carol and Denny were sitting beside him, talking softly. Just like that, Lyle had peacefully passed. He liked to be where he called home, on the farm, and he spent his lifetime here doing what he loved.