Thelma Alvirda Bales, 93, of rural Bloomfield, Iowa passed away October 5, 2021 at the Bloomfield Care Center.  She was born on November 19, 1927 in Wapello County, Iowa to Clarence and Veral Howk Shadley.  She married Duane Bales on June 5, 1960.


Thelma worked as a phone operator for Northwestern Bell (AT&T) in Ottumwa for 13 years and also helped on the family farm.  She was an avid reader of all types of literature but reading her Bible was her favorite.  She was an excellent cook and enjoyed many activities including; mushroom hunting, spending time with her family, planting and taking care of flowers, and babysitting her grandchildren. Thelma was a longtime member of the Floris Baptist Church.


She is survived by her husband, Duane Bales; three sons, Brent Bales, Wesley (Loretta) Bales, Kelly (Lisa) Bales all of Floris; four grandchildren, Kyle Bales, Lindsey Bales, Sierra Bales, Adrian Bales; three step-grandchildren, Josh (Aleaha) Shepherd, Jeramey (Tammy) Shepherd, Justin (Bri Lynn) Shepherd; four step-great-grandchildren, Kaydance Shepherd, Thomas Shepherd, Oakley Shepherd, Briely Stevens; and two nieces, Becky Rominger, Cinda Burgess both of Ottumwa.


She was preceded in death by her parents; grandson, Quentin Bales; two brothers, Lloyd Shadley, infant Delbert Shadley; and a sister-in-law, Rosie Shadley.


Graveside services will be at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, October 11, 2021 at the Floris Cemetery with Mel Kendall officiating.  Visitation will begin at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday with the family present to greet friends from 3-5:00 p.m. at the Wagler Funeral Home in Bloomfield.  Online condolences may be directed to

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