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Iona Mae (Walter) Markley, born on October 9, 1943, in Dallas, Oregon, peacefully passed away on January 28, 2024. She was the daughter of Herbert and Esther (Purath) Walter. Iona spent her early years on the family farm in the company of her eight siblings, cultivating a love for family that would remain a central theme throughout her life.

Iona’s journey led her to various places, including the Twin Cities and Colorado, as she pursued job opportunities. In the early 1970s, she found her way back to Thief River Falls, Minnesota.

Throughout her professional life, Iona worked as a dedicated bookkeeper at Arctic Cat and Allstate Industries and Qualitek. Her commitment to her work reflected her strong work ethic and attention to detail.

Family held a special place in Iona’s heart; she always remained very close to all 8 of her brothers and sisters. True joy came when she earned the roles of grandma and great-grandma. She enjoyed playing cards and board games with her family. Iona had a playful spirit, often changing the rules just to ensure she’d win and share a laugh with them.

Iona’s caring and generous nature extended beyond her immediate family. She found fulfillment in giving back to the community by crocheting prayer shawls, crafting mats for the homeless, and dedicating her time to volunteer with the Meals on Wheels program, which she would often take her grandchildren along to help.

Active in her church community, Iona participated in various activities including the Women’s Club, choir, and finance team. Despite her quiet demeanor, she possessed a strong and kind-hearted personality that is fondly remembered. Her impact on the lives of others, both within her family and the broader community, will be remembered as a testament to the goodness and warmth she brought to the world.

She is preceded in death by her parents; infant brother, Ernest; and brother-in-law, Jim Smith.

Iona is survived by her children, Carrie (Darin) Cottrell and Cathie (Steve) Fink; grandchildren, Ryan (Lauryn) Cottrell, Allison McNeal, and Caitlin (Dustin) Vickerman; great-grandchildren, Wessen, Kynzlee, and Maverick; siblings, June Smith, Marvin (Sandra) Walter, Ray (Reinette) Walter, Duane Walter, Barb (Gordie) Wichterman, Marilyn (Gene) Budraitis, Roger (Janel) Walter, and David (Gail) Walter; and many nieces, nephews, and other relatives and friends.

Memorial Service will be held Thursday, February 8, 2024 at 11:00 AM with visitation one hour prior at Buffalo United Methodist Church (609 8th St NW, Buffalo, MN). Inurnment will be held at a later date at Evergreen Cemetery in Red Lake Falls, MN.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Buffalo United Methodist Church in Iona’s name.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to The Peterson Chapel of Buffalo. Online condolences for the family may be directed to

5 Guestbook Entries

  1. Sally Collins

    To the family of Iona Markley
    Our deepest sympathies to your family. Iona was a very special
    Lady. Our love and prayers ❤️🙏

  2. Gail Hurley

    My heart is so sad… Sure gives a realization of never knowing of your last breath.
    She was such a great friend to me. I will miss her.

  3. Riti. Sanderson

    So sorry for your loss.


    We spent great times playing games and chatting over coffee.
    We were shocked and saddened by her sudden death and will miss her.

  5. Robin Anderso

    I am at a loss for words. She was a friend for years at BUMC. I will deeply miss her.


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