HOLTZAPFEL, Nona Marie, 76 of Phoenix, Arizona ended her battle with cancer on September 24th, 2019. Nona was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 17th, 1942. She was preceded in death by her second husband Raymond Holtzapfel, first husband Larry Watts; and parents Arthur and Anna Kroeger. She is survived by her children Lane Watts and Tara Groody; daughter-in-law Michelle Watts; son-in-law Tim Groody; grandchildren Erika Watts, Ryan Tucker, Zackary Tucker and Kaitlyn Tucker; great-granddaughter Maia Clemit.
Nona grew up in Forest Park, Illinois where she also attended Lutheran High School. With an interest in business, she would work in the Prudential Building in Chicago and continue an extended career in various types of administrative and clerical positions. After her first marriage in 1963, she would go on to have 2 children and manage the household until they were grown. The family decided to transition to Arizona in 1987 where her daughter would attend high school and her son was attending the University of Arizona. She always said it would never bother her to shovel sunshine opposed to digging out the Chicago snow!
Later in life Nona would marry Ray Holtzapfel and start a new adventure. They enjoyed taking short trips to New Mexico and Sedona, Arizona for the scenery and recreation. Soon she would become owner/partner with Ray Holtzapfel in their business venture of First Choice Physical Therapy. Nona ran the business and Ray was the jovial Physical Therapist. They started what would be their life long project of building a full log home as they were also working in the practice. She was a tough cookie and built many areas of that cabin herself! There was 20+ years of blood, sweat, tears and great memories at that cabin once it was finished. The family enjoyed many trips and holidays in Happy Jack, Arizona.
It was in 2013 that Nona was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer as she received the news shortly before a planned family trip that would end up being cancelled. For over 6 years she strongly plowed through whatever treatment was necessary, adjustments that needed to be made, and always making sure she didn’t inconvenience anyone in the process. In June of 2019 she received a further diagnosis of a metastatic brain tumor which was immediately removed. While she was in the hospital, her granddaughter Erika delivered Nona’s only great-grandchild, and she was able to see her once she was home from the hospital. After receiving full brain radiation in July, Nona would give up her battle with the cancer once and for all on September 24th. She was strong, stubborn, resilient, loved, and will greatly be missed by all she walked through life with. Her wisdom impacted many people close to her as she enjoyed being part of everyone’s journey. Nona knew the importance of knowing God and his power. She is now rejoicing in heaven with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with peace and wholeness, waiting to see us once again. She would want all to celebrate her life and her faith, not to mourn her loss in sadness.
Services will be held at Hansen Desert Hills Mortuary, 6500 E Bell Rd. Scottsdale, AZ 85254 at 1:00pm October 17th, 2019 (Her Birthday)
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
One of my mom’s favorite phrases was Let Go and Let God. She found value in acceptance and her faith was never shaken. She grew up in the Lutheran Church and enjoyed the hymns especially during the holidays, Easter and Christmas. Her favorite Christmas hymn was O Holy Night, no matter who sang it.
It was very important to her that people accepted Christ as she knew it was the only way to true inner peace. In her later years she would actually ask me questions about certain practices in the Lutheran faith because I have been studying Christian Theology for the last couple years. It was nice to share information with her as some of it was brand new even after all those years.
My mom was strong willed, organized, detail oriented, determined and cared about her family. She was always trying to help anyone get through their problems. She always tried to point them to God. It was super important to her that we as her children, continued with our own families in faith.
Memories from childhood+–
Tara: Mom was a shopper, not necessarily a buyer but a shopper! She had a lot of patience when looking for things she particularly wanted. I remember trips to Arizona to see my grandparents (my dad’s parents), holidays with my mom’s parents because her mom made everything from scratch (she was from Austria!). Visits to the grandparents’ house in McHenry, Illinois where they had a garden and we would pick berries. Random trips to Disney on Ice, the Nutcracker, snowmobiling and more….She always made sure I stayed busy by keeping me involved in something – ballet, sports, school you name it. She came to all of it. I worked with my mom quite a bit once I was 14. My first job, American Heart Association and recently helping run the office for one of their senior Physical Therapy projects. We may not have lived well together sometimes, but we certainly worked together just fine! She instilled my hard work ethic, professionalism and business skills at an early age that has benefited my greatly in my career.
Lane: Mom could decorate on a budget and make it look like she spent a lot of money. She took pride in decorating for the holidays. Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, or whatever the occasion, really built up the excitement and anticipation for me as a child. She was not afraid to try anything new. She would experiment with different meals for dinner when my father was out of town on business. I remember a particular casserole she made while he was away, it was terrible! My sister and I managed to choke down most of it without saying a word (we wanted to get fed again!). A few days later, I heard her talking to one of her friends about the awful casserole she made the other day. I chimed in with “why didn’t you say anything? You just let us keep eating!”, she replied by saying that I looked like we were okay with it. I guess my sister and I were good actors!Print Obituary & Condolences