Triumph Over Destiny 

​About The Author


I was born in Oelwein Iowa, a small town in the northeast part of Iowa.  It was a great place to raise a family. Mostly farming towns surrounded us and there were fields of corn and soybeans that filled the country side.  My parents were simple Christian folks who immigrated to the United States in 1951 after surviving the Second World War.  My father would find himself working two and three jobs at the same time to make ends meet and to make a new life for me and my family in the United States.  Both he and my mother hoped that someday we would have a better life than they had and be blessed with opportunity.

​I grew up in Oelwein and have lived there my entire life. I eventually married John Woodson Jr. We were married for twenty-five years and had four children, Wally, Jeannie, Jill and Joni. We then found that later in life my family would be blessed once again and would welcome my niece Trishia into our family after she had lost her mother at a very young age. 

I never dreamed I could be an author or ever imagined writing a book. That is until I began listening to my mother and father’s fascinating stories about their lives in Austria, Germany and Yugoslavia. I was in awe then and continue to be now as to how they were lucky enough to have survived all the misfortunes that took place during and after the war.

Their stories were so compelling I felt obligated to voice record them over several years from 1994 until 2001. Three and a half years ago I began the venture of putting their stories into written form and since that time have been attempting to write the book  Triumph Over Destiny.  My mother taught me much about humility, kindness and the importance of family and my father about hard work, determination, honesty, and integrity. Their courage inspired me to write the book and if not for them I probably would have never pursued such an endeavor.

​After twenty-five years of marriage my husband Jackie, (John) died in 2001 in a work related accident. We were greatly saddened by his sudden death. His strong values and sense of responsibility especially to family were instilled in all of us.  His perpetual loyalty to his family helped me appreciate some of the most important things in life and encouraged me to write about the memories of my mother and father. Through the book Triumph Over Destiny my parents' memories will be preserved and shared with others. My hope is to get Triumph Over Destiny translated into German someday and possibly other languages so that others around the world can share in their story.

​I remarried several years later after John’s death to Henry Diers, who helped me better understand patience and being nonjudgmental of others. He is a kind and peaceful man who has never had a bad thing to say about anyone. He chooses peace over war and has the patience to put up with me and the countless hours it’s taken me to write this book while paying little attention to him.  

Through the years I have done many things and seen many places. I am thankful and have been blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life who have supported me while I went to college to get my Master’s in Social Work, Bachelor’s in Accounting, and an Associate’s Degree in Nursing Home Administration.  If I would have used my head back then I should have pursued a doctorate in a given field instead of spending so many years in college getting three separate degrees.   I have been an accountant, a nursing home administrator, a Refugee Resettlement Director, and now practice in the mental health field as a Licensed Independent Social Worker. I provide therapy and counseling services to a diverse population of people while trying to find a bit of free time to write.

There have been many ups and downs in my life, and I've experienced many joys that life has to offer. I have endured grief and sadness and have been blessed by family that has supported me through thick and thin. Their undying support gave me great insight and helped me realize kindness, thoughtfulness and humility in others. My plan is to write a second book which will be highlighted in the Epilogue of Triumph Over Destiny, and then who knows what will come after that…

​For fun and enjoyment I love: riding horses, animals,  swimming, golf, sports of most kinds, playing with the grand kids, having sleep overs, smelling brewed flavored coffee in the morning, spending time with my sisters, being out and basking in the warm sun, relaxing by the pool, traveling and meeting new people along with being introduced to new cultures. I enjoy learning new languages even if it’s just a few simple conversational phrases, writing, trying to help others with their problems, and mostly being with the ones I love.