District: Clear Lake Middle School principal Steve Kwikkel has died from cancer (with photos)
CLEAR LAKE | The principal of Clear Lake Middle School has died from pancreatic cancer, the district said Wednesday.
Steve Kwikkel, 55, had worked at Clear Lake Schools since 2013. He died Tuesday, according to his obituary.
Visitation is 4 to 6 p.m. Friday at Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, 101 N. Fourth St. His funeral is 10:30 a.m. Saturday at E.B. Stillman Auditorium, 1601 Third Ave. N.
In lieu of flowers, his family has asked for contributions to the Steve Kwikkel Memorial to benefit children.
“In his years at Clear Lake, Steve touched the lives of many students, parents, and staff,” school officials said in a statement on Facebook, which noted AEA Crisis Team members and local ministers would be available for staff and students.
Some of those parents and students began sharing memories of Kwikkel Wednesday morning.
"The care, time, love and faith that he put into his students transcended beyond school," Staci Andrea of Clear Lake wrote on the district's Facebook post. "He was never in his office; always in the school halls, classrooms, games, concerts, plays and even cleaning tables in the lunch room.
"All of the students knew that they could depend on him," Andrea wrote. "Even when his students left for high school, they knew that if they needed anything, all they had to do was walk down to the middle school and his heart and door were always open."
Kwikkel’s career in education spanned more than three decades. In 2011, he was named Iowa’s Middle Level Principal of the Year.
“The ‘middle’ is the only place I’ve ever taught and have been a principal,” Kwikkel told the Globe Gazette in 2013. “We exist because of kids; not in spite of them.”
While at Clear Lake, Kwikkel founded a local EdCamp, a free summer “unconference” for educators. The middle school also began project-based learning during his time there and remodeled an outdated computer lab into The Sandbox, a makerspace with design, engineering, fabrication and education resources.
“We have the prom queens and the quarterbacks wanting to work — and I’m using words the kids would use — the 'geeks and the nerds,'" Kwikkel told the Globe Gazette in 2015, referencing project-based learning. “School has worked well for some kids, but it has been an absolute disaster for some.
“This is where they shine; it’s a whole different kind of smarts.”
In February 2017, Kwikkel coined a slogan that is now well-known at the middle school -- #BeGr8Today.
“We were going through rough times at school and feeling like we weren’t reaching kids,” he told the Globe Gazette in October 2017.
As he prayed on his way to school one morning, Kwikkel said he asked God to help him be great, so he could help his students.
“I shared it with my teachers — even though we are battling through with kids, we can’t give up. We care about the kids, even if they push our buttons,” Kwikkel said.
Kwikkel’s career began in 1986 as a sixth-grade teacher in western Iowa’s Rockwell City, where he helped establish a sixth- through eighth-grade middle school in Lytton after the schools began a sharing agreement.
He then moved to the Eastwood Community School District as a seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher and head boys’ basketball coach.
Kwikkel earned his master’s degree in education administration from the University of Northern Iowa in 1994 and his first principalship in Tipton 1994.
He spent five years as the middle school principal in Spencer; one year in Hickory, North Carolina and 11 years in Waverly.
During his time in Spencer and Waverly, Kwikkel worked as a section director and executive director for the Iowa Association of Middle Level Education.
Kwikkel is survived by his wife, Jill, and three adult children -- Christian, Holly and Ally.
Photos: Remembering Clear Lake Middle School principal Steve Kwikkel
Remembering Ryan: Family, friends share memories of Garner teen who died unexpectedly (with photos)
GARNER | Quiet, friendly, hilarious, helpful, loving and trickster mastermind were just a few of the terms used to describe a 16-year-old Garner boy who died unexpectedly last Saturday.
He is survived by a large loving family, including his mother and stepfather, Michelle and Tom Chizek; his father, Joel Sanner and his sister, Jenna Chizek.
“He was full of life,” Michelle said.
Ryan's last day
Shortly before he died, Ryan was doing what he loved -- playing with his friends on the family farm. He and about five others were running around, battling with Airsoft guns.
“He said, ‘Wow, that was a hard run,’” Michelle said.
They went to a fountain to pour water on their heads and then Ryan went inside the house to get a drink of water. When he didn’t come back out, his friends called for him with no response.
Ryan, who didn't get hit or fall during the game, was found curled up on the bathroom floor, unresponsive.
“They tried to do CPR right away and there was no pulse,” Michelle said. “We got a phone call from the police.”
When Ryan was found and taken to Mercy Medical Center--North Iowa, Tom and Michelle were about 200 miles away in southern Iowa, setting up cameras for deer hunting on a plot of land.
“When we got to the hospital, there were like 30 people there for him,” Michelle said, mentioning friends and family.
His family is searching for answers.
Michelle suspects an undiagnosed heart condition, heart attack or stroke, but she’s waiting on autopsy results.
Doctors didn’t find anything unusual initially. Further study of his heart and brain are expected to take about a month.
“His uncle on his dad’s side died of a sudden death when he was 20,” Michelle said. “They never got to find out the result because he was in in a different country and it took weeks for the body to come back.”
Paul Evans, pastor at Garner United Methodist Church Pastor, officiated memorial services for Ryan, who was confirmed in 2015 at the church.
Evans said there are really no answers to the questions of why something like this would happen to someone so young.
“Life is life,” he said. “This is one of those things that happens and we have to walk in faith, trust in God’s will.”
Evans noted that Ryan was loved by so many and remembered him as a reserved, super friendly, nice kid.
“We’re all hurting but no one is hurting as much as his family,” he said. “They’re not standing alone. We will walk with them through this.”
Ryan's aunt Sharon Frederick said the family is, understandably, devastated.
“He was such a great kid; he had such a beautiful smile and such wonderful dimples,” she said.
Sharon said the family used to tease him for the dimples, which could be seen in many of the childhood photos covering blue pushpin boards the family put together for the services over the weekend.
“He didn’t care what anybody thought of him,” Michelle said.
Several of the photos showed Ryan dressed up in costumes.
Michelle said he and his sister, Jenna, were "very close."
“He would do anything for his sister, took her to school everyday," she said.
Tom, Michelle, Jenna and Ryan’s 10-year-old cousin, Casey Schilling, gathered at a picnic table outside of their home in rural Garner Thursday afternoon, sharing stories.
“He was always happy-go-lucky,” Tom said. “He was really laid back, I don’t think I ever seen him mad.”
He later recalled just one incident where Ryan may have been angry.
“He said to me, ‘Listen here, old man,'” Tom said, chuckling. “I was shocked.”
Of course, Ryan later apologized. His friends said that was one of Ryan’s funny phrases, “Listen, old man!”
Tom remembers when Ryan first moved out to the farm when he was 4 years old. Tom had been working outside, needed to go to the bathroom and decided to do his business by the shed outside.
He told Ryan that since he now lives in “the country” he can go to the bathroom outside, Tom said, as he laughed.
“Michelle comes home and asks what we’re doing,” Tom said. “Ryan turns 'round and said, ‘Mom, we’re in the country now.'”
Several of Ryan’s friends -- Nick Billings, Cougan Shropshire, Ethan Kale, Bryce Cox, Nick Dyre and Cole Dakin -- arrived at the farm in support of the family.
It wasn’t long before the teens were making the family laugh with stories of their teenage shenanigans -- dressing up silly and going to the movie theater, going to Walmart to get kicked out and getting chased down the gravel road by neighbors.
As for the dressing up for the movie theater, Ryan was the only one who would dress normally, according to his friends.
The seven of them would pile into Ryan's "granny car" -- named Agnes for its former owner -- and drive around, Cougan said.
Ethan said there’s not a too much for teens to do in Garner, so they made their own fun.
“He was never in trouble -- unless he was with us,” Nick Billings and Cougan joked as they shared about their antics at Walmart.
Nick Dyre already got a tattoo with a cross in memory of Ryan.
“They really thought a lot of him,” Michelle said.
Michelle and Tom had never heard some of the stories Ryan’s friends were telling.
“He would just say, ‘I’m going to the movies, Mom,’” Michelle laughed. “These guys don’t drink and do drugs. They love to have fun.”
School and activities
Ryan's nickname, "Skubes," came from his favorite T-shirt from a bait and tackle shop.
To remember him, the GHV Council will frame that shirt and hang it in the school.
Michelle went into the house and brought out the ratty brown shirt. The crew neck collar was worn and fraying, and the shirt was peppered with little holes.
All the boys looked slightly taken aback looking at Ryan’s shirt.
“I had no idea how worn that shirt was,” his friend Cougan laughed. “Wow, that’s awesome.”
The high school’s Crisis Response Team is assisting students as they deal with the unexpected news. The school counselors were available earlier in the week and will also be available when classes begin later this month.
“Ryan was a great young man who comes from a wonderful family and had many close friends,” Principal Jim Haag said in a statement. “Ryan will be missed deeply at GHV and we will do whatever we can to support Ryan’s family, friends and classmates.”
Ryan may be able to help up to 80 people with organ donation, according to Michelle.
"We were thinking, what would Ryan say to that,” his friend, Nick Billings, said. “He’d say something like, ‘I feel sorry for whoever gets my foot!’”
Ryan, who was born with clubbed feet, was involved in Garner FFA and assisted with chores on the farm -- cattle, bailing hay and picking rock.
He enjoyed visiting his father, Joel, in Kansas and liked archery, hunting, 4-wheeling, fishing and camping with the boys at "The Island," a spot on the farm.
“The boys love going out there,” Tom said, laughing. “They even went out there, what was it -- January, 23 degrees. That’s dedication.”
Casey loved telling a story of how Ryan did the Elmer Fudd walk while deer hunting after falling asleep in the tree stand. He was like Ryan's shadow on the farm, following him around when he did chores.
“Ryan’s the best,” he said. “I looked up to him.”
Ryan was thinking of being an electrician, maybe working at Alliant Energy after he graduated.
Family friends have set up a Go Fund Me for Ryan’s family to help with funeral costs.
Ryan M. Sanner
RYAN M. SANNER
September 12, 2001 - August 4, 2018
GARNER – Ryan M. Sanner, 16, of Garner died unexpectedly Saturday, August 4, 2018 at Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa in Mason City.
Funeral services will be held 10 A.M., Saturday, August 11th at the Garner-Hayfield-Ventura High School Auditorium with Rev. Paul Evans officiating. Following the service, his body will be cremated. A graveside service will be held 1:00 P.M., Sunday, August 12th at St. John's Catholic Cemetery in Duncan.
Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 P.M., Friday at the United Methodist Church in Garner and will resume one hour prior to services at the high school.
Memorials may be directed to the Ryan M. Sanner Memorial Fund.
Ryan Michael Sanner, the son of Joel Sanner and Michelle (Burnett) Chizek was born September 12, 2001 in Wichita, Kansas. He was confirmed at the United Methodist Church in Garner. Ryan lived with his family on a farm northwest of Garner and was going to be a junior this year at Garner-Hayfield-Ventura High School. In high school he was active in the Garner FFA. Ryan helped his step-father, Tom, on the family farm doing cattle chores, baling hay and picking rock. He enjoyed visiting his father, Joel, in Kansas, archery, hunting turkey and deer, 4-wheeling, listening to the rock group KISS, fishing with his friends and spending time with his sister, Jenna.
He was a member of the United Methodist Church in Garner.
Ryan is survived by his mother and step-father, Michelle and Tom Chizek of Garner; his father, Joel Sanner of Olathe, KS; sister, Jenna Chizek of Garner; aunts and uncles, Debra (Ken) Dennis, Robert (Lisa) Marlow, Mary (Gary) Thoms, Barb (Chet) Plonski, Nancy (David) Frederick, Cindy Chizek, Sharon (Tom) Frederick, Betty Chizek, Rob Chizek, Beth (Phil) Ramsey, Mark Sanner, Ruth Sanner, Chad (Enedelia) Sanner, John Sanner, Wade (Jane) Sanner and Kyle (Bethany) Sanner; many other family and friends; and his three dogs, Luke, Charlie and Bella.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents; and an uncle, Neal Sanner. Arrangements are with Cataldo Funeral Home in Garner. 641-923-2841 www.cataldofuneralhome.com
Woman whose death led to Buffalo Center nursing home citation remembered for kindness
BUFFALO CENTER | Virginia Olthoff's daughter says she was a cheerful, kindhearted woman who loved to give others affectionate nicknames like "Bubbles."
But by the time she died on Feb. 27 at Timely Mission Nursing Home in Buffalo Center, which is now facing a possible fine of nearly $30,000, the 87-year-old was a shadow of her former self, according to Pat Blank of Shell Rock.
Blank said her mother's weight had dropped to under 100 pounds and she was in terrible pain.
Before Olthoff was taken to Mercy Medical Center--North Iowa on Feb. 27, a citation issued in late June by the Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals states she was crying, moaning, screaming and bleating "like a sheep" but was given only a nonprescription pain reliever.
Blank said thinking about her mother suffering like that is "heartbreaking."
Officials also say Olthoff may not have had water several days before being admitted to the hospital.
The citation states although Timely Mission staffers couldn't get a blood pressure reading or feel her pulse, they waited nearly three hours before requesting an ambulance to take her to the hospital.
Inspectors said a registered nurse at the nursing home explained the delay by saying she didn't think Olthoff was "that bad yet" and said the staff "had other things to do besides sit there and watch the clock go by."
Olthoff died after being returned to Timely Mission the same day she was admitted to the hospital.
The state has calculated a proposed fine of $29,250 against Timely Mission over its treatment of Olthoff and two other residents -- including one who died the same day.
The fine hasn't been administered yet because officials say it's likely the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services could take over the case due to the severity of the violation.
If that happens, the federal agency would be the ones to impose the penalty and the state fine would be dismissed, according to David Werning, spokesman for the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals.
On Friday, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, announced he sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma seeking more information into what happened in Olthoff's case.
“Neglect and abuse of senior citizens cannot be tolerated in any setting, ever,” Grassley said in a statement. “People responsible for neglect and abuse of seniors must be held accountable.”
Werner said the director of nursing for Timely Mission has been fired, but he's unaware if any other staff members were fired.
Blank said she's heard at least two other staff members at the nursing home have been dismissed, "but that doesn't make it all right as far as I'm concerned."
"They dropped the ball a number of times," she said.
Blank said she has an appointment to speak to Winnebago County Attorney Kelsey Beenken about the possibility of filing criminal charges.
Timely Mission is run by a tax-exempt nonprofit corporation headed by President Lorie Bierle and Vice President Larry Weaver. Neither returned calls from the Globe Gazette or The Associated Press.
Dennis Coleman, who became the administrator at Timely Mission on March 12 and was there when state inspectors visited the nursing home in late May and early June, resigned earlier this month, according to Werning.
Werning said LaDonna Evans was the provisional administrator prior to Coleman's arrival, and that Timely Mission hopes to have a new administrator on board shortly.
Olthoff, a graduate of Buffalo Center High School, lived on a farm in the Lakota area for many years with her late husband, Harold.
The couple moved to Buffalo Center in the mid-1990s after retiring from farming.
Blank said her mother loved living in town, where she was often out riding her bicycle and visiting with others.
"Everyone knew her," Blank said.
Olthoff moved to Timely Mission in 2002 because of her memory issues.
She had days when she couldn't remember the names of family members, but also had good days when she could, according to Blank.
She said her mother never said anyone was "mean to her" and staff members said she was one of their favorites.
Blank said they would say, "Oh, that Virginia, she's always got a twinkle in her eye."
However, nobody at Timely Mission notified Olthoff's family when her condition began to deteriorate and she lost weight rapidly, according to Blank.
She said she visited her mother in January, but after that she wasn't able to come due to her own illness and then a snowstorm.
Blank said the nursing home called her five days before her mother died to get permission to give her a narcotic at bath time because she was complaining of pain then. Blank agreed.
However, Blank said the staff member who called her didn't mention her mother's lack of appetite.
The next time a staff member called Blank, it was to tell her Olthoff was moaning in pain. Blank said the staffer told her they hadn't given her anything but Tylenol.
Blank said she told the staffer she wanted her mother taken to the hospital.
State officials say an ER doctor told them Olthoff was comatose when she arrived at the hospital, but was awake and alert after receiving more than 2 pints of water.
Blank said her mother was even able to mouth the words of hymns a chaplain at Mercy sang to her.
She said she had no idea her mother would be dead later that day after being discharged back to Timely Mission.
Blank said the ER doctor told her he was going to file a report with the Iowa Department of Human Services about her mother's death, but she didn't hear anything more until recently, when she read a copy of the state citation.
She said the details were so horrifying. "I could hardly read it."
Laboratory tests at the hospital indicated Olthoff probably hadn't consumed any fluids for four to five days and might have had very limited fluids for weeks, according to the citation.
Officials also say a Do Not Resuscitate request dated Feb. 6, 2017, revealed Olthoff did not want chest compressions, defibrillation or intubation.
However, Olthoff's form indicated the request would not prevent her from obtaining other emergency care that would make her more comfortable, including pain medication, fluid therapy and respiratory assistance, according to the citation.
The state report also alleged a lack of proper assessment and care of another resident who died at the home. This resident, like Olthoff, had lost a significant amount of weight and became unresponsive.
The citation also alleged the lack of proper assessment and care of a woman who was diagnosed at a local hospital with infectious colitis, a painful inflammation of the colon.
Eugene George Sukup
May 11, 1929 - July 12, 2018
Eugene George Sukup went to be with his Heavenly Father on July 12, 2018. His beloved wife of 66 years, Mary, was by his side.
Eugene was born to the late Dorothy Amelia (Buerkley) and Louis Sukup near Venus, Nebraska, on May 11, 1929. He was baptized on July 7, 1929, at the St. Paul Lutheran Church in Walnut, Nebraska. In 1938, in the midst of the Great Depression Dust Bowl, the Sukup family, which included sister Adella, moved to Iowa. They eventually settled on a farm near Hansell, Iowa, and Eugene was confirmed on August 22, 1943, at St. John Lutheran Church east of Sheffield, Iowa. He was active in both FFA and 4H, and graduated from Hansell High School in 1946. After graduation, Eugene farmed with his father.
Eugene met Mary Elizabeth Bielefeld at Luther League, after St. John merged with Zion Lutheran Church in Sheffield. Both Eugene and Mary served as Luther League President. They were married on Sunday, February 24, 1952, at Zion St. John Lutheran Church. They purchased a farm in West Fork Township near Dougherty. Eugene and Mary were blessed with two sons, Charles and Steven.
In addition to serving as a sergeant in the National Guard for eight years, Eugene was named Franklin County Outstanding Farmer in 1962. He and Mary also purchased their first grain bin that year.
In 1963, Eugene and Mary founded Sukup Manufacturing Co. in a welding shop in Sheffield. Eugene observed that pockets of grain in the bin overheated and spoiled, and he knew he could create a solution to this problem. After his initial attempt with a manual stirring auger failed, he came up with the idea of adding a horizontal auger through the handle of the drill to automate the process. He patented the idea, and the Stirway stirring machine and Sukup Manufacturing Co. were born.
Today, Sukup Manufacturing Co. holds more than 80 patents and sells its products in more than 85 countries. The company has more than 700 employees and more than 1,000,000 square feet under roof worldwide. Sukup Manufacturing Co. remains the largest family-owned, full-line grain system manufacturer. Eugene served as President of the company for 32 years. His son, Charles, became president in 1995 and his son, Steve, became CFO. Eugene remained chairman of the Board of Directors until his death.
Many will remember Eugene as a servant leader. He was a member of the Franklin County 4-H committee, Sheffield-Chapin school board, and Waldorf College Board of Regents. He was a founding board member of the Sheffield Care Center. Eugene also served three terms on the church board and as congregational president.
Additionally, Eugene will be remembered for his exceptional achievements in business, agriculture, and innovation. In 2006, Eugene was inducted into the Iowa Inventors Hall of Fame. The following year he received the Outstanding Innovation Award by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. In 2011, he received the Iowa State University Honorary Alumni Award and was inducted into the Iowa Business Hall of Fame. In 2014, Eugene was voted to become a member of Tau Beta Pi as an Eminent Engineer, and he was named a 2015 Legend in Manufacturing by Elevate Advanced Manufacturing, a program of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. Iowa State University conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Science degree to Eugene in the fall of 2015.
Eugene is survived by his wife, Mary; his son Charles and his wife Mary (Heimbuch) Sukup of Dougherty, and his son Steven and his wife Vicki (Larson) Sukup of Clear Lake; and six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren: Nick Sukup, Coral Springs, Florida; Crystal and Matt Koch (Lily, Zander, and Grace), and Emily and Andy Schmitt (Wynn and Celia), all of Clear Lake, Iowa; Elizabeth Sukup, Ames, Iowa; Andrew Sukup, Dougherty, Iowa; and Jonathan Sukup, Dallas, Texas.
A visitation will be held on Monday, July 16, from 3 to 8 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hampton, Iowa. A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, July 17, at 10:30 a.m., also at Trinity Lutheran Church. It is located at 16 12th Avenue NE in Hampton, Iowa. The burial will take place at the Sheffield cemetery following the service, and lunch will be served at Trinity Lutheran Church after the service.
Those wishing to honor Eugene's memory with a contribution may consider supporting one of these organizations which were close to his heart:
Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO
Sing for Joy, St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN
Lutheran Heritage Foundation, Macomb, MI
Mission Central, Mapleton, IA
Eugene Sukup, founder of Sheffield grain bin and farm equipment supplier, dies at 89
SHEFFIELD | When Eugene Sukup started his grain bin and farm manufacturing company in 1963, there were three employees.
By 2008, that company had grown to more than 400 employees and served organizations worldwide.
Sukup, 89, of Sheffield, died Thursday at Mercy Medical Center–North Iowa in Mason City. He was a local business icon who was heavily involved in the community and kept his business in Sheffield despite its tremendous success.
"Eugene will be remembered by his family and many friends, colleagues, and members of the agriculture community as a leader, innovator, and exceptionally caring and generous person," Sukup Manufacturing said in a statement Thursday.
Funeral services are 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at Trinity Lutheran Church, 16 12th Ave. N.E., Hampton, with the Rev. Karl Ballhagen presiding. Visitation is 3 to 8 p.m. Monday at the church.
Sukup and his wife, Mary, founded Sukup Manufacturing in 1963 in a welding shop in Sheffield. His first patent was for grain stirring equipment to keep corn from spoiling in a bin.
Sukup now holds 85 patents and has sales in all 50 states and more than 80 countries. It employs more than 600 people and has global distribution locations in Denmark and Ukraine.
After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Sukup Manufacturing partnered with Globe Compassion Network, a humanitarian relief organization, to transform old metal grain bins into Safe T homes, earthquake-proof and hurricane-proof housing distributed to countries worldwide. Since the partnership began, hundreds of Safe T Homes have been delivered.
It’s that innovation and compassion that has garnered Sukup — and the family-owned business — accolades within the past decade.
In 2006, Sukup was inducted into the Iowa Inventors Hall of Fame by the Iowa Intellectual Property Law Association. In 2011, he, and his wife, Mary, were inducted into the Iowa Business Hall of Fame, and in 2012, Sukup was awarded the Iowa Farm Bureau Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award. In 2017, Sukup was honored with the Innovation in Agriculture Manufacturing award.
In 2011, his company helped fund the second phase of Iowa State University's Biorenewables Complex. Charles Sukup, one of Eugene's sons and president of Sukup Manufacturing, said at the time the company was happy to support a program that researches solutions for clean water, food and renewable energy for people worldwide.
One of Sukup's greatest challenges was surviving a federal estate tax scare that he believes would have put the company out of business. At that time, the company had about 500 workers.
"You take a little town like Sheffield that has 1,000 people in it and then you've got 500 people looking for work?" Sukup told the Globe Gazette in June 2010. "It's going to be a terrible blow if the company would fold."
But his company is still in operation.
Last month, Sukup partnered with Mercy Medical Center to create a clinic on-site, in order to combat rising healthcare costs.
In a 2016 interview when he won the Cyrus Hall McCormick Jerome Increase Case Gold Medal Award from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, he displayed his humility and gratitude for his fellow employees.
"They had been farming, they knew how to fix things and had creative ideas and put their whole heart into it," Sukup said in 2016. "I think that’s been the secret to our success here."
And in 2013, Sukup donated $1 million to a Mercy Medical Center cardio lab.
"These are all things important to our family," he said. "We are all lucky to have the advanced services that Mercy provides, and the Sukup family is proud to be a part of this project."
In 2008, Sukup sat down with a Globe Gazette reporter to discuss his business, how national and local economies affect it and the responsibility for caring for hundreds of employees.
His advice for anyone looking to start their own business was simple.
"Love what you're doing — and pray a lot," Sukup said.
'We don't leave fallen comrades behind': Hundreds pay tribute to Mitchell County sailor killed at Pearl Harbor (with photos)
OSAGE | Dozens of cars lined Orchard Road near Sacred Heart Cemetery Saturday morning showed license plates from around the state and region.
Minnesota. Nebraska. Illinois. Missouri. One motorist had traveled all the way from Connecticut.
Those people, and the hundreds of others who traveled to North Iowa Saturday were paying tribute to First Class Seaman Leon Arickx, who died in Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
After half a dozen members of the Navy laid Arickx's casket at its resting place, Father Raymond Buckle of Sacred Heart Church led a prayer and blessing. Rear Admiral John Kreitz then told those gathered about Arickx, and the process of identifying him through DNA testing and contact with family members.
"We're Americans, and we don't like to give up on anything," Kreitz said. "We don't like to leave fallen comrades behind."
Arickx, a New London, Minnesota native, grew up in Mitchell County. One of his nieces, Mary Galey, is one of the oldest surviving relatives — and helped identify Leon when members of the U.S. Navy contacted family members about possibly finding Arickx's remains.
Galey said she wanted Arickx to be buried in Osage because it's where his mother and eight of his brothers and sisters are buried. Their graves were covered in red, white and blue saddle floral arrangements Saturday.
"I was overwhelmed when they called and told me," she said about when the Navy first identified Leon.
"And I don't like being the one who has to be in charge, but I guess somebody does," she added with a laugh.
She thanked those in attendance Saturday, coming from Osage and Mitchell County to around the country. She also commended Champion-Bucheit Funeral Home for its work with her uncle's funeral.
Arickx was a compassionate, kind man who loved to dance, according to Galey.
"You could find him all over northern Iowa and southern Minnesota, dancing like crazy," she said. "In one of the articles that his younger sister, our Aunt Mary wrote, she said everybody stood in line to dance with him, even his own sisters ... because that's how good a dancer he was."
After those in attendance saluted the casket, Kreitz presented the flag draped over it to Mark Arickx, one of Leon's cousins. A member of the local American Legion then presented him with a commemorative plaque.
Janice Schonrock, Mark's sister, was about a year old when Leon died.
"I remember family always talking about him," Schonrock said about Leon. "Over the years, his memory has been kept alive ... so it felt like I kind of did know him."
For Kreitz, finding and identifying Americans lost in wars is a vital task. As deputy director for Operations for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, completing a task like identifying Leon and bringing him home is a must.
"When this came up, I jumped at it and said, 'I want to come here,'" Kreitz told the Globe Gazette about attending Saturday.
Kreitz noted there are over 82,000 missing Americans who have served in wars since World War II. He visited the Arickx family on Friday, and commended them for their commitment to their country and communities.
"They are incredibly patriotic and service-oriented," he said. "I find that to be a very common thing in the Midwest, but this family is incredibly tight. You see it by how many came from all over to be here today ... and only a handful have met Seaman First Class Arickx."
Burkle said Saturday's funeral will help bring closure to the Arickx family, now that they can visit him at the cemetery.
"It's always important when somebody is recognized for what they've done," Burkle said. "It also helps the family realize that it goes beyond them, especially in the situation where it's a military funeral ... and what it meant to the country."
Galey seconded that latter statement, saying there are many like Leon nationwide.
"I think our country should know that these young men have given their lives," she said. "I mean, what more can you do?"
Northwood father, son who died in kayaking accident remembered for faith, work ethic, love for others (with photos)
NORTHWOOD | Clayton Balsley has known Jesse Anderson for the past six years.
So when he first learned he and his 4-year-old son, Micah, had died in a kayaking accident, Balsley was shocked.
Balsley, senior pastor at the Bridge Community Church in Albert Lea, Minnesota, described Jesse as a devout follower of Jesus, and someone who spent much of his time helping others -- whether it was at the church or in southern Minnesota or Northwood.
"Jesse was a people person, he enjoyed being around people," Basley said. "He loved the Lord and wanted people to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, and he was always willing to help with this or that and lend a hand."
Jesse, 42, and his son, Micah, of Northwood, died earlier this week after their kayak overturned in Hart Lake in Hubbard County, Minnesota.
Joint visitations and funeral services are scheduled. Visitation is 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday and 9:30 a.m. Friday at Bridge Community Church, 2016 Bridge Ave. in Albert Lea. Funeral services are 10:30 a.m. Friday at the church.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for the Anderson family, as well as accounts at two Northwood banks -- NSB, 900 Central Ave., and FSB, 99 Seventh St. N. All funds given at the banks will go directly to the family, the Worth County Sheriff's Office announced on its Facebook page.
Jesse was an avid outdoorsman and active member of Bridge Community Church, according to his obituary. He is survived by his wife, Rita, and their four other children, Hannah, Lane, Isaiah and Malachi. He also is survived by another daughter, Kari Michelle, and a granddaughter, Andi Riles.
Balsley said Jesse's volunteerism ranged from cooking at church barbecues to plowing snow and helping fundraise for mission trips. The Anderson family has asked that donations be given to Guatemalan Missionaries through Bridge Community Church in lieu of flowers.
It's just the kind of person he was, Balsley added.
"He was the type of guy that if he knew somebody needed some help with something, if he could make it work, he was willing to lend a hand," he said.
Manuel Ramirez, owner of Tequila's Mexican Bar and Grille in Northwood, knew Jesse for about eight years. He considered him to be one of his best friends, and would often golf with him in their spare time.
Ramirez, like Balsley, said Jesse was very gracious and helped him with yardwork and similar projects multiple times.
"Always, when I needed him for something, he never would say no," he said. "He always wanted to help me."
Micah's obituary said that like his dad, he also being outdoors and collecting items to "stash" in his room.
Balsley remembered the 4-year-old as an energetic, fun kid.
"He was a people person as well," he said. "He would run around, and give people hugs. He loved to jump up into your lap."
That was seconded by Ramirez, who said Micah was always happy to see him.
"One of the things I remember is every time I saw him, he got so excited," he said. "And he said 'Amigo!' and he would run and give me a big hug."
Ramirez added he will be there for Jesse and Micah's family and friends in the coming days, and that he will hire two of Jesse's other kids — Isaiah, 16 and Lane, 17.
Nearly $10,000 has been raised by community members for the family as of Wednesday afternoon. Balsley ended his comments about Jesse by commending his honesty.
"You knew where you stood with Jesse," he said. "He definitely had a heart for people."
Correction: An earlier version of this article omitted another one of Jesse Anderson's daughters, Kari Michelle, and his granddaughter, Andi Riles. The Globe Gazette apologizes for the omissions.
Fred Fenchel remembered as man who championed Mason City, North Iowa
MASON CITY | Decades ago, Fred Fenchel would work an eight-hour shift at Metalcraft, Inc. in Mason City as the organization's advertising manager.
The days could stretch on — he would work nights with his wife Ila Mae on their entertainment agency — but he always made time at the dinner table for his three children: Denise, David and Duane.
That work ethic, along with how Fred treated people, is how one of his sons wants the longtime Mason City resident remembered.
"Everything about the man," said David Fenchel about dad's legacy. "Who he was, what he stood for, his commitment to his family, his commitment to his friends. His work ethic in my eyes was unmatched."
Fred Fenchel died April 12 at the Muse-Norris Hospice Inpatient Unit in Mason City. He was 95.
His commitment and love to the Mason City community is evident in his obituary. Fenchel was the longest serving member of the Mason City Chamber of Commerce's Ambassadors Committee. He was a past president of the River City Kawanis Club.
He was inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. And he was a volunteer at numerous North Iowa Band Festivals throughout the years.
Despite his tireless worth ethic, he didn't want any extra recognition — and always treated everybody his met with respect and compassion.
"I was always impressed by my father, the commitment to the community and the willingness to engage with people at all levels, from the people who set up the chairs to the board of directors," David said about his work at the North Iowa Band Festival.
Kativa Weitzel, program director for the Mason City Chamber of Commerce, said Fenchel's commitment to North Iowa was apparent — no matter what organization he volunteered for.
"He never said no," Weitzel said. "If you asked him to help out with something, he always gave his opinion and he always showed up. You could always count on Fred."
That was especially true with the Ambassadors committee within the Chamber, she added.
"If he wasn’t there, people were very confused on where to go and what to do," Weitzel said with a laugh.
Fenchel was also actively involved in the Mason City Community Theater, where he participated in the 1968 production of "The Music Man."
"They really got the chance to see my dad flourish in the role of Mayor Shinn," his son David said about those who saw that play.
Fenchel will be honored at this year's North Iowa Band Festival, as he and his wife Ila Mae were the recipients of the Grand Marshal Award, which honors people who have significantly contributed to the development, history and/or success of the festival.
Colleen Frein, the membership director and community concierge of the Chamber, said Fenchel was a greeter for the kings and queens of the festival for several years. He was an integral part of helping run the festival, she added.
Perhaps more importantly, Frein remembers Fenchel as a warm, compassionate person.
"He and his wife, upon meeting me, greeted me with a hug," Frein said about the first time she met him. "He was just a kind person who just really wore his emotion on his sleeve a lot of the time, and cared so passionately about his community, and the groups he was a part of."
"There was nobody like him," she added. "When he entered a room, you knew it … we’re gonna miss him as an ambassador."
When Fenchel hit 50 years as an ambassador for the Chamber in 2010, he had a simple reason for why he spent so much time being a supporter for everything in the town he lived in since 1959.
"I love Mason City," he told the Globe Gazette then, latter adding: "I've tried to be a good citizen."
Memorials for the family may be sent to Muse-Norris Hospice Inpatient Unit, 232 2nd St. SE, Mason City, IA, 50401 or Wesley United Methodist Church, 1405 S. Pennsylvania, Mason City, IA 50401.
Fred T. Fenchel
Fred T. Fenchel
August 4, 1922 - April 12, 2018
MASON CITY: Fred T. Fenchel, 95, of Mason City, passed away peacefully, Thursday, April 12, 2018 at the Muse-Norris Hospice Inpatient Unit in Mason City.
Visitation will be Friday, April 20, 2018 from 4pm to 6pm at Major-Erickson Funeral Home, 111 N. Pennsylvania, Mason City. Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 21, 2018 at 2pm at the funeral home, with Pastor Steve Hansen officiating. Burial: Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City.
Survivors include his wife of nearly 67 years, Ila Mae. 3 Children: Denise Philp of Nashville TN. David (Diane) Fenchel of Clear Lake, IA. Duane (Renee) Fenchel of Cedar Rapids, IA. 5 Grandchildren: Danielle (James) McClinton of Cedar Rapids, IA. Derrick (Tammy) Fenchel of Minneapolis, MN. Britney Fenchel of Chicago, IL. Brooklyn Fenchel of Los Angeles, CA. Desiree Lane of Ely, IA. Dalton Emrich of Cedar Rapids, IA. 3 Great Grand Children: Jayde McClinton, Mya and Ava Lane. Also surviving are numerous nieces and nephews.
Fred was preceded in death by his parents, 4 brothers, George, Bernard, Bruce and Burdett and 1 sister Trudy.
Fred was born August 4, 1922 in Strawberry Point, IA to Fred and Gertrude (Pilgrim) Fenchel.
He graduated from Strawberry Point High School and furthered his education in specialized training courses with the military service. He was a WWII veteran, serving his country for 5 years, with assignment from the United States Navy to the 14th Anti-Aircraft Battalion, 32nd Replacement Battalion and the 2nd Marine Division Medical Corps.
On May 4th, 1952, he married the love of his life, Ila Mae Klink at the Peace Evangelical and Reform Church, in Elkader, IA.
Following his time in the military, he became a sales promotion manager for The Quaker Oats Company of Cedar Rapids, for 10 years. The family then moved to Mason City in 1959. In 1960, a long association began with Metalcraft, Inc. where he was the advertising manager for 28 years retiring in 1988. In addition to his employment with Metalcraft, he and Ila Mae established the Fred T. Fenchel Entertainment Agency in 1964 and continued as a thriving business until his full retirement.
Fred was very active in the community, which he took great pride in, with memberships including, Wesley United Methodist Church, Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Benevolent Lodge No. 145, AF&AM, El Kahir Shrine Temple of Cedar Rapids and a past active member of the North Iowa Shrine Club and Clown Unit, Mason City Chamber of Commerce where he was a Ambassador since 1960 and was recognized as the longest serving member in 1996, but continued his association with the Ambassadors until his passing.
He was a member, board member and past president of the River City Kiwanis Club, member of North Iowa Fair Association for over 35 years where he served on the Board of Directors, the Association of Iowa Fairs and the Minnesota Federation of Fairs. He served as Chairman of the Board for 25 years for the Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery in Mason City.
In 2004, Fred was inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the work of his Entertainment Agency.
During all of the years in Mason City, he served on numerous committees and participated in many fund-raising campaigns. He also was proud of having served on the Board of Directors for the Mason City Community Theater and loved every moment of playing the role of Mayor Shinn in the 1968 production of “The Music Man”. Every year he participated on several committees for the annual North Iowa Band Festival. In October 2017, he and Ila Mae were named Grand Marshals for the 2018 Festival.
As busy as he was with his community involvement, his first priority was his family. He was a generous and giving man, not only to his family and friends but to Mason City as well. He was a man full of pride, integrity and love. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends.
In lieu of flowers memorials, may be directed to Muse-Norris Hospice Inpatient Unit, 232 2nd St. SE, Mason City, IA, 50401 or Wesley United Methodist Church, 1405 S. Pennsylvania, Mason City, IA 50401. Online condolences may be left for the family at www.majorericksonfuneralhome.com.
Fred's family wishes to express their heartfelt thanks for the compassionate and professional care given to him in his final days by the Muse-Norris Inpatient Hospice Unit.
Arrangements are with Major Erickson Funeral Home & Crematory, 111 N. Pennsylvania Avenue, Mason City, Iowa 50401, 641-423-0924.
Ventura mayor remembered for work ethic, integrity, kindness (with photos)
VENTURA | Lynn Benson wasn't a man to brag about himself.
That didn't stop colleagues from noticing his tireless work ethic.
"He was very proficient in what he did," said Ventura City Councilman John Quintas. "He didn't look like he was doing a lot, but he got a tremendous amount of work done in a day."
Benson, 64, died Friday at the Muse Norris Hospice Inpatient Unit in Mason City. Local city officials remembered him as a man of great integrity, kind spirit and a well-respected figure in Ventura and its surrounding communities.
Clear Lake Police Chief Pete Roth remembered Benson as a kind person who was always looking to help his fellow citizens.
"He would always have a big old smile on his face," Roth said. "He was a great guy to know, and meant a lot to this community."
Council members also said Benson was also a snowmobile enthusiast. Brian Vaage said Benson was part of the North Iowa Snow Seekers club, and helped organize a couple events for the group.
He was mostly known around Ventura and North Iowa for his excavating work, for which he gained a great amount of respect because of his work ethic.
And even as he battled cancer for several years, Councilman Dar Avery said he was surprised when Benson stated he wanted to be Ventura's mayor — but added he was fully committed to its responsibilities. Quintas and Vaage said he frequented the gas station in town to catch up with fellow Ventura residents.
"He wanted this job," Avery said. "He wanted to serve."
And according to Ventura City Administrator Else Taylor, Benson's respect for the position — which he held for over four years — was evident.
"He had a quiet authority about him that few people possess," Taylor said. "He ran Ventura with integrity and had a great sense of humor."
Council members said Benson's commitment to serve was in part to give back to the community, and also to partake in some of the annual festivities — including riding in the Fourth of July parade.
Benson, a Forest City native, graduated from Forest City High School in 1971. He lived in the Forest City area until 1990, when he moved to Ventura.
Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 31, at Cataldo Schott Funeral Chapel in Forest City. A procession will follow to the Ventura Community Center, assisted by Ventura city officials and the Clear Lake-Ventura Police Department.
Family and friends invite the public to join them at the Ventura Community Center from 2-4 p.m. to celebrate Benson's life. Instead of flowers, his family asks that memorials be made out to the Lynn Benson memorial fund.
Council members are still deciding how their next mayor will be chosen. According to Iowa law, they have either 60 days from the day the vacancy began to appoint a replacement, or they can choose to hold a special election, among other options.
For now, though, they are focusing on the life of a man who worked seven days a week, but seldom gloated about it.
In an example of that, Quintas told a story about how Benson was working several years ago at the site of the Love's gas station in Floyd. He was doing "dirt work" at the site, subbing in for Charlson Excavating.
"The foreman on the crew ... for the company in charge of all of it came up to him (Benson) and goes, 'You're pretty smooth at this,'" Quintas said. "And he goes, 'Yea, I do alright.'" And (the foreman) goes, 'No, seriously, I'm watching. You're making three trips to their one.'"
"He would do it in a manner where you wouldn't notice it ... (he was) very humble," Quintas added.
Mason City man remembered for sharing Christmas light show with North Iowa (with photos, video)
MASON CITY | For years, Dan Weitzel would cover his house and front yard with thousands of Christmas lights, bringing a impressive amount of Christmas cheer to his neighborhood on 16th Street Northeast.
Until last year, Weitzel never thought about taking a break. That included in 2016, when he suffered a heart attack.
"Nope," he said in a 2016 interview with the Globe Gazette. "Never crossed my mind."
Dan Weitzel, 53, died last Thursday at Mercy Medical Center—North Iowa. His funeral is 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Trinity Lutheran Church.
Much like his commitment to his light show, Dan's obituary stated he "was never someone to sit around." He would show outdoor movies in the summer for his neighbors, and was an avid fisherman and hunter with his sons.
Weitzel, a Mason City native, graduated from Mason City High School in 1982. He was employed at McDonald's for 17 years before working as a supervisor at Mercy Medical Center—North Iowa for 22 years.
Tyler Poulter, Mercy's Environmental Services manager, worked with Weitzel for the past five-and-a-half years. He didn't even know about the light show his first Christmas in Mason City — pointing to Weitzel's humility as a key reason why.
"If you asked him about it, then he’d get talking," Poulter said. "And you’d understand all the time and energy it took to pull that off."
The Globe Gazette first reported on Weitzel's love of Christmas lights in 2010, when he installed a 13,000-light display at his house.
His display was set to music, which played on 89.3 FM. Motorists could pass by his house and listen to holiday music, as the lights would change color in sync with the different tunes.
Weitzel's work ethic with the show was apparent, not just because of how many lights adorned his house, but how he got them to change colors.
Although he didn't have a computer programming background, Weitzel taught himself how to operate the lights from a computer in his basement.
"Each bulb has to be programmed individually," he said in 2016 about a 20-foot Christmas tree in his front yard. "And then each bulb has three inside of it that have to be programmed."
The extra work allowed Weitzel considerable control over his display, from the bulbs changing colors to syncing up with the holiday music over the radio.
Weitzel's show was such a hit in 2010 that he expanded it to include 20,000 lights. He joked that he would need to use some of his neighbors' properties if he wanted to add any more lights.
Outside of the light show, Weitzel had a passion for traveling, and was a family man. He loved spending time with his dogs, and had an affection for animals — the first couple of years he did the light show, he would collect donations for the Humane Society of North Iowa.
Poulter noted Weitzel's commitment to his light show, even as he suffered a heart attack, is something Mason City residents and others appreciated. Cars would gather on Weitzel's street on Christmas Eve, and people would send Christmas cards to thank him.
His energy and passion for the show drew notice from Iowans across the state, and reminded them of the Christmas spirit of years past.
"We used to have others who would do this in Mason City over the years," Fairfield native Laurie Coe told the Globe Gazette in 2010. "I am really glad to see it continue."
Poulter said that ultimately, the light show highlighted Weitzel's overall passion for making other people happy.
"He had an infectious smile and a quirky sense of humor," Poulter said. "I think it was spot on (about the light show) that his main objective of it was to brighten other people’s days."
Rowan Rocket: North Iowa's 90-year-old Evel Knievel takes final bow (with photos)
MASON CITY | North Iowa’s own Evel Knievel known for rousing a crowd by attempting — and oftentimes completing — death-defying stunts, including bus jumps, has gone out quietly.
Stan Riedel, 90, of Rowan, died Sunday, March 4. His funeral was Saturday.
Riedel’s obituary said he was “a true showman and loved entertaining the crowds.”
In 2010, Riedel was recognized as the world’s oldest performing daredevil during a ceremony in Las Vegas.
But before he became a stunt legend, he was a decorated racer whose shop in Rowan was overflowing with trophies earned at race tracks from the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
His first win came in a bicycle race at the Kossuth County Fair in Algona in 1942.
Riedel traded bicycles for motorcycles in 1947. From stock cars to semis to souped-up trucks, he pushed the pedal to the metal on the race track most of his life.
Riedel, who “worked hard and played hard,” according to his obituary, got his first taste of the stunt thrill more than 60 years ago, but it wasn’t bus jumping.
He slid through fire and sat in a rocking chair on top of a car while jumping a ramp at the Wright County Raceway.
The school bus stunts began in the 1980s with him jumping various combinations of semi-tractor frames, junk cars, motorcycles, motorhomes and furniture.
“Some guys like to golf, some like fishing, some like rattlesnake hunting, I like a little more spice,’’ he said in a 2002 interview with the Globe Gazette.
His last stunt came in 2009 at the I-35 Speedway, now Mason City Motor Speedway, when he cleared eight cars in a school bus, a feat he had attempted in 2007 and 2008. It was one of his finest moments even though it landed him in Mercy Medical Center--North Iowa, where he was treated and released before he returned to Rowan the next day. He was 82 years old.
That stunt also earned him a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most cars successfully jumped by a bus.
His career, like his stunts, were full of variety. From owning a small fleet of dump trucks, tending to cemetery grounds, racing stock car in North Iowa, running a gas station, promoting country musicians and professional wrestlers, harvesting walnut trees, running logs to Dubuque sawmill and buying used and abused trucks and turning them into masterpieces at Riedel Truck Sales.
Riedel, a 1945 graduate of Burt High, served in the U.S. Navy as a firefighter during World War II. He was later involved in the Rowan Legion’s color guard.
Stanley Melvin Riedel
Stanley Melvin Riedel
July 19, 1927 - March 4, 2018
ROWAN, IOWA - Stanley Melvin Riedel, dazzling entrepreneur, stunt legend, proud American, and the Energizer Bunny’s role model, passed away on Sunday March 4, 2018.
Visitation will be 4-7 PM on Friday, March 9th at the Ewing Funeral Home in Belmond. Celebration of his life will be at 2 PM in the Dows Community Center with Pastor Mark Peterson from Immanuel Lutheran Church officiating.
He was born in Burt, Iowa on July 19, 1927 and was the youngest child of Martha and Walt Riedel. His mother adored him and called him “HON”. His dad taught him how to think outside the box and to be a life long learner.
He graduated from Burt High in 1945 as the Salutatorian of his class… of two students. After graduating from high school he wanted to enlist in the Army, but his wise father told him he would less likely be shot at if he joined the Navy. During WWII he served as a fire fighter first class in the Navy. He was proud of his service and participated in the Rowan Legion’s color guard numerous times. Stan was the guest speaker at Rowan’s Memorial Day service telling stories how he taught himself how to play the harmonica on the ship and that he bought candy bars while on shore to sell later when he got back on the ship! A military highlight of Stan’s life happened in August, 2012 when he joined 135 other veterans on the eighth (and final) Honor Flight out of Mason City.
Stan met the girl of his dreams when he went along with his friend to visit his friend’s girlfriend and her roommate. The roommate caught Stan’s eye and even though she had a date with another guy that evening, slick talking Stan persuaded her to go out with him instead. Thus began the courtship and marriage of Selma Behnkendorf and Stanley Riedel. On March 14, 2018 these two life-long companions would have celebrated 70 years of marriage. This couple blossomed into a family of four children, 11 grandkids, 15 great grandkids, and 3 great, great grandkids.
Stan’s career was full of variety. He started out with a small fleet of dump trucks in Luverne while tending the cemetery grounds on the side. Neither jobs satisfied his role as breadwinner, so he paid $75 for a stock car and began racing at the Kossuth County Track in Algona and the Wright County Speedway near Rowan. He earned the 1955 track championship at the Wright County Speedway. It was this win, along with his strong work ethic, that enticed him into buying the track and turning it into a moneymaker. He also bought the local Standard Station as his back-up plan. It was then (in 1960) that the Riedel family moved to Rowan and Stan has lived there ever since. During the 1960s (along with operating the race track & owning the gas station), Stan promoted country singer shows with performers such as Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Roy Acuff, Dottie West, and several other well-known musicians. He also promoted professional wrestling performances that included Mr. M, Bob Geigel, Bull Dog Bob Brown, and other well-established wrestlers. After filling the race track’s hillside with race fans for many seasons, along with the numerous days of painting and repairing cars at his station, he decided to switch careers. He and his friend Chuck Sellars began to harvest walnut trees and take the logs to the Dubuque sawmill. After the ol’ boom-truck had seen better days, Stan realized the time had come to start a new business: Riedel Truck Sales. He became a buyer of used, abused, and wrecked trucks, which he then turned into masterpieces thanks to his talented and dedicated employees Ronnie Davis and Rich Meier. His philosophy was buy low, fix ‘em up, and sell them for a reasonable profit. Stan spent over fifty years building up his truck empire and establishing a name for himself in the truck world- nationally and internationally. Many customers referred to him as “Stan the Man”. During the early years of his truck business he supplemented his income by buying six little Model-T cars. Stan and his kids became true “Carnies” as they sold rides in these miniature model T cars at area celebrations as well as the state fair for several years.
Stan worked hard and he played hard. He was a true showman and loved entertaining the crowds. He got his first taste of hearing the roar of the crowd when he won his first bicycle race at the Kossuth County Track at age ten…and won $18.75. Racing and performing were in his blood. He entered and won the first truck race held at the Iowa State Fair. Afterwards, Stan decided he could create his own traveling truck racing company and called it “Three Stars Production”. The entire family worked together as Selma sold tickets, daughter Marcia announced, and the guys (Stan, his three sons –David, Steven, and Larry, and son-in-law Randy Burt) raced semi trucks at various tracks in Iowa and Minnesota. The truck races took Stan to places such as Pocono Speedway, New York, New Jersey, Canada, and Mexico. Even though the truck races were fun, Stan thought it was time to add a twist to his performances by racing school buses. His favorite nights of racing were when all his family (Dave, Steve, Marcia, Larry, Randy, and himself) raced their six buses against each other at Fairmont (MN), Algona, and Mason City tracks.
Adding more spice to his performances Stan began to do stunts. Sometimes he slid through 50 yards of flames as he was being pulled behind a race truck. Other times he was sitting in a rocking chair on top of a car while jumping a ramp at the Wright County Raceway. But he is most famous for his bus jumps. Stan currently holds the record in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most cars successfully jumped by a bus (eight cars—but Stan could have easily made ten cars). In 2010 Stan received an award at Las Vegas for being the Oldest Stunt Man. His last bus jump was when he was 82 years young.
Stan devoured sweet treats (especially cookies) and ice cream; but he never did find a green bean he liked. He was especially fond of dogs. Stan became Rowan’s very own dog rescue league as he saved many, many dogs throughout his lifetime. His most memorable dog was Luther- Stan’s famous sidekick who rode along with him in all his bus jumps. Stan was a true believer in an honest handshake. His work ethic drove younger guys into the ground. And if you happened to challenge him or raise his temper, be prepared to be “Stanley-ed”. He took fashion cues from no one, as his attire was always colorful and unmatched. His wild outfits were soon dubbed “Stanley Outfits”. He enjoyed playing Dirty Bingo at the family Christmas celebrations and took pleasure in watching his family members bid against one another for the personal items he and Selma donated to the family’s “Memory Auction”. Stan loved Nascar races- whether at the actual track or watching it at home on TV. He was elated whenever his favorite driver, Dale Earnhardt, won the race.
Stan attended many truck and equipment auctions throughout his career, but after he retired he still relished the thrill of having the winning bid. After his retirement, he attended many estate and household auctions and was tickled when many inexpensive household items, knick-knacks, stuffed animals, and other such fun items made their way home with him. He loved to share these prize possessions with grandkids, the residents at the Care Center, and children at area celebrations.
Stan had a zest for life, a great smile (if he had his dentures in), and a pep-in-his-step. A great work ethic was important to Stan- which he displayed on a daily basis. His favorite piece of advice to share with others was “You can catch more flies with honey that you can with vinegar.” Stan’s life was very fulfilling and he delighted in the fact that he reached the age of 90. He encouraged others to go out and live their lives to the fullest- because you only get to live it once.
Those left behind to reminisce and cherish Stan’s many memories and antics are his wife Selma, his daughter Marcia Burt (Randy), his son Larry Riedel (Donna), and his daughter-in-law Barbara Riedel. His grandkids: Tracy Dorr, Jaclyn Wessels (Jason), Emily Bailey (Donald), Joshua Riedel (Tiffani), Tonya Dockwell, Clinton Riedel, Amanda McConnell, Joslyn Stock (Adam), Derek Burt (Jill), Ellie Riedel, and Megan Riedel. His great grandkids: Kaitlyn, Madison, Tristan, Jackson, Kristin, Addilyn, Joshua, Brianna, Emma, Morgan, Jayden, Ashton, Elias, Gabriel, and Alexis. His great, great grandkids: Gage, Garrett, and Graycen.
Those welcoming Stan at the Pearly Gates are his parents, his three siblings (Lawrence, Marjorie, and Laura), his two sons (David and Steven), his daughter-in-law (Lois Riedel), and his grandson-in-law (Timothy Dorr).
North Iowa farmer granted wish to ride in helicopter at age 102 has died (with photos, video)
CLEAR LAKE | A North Iowa farmer who checked a few items off his bucket list in his 100s -- flying in a helicopter at 102 and riding in a modern combine at 101 -- has died.
Henry "Hank" Vierkant, 103, a resident of Apple Valley Assisted Living in Clear Lake, died Feb. 21. His funeral was Tuesday.
Vierkant's obituary said he "never skipped an opportunity for new experiences, including the last few years, when he was able to ride in a John Deere combine, a helicopter and a Polaris Slingshot," a three-wheel roadster motorcycle.
In October 2016, Vierkant, then 101, received a belated 100th birthday present -- riding in the cab of a John Deere combine at Titan Pro's test plots in Clear Lake.
It had been at least 25 years since he had been in a combine, and Vierkant said technology had changed a great deal since then.
At one point as the combine rolled through the corn, Vierkant saw on the computer screen that 800 bushels had been harvested. When Vierkant was a farmer, 80 bushels was a good amount for that time, a Titan Pro President/CEO Jeff Meints said.
In July 2017, Vierkant said flying in a helicopter at age 102 was "one of the best times" of his life.
During a hospital stay at Mercy Medical Center--North Iowa, he mentioned one of his bucket list wishes -- riding in a helicopter -- to Allie Maxwell, one of his nurses.
Maxwell helped coordinate the 20-minute ride, which included a view of Clear Lake.
He told the Globe Gazette he wasn't scared, but added, "I had a pretty good driver."
At age 100, Vierkant was still able to enjoy the outdoors. Although he relied on a walker, Vierkant would walk around the outside of Apple Valley, getting in 2 or 3 miles a day.
That summer, he also hoed tomatoes in the garden outside his apartment window and built three wooden benches along a path through a circular flower garden.
"You've got to be as ornery as I am, that keeps you going," he told the Globe Gazette of his longevity.
During his life, Vierkant visited every state but Hawaii with his wife, Elizabeth. The two spent 65 years together.
In his 70s, his wife dared him to pick up quilting, something he watched his mother do growing up. Since then, Vierkant made about 100 quilts, including Coca-Cola, John Deere, necktie and crib blankets.
"Every grandma that comes to show off a grandson or granddaughter gets one," Vierkant said in November 2014.
Nov. 7, 1914-Feb. 21, 2018
Clear Lake -- Henry Vierkant, 103, of Clear Lake, passed away Wednesday, February 21, 2018, at the Apple Valley Assisted Living in Clear Lake. Funeral services will be held 2:00 p.m., Tuesday, February 27, at the First Reformed Church, Meservey, with Rev. Rodney Meester presiding. Interment will be at the Meservey Cemetery. Visitation will be 1 hour before the service at the church.
Henry Vierkant was born November 7, 1914 in Wisner Township, Franklin County, Iowa, a son of Berand and Gesema (Arenholtz) Vierkant. He attended country school until beginning to work on the farm for his father and brother.
Henry was united in marriage with Elizabeth Koch April 9, 1941. They farmed near Meservey until retiring from farming in 1962 and moving to Mason City. Henry continued working until he was in his 80's ending his career at Lea Mobile Glass.
Henry lived for his grandkids, spending as much time enhancing their lives with his presence and teachings. He never skipped an opportunity for new experiences including the last few years when he was able to ride in a John Deere Combine, a helicopter and a Polaris Slingshot. He loved to travel to see the country and drove 2 trips to Alaska.
Family members include his daughter: Suzanna (LaVerne) Lee, Clear Lake; son: Jim (Connie) Vierkant, Thornton; six grandchildren: Theresa (Danne) Thomas; Marilyn (Jeff) Inman; Michelle (Tom) DelaRiva; Barb (Matt) Lenning; Arlene (Darin) Enderton; James (Sheri) Vierkant; 9 great grandchildren; sister-in-law: Dolores Niese.
He is preceded in death by his parents, wife, 3 brothers and 3 sisters.
Retired Mason City florist developed 'second career' as clergyman
MASON CITY | Warren Frelund is being remembered as a dedicated Christian man whose church work became a second career for him after retiring as a Mason City businessman.
Frelund, 74, died Tuesday, Feb. 13, at the Muse Norris Hospice Inpatient Unit. Services were held Saturday, Feb. 17.
Frelund and his wife, Susan, owned and operated Kemble's Flowers and greenhouse in Mason City for 30 years and were well-known for their floral designs.
Frelund was active in the Jaycees where he had served as Mason City president and state vice president; the Mason City Chamber of Commerce and the Mason City Noon Rotary Club. He also served on numerous state and national boards in workforce development and related matters.
But Frelund was also a 24-year ordained deacon with the Episcopal church, working with the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa, the Diocese of Wyoming and the National Episcopal Health Ministries.
"He was a great guy, always with a smile and he had a wry sense of humor," said Elizabeth Adams, a diocesan assistant with the Espiscopal Diocese office in Des Moines.
She said she worked with Frelund on many projects on a diocesan level including the annual convention in which Frelund was in charge. "He was a delightful man and will be missed," Adams said.
Frelund was a member of the National Episcopal Church Task Force on Older Adult Issues, a trainer with the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa and traveled the country facilitating small church workshops and ministries.
The Rev. Elliot Blackburn of Mason City, a retired Episcopal priest who now leads services in Iowa Falls, presented Frelund for confirmation many years ago and has admired his dedication to ministry.
"He had a passion for helping people to live their baptismal promises in the world," Blackburn said. "He had a particular interest for serving the older adult community. He was keen on that," he said.
"He had a background in gardening and loved it when a Biblical text had to do with fishing or growing things," Blackburn said. "He had an interest in the community gardens in Mason City and that their produce was put to good use."
Episcopal clergy from throughout the state attended Saturday's services.
Don Lee remembered as man who inspired civic pride in North Iowa
MASON CITY | Don Lee is being remembered as a man whose love of gardening, beautification and civic pride inspired generations of North Iowans.
Lee, 86, died Thursday at the IOOF Home in Mason City. Memorial services will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, at First Christian Church. Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23, at Major Erickson Funeral Home.
Lee was a barber by trade and gave thousands of haircuts at his barber shop on East State Street for 60 years.
But it was his work "outside the office," in the parks and gardens of Mason City where his special touch is renowned.
"Don Lee's lasting legacy can be seen in the beautiful parks, flower beds and gardens throughout Mason City," Mayor Bill Schickel said.
Mason City Parks Superintendent Bob Berggren worked with Lee for many years on some of Lee's park beautification projects.
"He was a big contributor to the park system for many years. He was a good guy, willing to do anything you wanted him to do," Berggren said.
"If you needed to get something done, Don would figure out a way to do it. He had a passion for it -- and that's what you need if you're going to get things done."
Fellow gardener Don Nolan said he first got to know Lee when Nolan was starting a garden at his home and Lee brought his tiller over and went to work with it. "He was the one who got me interested in the Garden Club," Nolan said.
"If I was to create a picture of him, I would say he was the type of person you wouldn't turn down if he came and asked you to do something," he said. "He was just that kind of a guy."
Glen and Susan Hendershot got involved with the Mason City Garden Club and in volunteer work in the parks because of the example Lee set. "He was such an inspiration to so many people. That's how I will remember him," Susan said.
In 2015, the Hendershots arranged to have a plaque mounted in East Park in honor of all the hours of volunteer work Lee put in to beautify the park.
"Every community needs a Don Lee," Susan said at the time. "None of us would have put in the time and effort we do without the example he has set for all of us."
Lee got involved in park beautification in the 1960s. He helped start a citywide beautification project in 1970. Part of his legacy is the duck pond and waterfalls he helped develop in East Park.
He was active in the Men's Garden Club. In 1995, the club won a national beautification award for its work in East Park.
In a 2016 Globe Gazette interview, Lee said his barbering career -- the career he got paid for -- began when was 14 years old when, just for fun, he started cutting kids' hair in the backyard of his family's home in Dexter, Minnesota.
He was good at it and soon began cutting his father's hair and then his neighbors'. In college, he cut his classmates' hair and then was a barber for soldiers in the Army.
All of this led to the opening of Don Lee's Barber Service on East State Street where he cut hair and exchanged chit-chat with customers for six decades.
He did his last haircut on June 13, 2016. On that day, he reflected on his long career, saying he didn't know how many haircuts he had given over the years -- "too many to count."
But he knew what his record was for one day -- 40, given many years ago at Good Shepherd Health Center.
MASON CITY - Donald Lee, 86, of Mason City, IA, died Tuesday, February 13, 2018, at the IOOF Home.
Memorial services will be held at 10:30 AM on Saturday, February 24, 2018, at the First Christian Church, 318 N. Adams, with Rev. David H. Wagner Sr. officiating.
There will be a gathering of family and friends from 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM on Friday, February 23, 2018, at Major Erickson Funeral Home, 111 N. Pennsylvania Avenue.
Inurnment will take place in Memorial Park Cemetery at a later date.
Memorials may be directed to the family of Donald Lee. Online condolences may be left for the family at www.majorericksonfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements are with Major Erickson Funeral Home & Crematory, 111 N. Pennsylvania Avenue, Mason City, Iowa 50401, 641-423-0924, www.majorericksonfuneralhome.com.
Warren F. Frelund
Warren F. Frelund
May 12, 1943 - February 13, 2018
MASON CITY - Warren F. Frelund, 74, of Mason City, IA, died Tuesday, February 13, 2018, at the Muse Norris Hospice Inpatient Unit. Warren's passing comes following a brief but courageous battle with esophageal cancer. He was able to find peace and comfort in his final days with family and friends surrounding him with love. A gathering of family and friends will be held at St. John's Episcopal Church Parish Hall, 120 First Street Northeast, from 4:00-7:00 p.m. on Friday, February 16, 2018. (Please use North Pennsylvania Avenue entrance). A memorial service will be held at St. John's Episcopal Church at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 17, 2018, with the Rt. Rev. Alan Scarfe, Bishop of Iowa, officiating. Inurnment will take place in the St. John's Episcopal Church Columbarium. Memorials may be directed to The University of Iowa Foundation – Hawkeye Marching Band Development Fund (www.givetoiowa.org), St. John's Episcopal Church, or Hospice of North Iowa. Online condolences may be left for the family at www.majorericksonfuneralhome.com.
Warren, son of Andrew Frelund and Marie (Rankin) Frelund-Pfeil was born on May 12, 1943 in Mason City. He graduated from Mason City High School in 1961 and went onto the University of Iowa where he studied music and was a member of the University of Iowa Hawkeye Marching Band. In 1962, Warren married Susan Whorley and the couple had three daughters. He was a passionate fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes, Chicago Cubs, and the Chicago Bears. He thoroughly enjoyed gardening, fishing, and spending time with his grandchildren.
Warren, along with his wife, owned and operated Kemble's Flowers for 30 years where he designed beautiful floral arrangements and took great pride in managing the greenhouse, especially the annual holiday poinsettia crop that he grew from seedlings. The most special floral designs were the stunning bridal bouquets he created for each of his daughters. Early in his career, he was actively involved with Mason City Jaycees (former local president and state vice-president), a member of Rotary Club participating in a Rotary Group Study Exchange to Japan in 1971, Mason City Chamber of Commerce, and past North Iowa Band Festival chairman. Warren was a workforce advisor with NIACC Workforce Development and through that work is past board member of the National Alliance of Business, past president of the National Association of Private Industry Council and served on the National Commission of Employment Policy Advisory Board to the President appointed by President Bill Clinton.
Warren enjoyed a second career as a 24-year ordained deacon with the Episcopal church, working for the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa, the Diocese of Wyoming, and National Episcopal Health Ministries throughout his career. He was a member of the National Episcopal Church Task Force on Older Adult Issues, a trainer with the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa, and facilitated numerous small church workshops in Episcopal dioceses through the country. Most recently, Warren worked part-time at Hy-Vee Drugstore Garden Center where he enjoyed assisting customers with plant and vegetable garden needs.
Warren is survived by his wife, Sue, three daughters and their spouses Jeanne (Jim) Cornick of Mason City, Liz (Jeff) Croston of Sioux City, Iowa, and Molly (Mike) Anderegg of Mason City, and grandchildren Jenna and Jess Cornick, Nicholas and Emily Croston, and Patrick and Emma Anderegg.
He was preceded in death by his father, Andrew; mother, Marie; and brother Charles.
Arrangements are with Major Erickson Funeral Home & Crematory, 111 N. Pennsylvania Avenue, Mason City, Iowa 50401, 641-423-0924, www.majorericksonfuneralhome.com
Dr. R. Bruce Dunker
Dr. R. Bruce Dunker
January 28, 2018
MASON CITY - Dr. R. Bruce Dunker, 80, of Mason City, IA, died Sunday, January 28, 2018, at Mercy Medical Center of North Iowa, surrounded by his wife of 57 years and other family members. Memorial services will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday, February 17, 2018, at First Presbyterian Church, 100 S. Pierce St. with Rev. Paul Collier officiating. Visitation will take place February 16, 2018, from 5:00 to 7:00 PM at Major Erickson Funeral Home, 111 N Pennsylvania Ave. Inurnment will take place at a later date in Chapel Hill Gardens Cemetery in Des Moines, IA. In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed to the First Presbyterian Church, 100 S. Pierce St. or Hospice of North Iowa, 232 2nd St SE. Online condolences may be left for the family at www.majorericksonfuneralhome.com
Bruce was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, the oldest son of Richard William Dunker and Rowena Elsie DePue. He grew up in Des Moines and graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1956. He received a BS from Drake University in 1960 and attended medical school at the University of Iowa as part of the Senior Medical School Program. Upon graduation, he served in the US Army in hospitals in San Francisco, CA, Lawton, OK, San Antonio, TX, and Stuttgart, Germany. Bruce and Judy met at Drake and were married on June 25, 1961. She was by his side at each of his military assignments and the two took advantage of the time to visit many of the farthest reaches of the world. A lifetime of travels took them to six continents.
A long practicing North Iowa OB/GYN, Bruce leaves a beautiful legacy—having delivered more than 10,000 babies (and one puppy) over the course of an illustrious career. In addition to being passionate about medicine, Bruce was a dedicated family man who loved international and U.S. travel, riding RAGBRAI, golf, a great meal and conversation, and most of all playing cards with as many people, and as often, as possible. He was often the winner (and always in pursuit of) the family Liverpool Rummy and Cribbage trophies. That competitive spirit is part of what kept him battling through numerous health issues in recent years.
Bruce joined the Park Clinic in Mason City in 1973 which later became part of the Mercy Clinic System. He taught and practiced OB/GYN medicine until his retirement in 2000. He and Judy, a nurse, spent a number of their post-retirement years serving on medical missions in the Marshall Islands as part of Mercy International. Bruce also gave his time and energy to Boy Scouts, Salvation Army, the Lions Clubs, and many hospital committees.
Feeling the absence of his presence most, are wife Judy (Wyatt) Dunker, four children Lisa (Gregg) Shivers, White Stone, VA., Tyler (Jessica) Dunker, Des Moines, Jill Boswell, Santa Rosa Beach, Fl. and Stephen (Ava) Dunker, Wilmington, NC, as well as 11 grandchildren, a brother Brian (Coleen) Dunker of Des Moines and a niece and nephew.
Arrangements are with Major Erickson Funeral Home & Crematory, 111 N. Pennsylvania Avenue, Mason City, Iowa 50401, 641-423-0924, www.majorericksonfuneralhome.com
North Iowa's Dr. Dunker, who delivered 10,000 babies, remembered as being kind, innovative
MASON CITY | Dr. Bruce Dunker is being remembered as a kind, pleasant man who delivered 10,000 babies in his long career.
Dunker, a longtime Mason City obstetrician, died Sunday, Jan. 28, at Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa.
His memorial service is 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, at First Presbyterian Church. Visitation is 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, at Major Erickson Funeral Home.
"I remember Bruce to be a true gentleman — kind and gracious to his staff and partners," said Dr. Michael Faust with Mercy Obstetrics & Gynecology Clinic.
"He was well-read in his specialty, ready to lend a hand or knowledge to me when I was a younger partner, but also humbly accepting of help when he requested it from me.
"After retirement, he always had a kind greeting for me, and took time to remember my family with his words."
Dr. Bruce Trimble knew Dunker for 44 years. "We both came to Mason City in 1973," Trimble said. "We found we had some unusual things in common. We both have the same first two names — Richard Bruce — and we both went by 'Bruce'."
Trimble mentioned another unusual connection. "He delivered his son one night and delivered our daughter the next night," he said.
"He was a very pleasant man," Trimble said. "He had a reassuring kind of persona that comforted his patients."
Trimble said counting the time Dunker was in the military, he is credited with delivering 10,000 babies in his career.
Dr. John Justin, a pediatrician, was on the staff with Dunker at the Park Clinic downtown.
"He was very pleasant," Justin said. "The patients liked him. He contributed a lot of new things to the clinic. He was one of the younger ones. The younger you are, the more new ideas and new techniques you have."
Justin said Dunker played a key role when North Iowa Medical Center, now the Mercy West Campus site, opened. "When it opened, Dr. Dunker was the main person to set up the obstetrics department which was a very important job," Justin said.
Dr. Walt Bate first got to know Dunker when Bate was an emergency room doctor. He said ER doctors often have to call in other doctors to treat specific conditions, sometimes in the middle of the night. Dunker always responded respectfully, he said.
"Bruce was always cooperative and supportive. I thoroughly enjoyed him. I don't remember a time when he wasn't pleasant, always happy to see you," Bate said.
Dr. Gene Kuehn said Dunker was a friendly doctor whose patients really liked him. "When I first got to know him, I invited him to go on a camping trip to the Boundary Waters and that's when we really got to know each other better.
"He was a very friendly man and he was very well-read professionally and in Christian literature," said Kuehn.
In 1999, Dunker, who had been retired for only three months, and his wife, Judy, a nurse, accepted a medical mission to the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Together, they provided diagnostic and primary care for people living in extreme poverty, including some who lived in boxcars.
In a 2000 Globe Gazette interview after their return to the U.S., Dunker talked about the challenges of constantly treating people with diarrhea and also handing out hundreds of bars of Dial soap.
It was difficult work but Dunker saw it as a mission.
"We'd go back," he said in the interview. "We're already talking about it."
Robert 'Bob' H. Wolfram, Sr.
Robert 'Bob' H. Wolfram, Sr.
January 25, 1927 - January 28, 2018
VENTURA | Robert “Bob” H. Wolfram, Sr., 91, of Ventura, died Sunday, January 28, 2018, at Muse-Norris Hospice Inpatient Unit in Mason City.
Funeral services will be 1:00 p.m. Thursday, February 1, 2018, at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 301 S. Main St., Ventura, with Pastor Jesse Burns officiating. Burial will be at Memorial Park Cemetery in Mason City.
Visitation will be from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 31, 2018, at Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, 101 N. 4th St., Clear Lake.
In lieu of flowers, family suggests memorial contributions to the R.H. Wolfram Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 77, Ventura IA, 50482.
Bob was born January 25, 1927, the son of Theodore “Ted” Jr. and Rose (Mundt) Wolfram in May City, IA. He married Cynthia “Cyndi” Eileen Hauge in 1955 at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Ventura. They have 3 children and were married 62 years before Cyndi's death on February 27, 2017.
Bob graduated from Ventura High School where he helped lead the Ventura Vikings boys' basketball team to the state championships.
At 18, he was drafted into the United States Army and served during World War II as a military police officer.
Following in their parent's footsteps, Bob, and his older brother, Ted, co-owned B&T Food Market in Ventura where they were known for their fresh produce, exceptional service, and great weekly specials.
Bob later went on to work as a sales representative for Ligget-Meyer Tobacco Company for 32 years where he never met a stranger.
After retiring, he was elected Mayor of Ventura in 1981 where he served multiple terms for nearly 30 years, while also serving on the Ventura City Council.
You rarely saw Mayor Bob without a pipe in his mouth smoking a bowl of Captain Black, disheveled silver hair spiking out of a random baseball cap, an often times soiled tee or sweatshirt, baggy jeans and his black crocks (he owned 5 pair!) When urged by his wife, and children, to dress more appropriately, or at least put on a clean shirt, he would reply, “If they don't like it, they can get another Mayor!”
Bob spent countless hours raising funds for a number of projects including the construction of the Ventura Public Library, Post Office and Community Center among MANY others.
In fact, it's widely known, when Mayor Bob came through the door, area business owners and leaders would automatically open their checkbooks!
Bob was a loyal family man who took immense pride in his community and especially loved serving its children by hosting winter wiener roasts, spearheading the construction of Lynn Lorenzen Park and the Ventura Children's Playground dedicated in his honor. For most of his adult life, Bob was an avid volunteer for then Handicap Village and Cerro Gordo County, always lending a hand to the less fortunate and under privileged.
He enjoyed woodworking and being out in his yard where he's still known for mowing the straightest lines in town!
Bob never missed an Iowa Hawkeye football or basketball game.
And much to the joy of his family he finally traded out his tee-shirts and jeans to a wardrobe of strictly Iowa Hawkeye clothing all the way down to his sox.
As life began to wind down, you would often find Bob sitting on his deck, smoking his pipe and admiring what he called, “Hands down, the best view of Clear Lake.”
Robert is survived by three children, Robert “Bobby” Wolfram Jr. of Ventura, Wendy (Tony) Joseph of Byron, MN and Robin Wolfram of Ventura; three grandchildren, Nate (Thea) Anthony, Nic Anthony, and Emily (Eric) Fersun; three great-grandchildren; brothers Ted (Barb) and Bill (Carmen) and so many nieces and nephews who found “Uncle Bob” quite entertaining!
He was preceded in death by his parents, wife and sister (Margaret Dammen). Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, 101 N. 4th St., Clear Lake. 641-357-2193. ColonialChapels.com
Bob Wolfram, aka 'Mr. Ventura,' remembered for giving spirit, loyalty (with photos)
VENTURA | In 2002, when Robert "Bob" Wolfram Sr. was re-elected as mayor of Ventura, he gave out 300 boxes of chocolate cookies as his way of saying thank you to the community he loved.
Giving back to the community was a big part of his character, according to friends and relatives.
Wolfram, 91, known throughout North Iowa as "Mr. Ventura," died Sunday at the Muse Norris Hospice Inpatient Unit in Mason City.
He was mayor from 1982 to 1993 and served on the City Council from 1996 to 1999. He then ran again for mayor in 2002 and served until he retired in 2009.
"Bob was Ventura's number one promoter and he thoroughly enjoyed being our mayor for many years," said Else Taylor, Ventura city administrator. "His long list of accomplishments and devotion for making this community a better place to live was his lifelong passion. He will be greatly missed," she said.
"Mr. Ventura — what a great guy," said Clear Lake Mayor Nelson Crabb. "He was always the gentleman politician. He liked to come over to Clear Lake City Hall and talk about what was going on.
"He was one of the people instrumental in the restoration of Clear Lake because he knew the value of the lake to all of North Iowa," Crabb said.
Clear Lake City Administrator Scott Flory also recalled Wolfram's visits to City Hall.
"He was instrumental in recognizing the benefit of 24/7/365 policing for Ventura and negotiating for police service between the communities," said Flory.
"He was always a gentleman — humble and kind — but all business when he needed to be. Whether you agreed with him or not, you always respected his love for his community," he said.
"He was a unique personality, a throwback to an earlier age. But he had an effective way of communicating with anyone he spoke to, regardless of their generation."
Those who knew him said Wolfram had a special place in his heart for people who couldn't even vote for him —the kids of the community. One of his special events was January wiener roasts for Ventura children.
One of his daughters, Robin Wolfram, said the compassion he had for other people, and particularly children, is one of his legacies.
"He secured an old school bus and used it to transport kids from Opportunity Village to church every Sunday," she said. "That's the kind of person he was."
But another side of him, she said, was his fundraising ability for Ventura and children's causes. "He would quietly — and sometimes not so quietly — go after donations," she said.
Another daughter, Wendy Wolfram-Joseph, said, "He is the man I compare others to, in terms of loyalty and integrity. He set the bar high for all of us."
Wolfram's son, Robert Jr., known as Bobby, once calculated the amount of time his dad devoted to being mayor — and it came about to about 29 cents an hour, according to Robin.
Wolfram was a sales representative for the Liggett & Myer tobacco company for more than 30 years. When he decided to retire in the mid-1980s, friends encouraged him to run for mayor.
"I gave it great thought and I said, hey, why not try it," Wolfram said in a 2010 interview with the Globe Gazette. "I didn't know much about government. I still don't," he said.
During his time in public office, Wolfram is credited with helping with the merger of the Clear Lake and Ventura police departments, establishing the city's first park on West Lake Street (later named in his honor), securing cable television service for the city, construction of the library/post office and construction of a new community center and weather safety room.
Wolfram's wife, Cynthia, died on Feb. 27. 2017, at age 81.
Services are 1 p.m. Thursday at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Ventura. Burial will be at Memorial Park Cemetery in Mason City. Visitation is 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Ward Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, Clear Lake.
Last Call: Union Pacific, rail crew honor Mason City boy who died from cancer (with photos)
MASON CITY | When Elliot Burgos was growing up, he had a special love for trains.
His parents, Shanda and Jonathan Burgos, would take him to the Union Pacific Railyard in Mason City, near the bridge at 12th Street Northwest, to watch the locomotives roll past. He also had done a tour and ridden one of UP's trains.
On Saturday morning, the Mason City rail crew and Union Pacific honored him and his family one last time.
Elliot Burgos, 9, died Jan. 14 after a long battle with medulloblastoma, a type of terminal pediatric brain tumor that spreads down the spine.
Shanda, Elliot's mother, said they didn't know what to expect when they brought Elliot, in his casket, to the Union Pacific Railyard on Saturday. One of Elliot's favorite trains, the 8508, was sitting in the yard, and Shanda recognized the significance of that with one of the Union Pacific special agents present.
After all, Elliot was born on Aug. 5, 2008.
"The 8508 train we wanted to do was right here," Shanda said. "I looked at the train and looked at the number … and I looked at him (the agent) and said it was my son’s birthday … and he had the same expression on my face, and we both realized it wasn’t a coincidence."
What makes the situation even more remarkable is the train was supposed to be in Nebraska, Shanda said. Its battery had died however, keeping it grounded after it had arrived in Mason City that morning, she added.
Randy Dodd, a UP worker, had informed Shanda of that circumstance—and stated it didn't seem to be a coincidence.
"I don't think things just happen," Dodd said, according to Shanda. "I think things happen for a reason."
She commended Union Pacific for its support that day, and for coordinating a tremendous sendoff for their son. Workers honked train horns for Elliot, and lined up the 8508 painted on Elliot's gold, red and black casket to the 8508 on one of his favorite locomotives.
She also thanked the community for its continuing support during the past few years, as Elliot continued his courageous fight against cancer.
"If it wasn’t for all the people’s support, we wouldn’t be able to do half of the things we did with Elliot," Shanda said.
And even though he's gone, Saturday's proceedings provided some much needed closure, she added. It was apparent Elliot was right there with them, along with his 8508 train.
"We just wanted to have one last goodbye for Elliot," Shanda said, later adding, "He was OK, and that train was on its way to heaven."
Elliot Burgos, Mason City
August 5, 2008 - January 14, 2018
Mason City - Elliot Burgos, 9, of Mason City, passed away Sunday, January 14, 2018 at Mercy Medical Center - North Iowa, Mason City, after a courageous battle with brain cancer.
A funeral service will be held 10:30 a.m. Saturday, January 20, 2018 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 213 North Pennsylvania Ave, Mason City, with Reverend Ruth Burgos officiating. Burial will be held at a later date. The family would like to see everyone wear their Prayer for Elliot shirt on the service day, if you don't have this to wear please select a yellow or black shirt for Elliot.
A visitation will be held from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Friday, January 19, 2018 at Hogan-Bremer-Moore Colonial Chapel, 126 3rd Street NE, Mason City.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to the Elliot Burgos Fund at Cent Credit Union, Mason City.
MASON CITY | A 9-year-old Mason City boy with cancer has died, his parents said Sunday.
Elliot R. Burgos was born August 5, 2008 in Mason City, son of Jonathan and Shanda (Carolus) Burgos. He attended Harding Elementary School and was in fourth grade. Elliot would have been in the class of 2026.
Elliot enjoyed playing soccer, baseball, and horseback riding. He could be found playing videogames during his down time and tinkering with his Union Pacific model train set. He would often have his parents sit at the Railroad Crossings just so he could watch the trains pass by. He liked keeping up with his brothers and wrestling around. During the summer Elliot looked forward to camping with his family, friends, and going fishing.
During Elliot's journey, he had inspired a lot of people and rekindled people's faith. The community and many across the nation rallied in support for Elliot. The family would like to express their gratitude for all the prayers and support during this difficult journey.
Elliot is survived by his parents, Jonathan and Shanda Burgos, Mason City; three brothers, Cameron, Calob, and Samuel Burgos; grandparents, Cherryl (Bob) Poole, Clark (Missy) Conroy, and Georgina (Brenon) Gracia-leacock; five great grandparents, Troy and Linda Fraser, Jerry and Jean Carolus, and Claryce Conroy; seven aunts, Laura (Peter) Swai, Emily (Cody) Gott, Jeanette Burgos, Jessica Rivera, Victoria (Tommy) Garcia, Christina (Freddy) Delgado, and Ivana Ellerbe; four uncles, Tony (Jennifer) Conroy, Ralph (Erika) Burgos, Jason (MaiLynne) Burgos, Ivan Ellerbe, and various great aunts, uncles and cousins.
Elliot is preceded in death by his grandfather, Rafael Burgos; great grandfather, Jim Conroy; great grandmother, Maria Gracia; uncle, Koty Conroy.
Hogan-Bremer-Moore Colonial Chapel, 126 3rd Street NE, Mason City.641-423-2372.Colonialchapels.com
Longtime Opportunity Village employee remembered for kindness, ability to connect with other North Iowans
CLEAR LAKE | Ralph Schroeder is being remembered as a kind man, wise in his ways, devout in his beliefs and whose passion was to help people connect.
Schroeder, 96, a former longtime employee and interim administrator at Opportunity Village died Dec. 11, 2017. Memorial services were Jan. 6.
"I knew him so well and for so long. I could write a book about him," said John Severtson, retired Opportunity Village CEO who spoke at Schroeder's memorial service.
He said Schroeder was his Sunday School teacher in Rockford, Illinois, and was a good friend of Severtson's father, the Rev. Murley Severtson.
Murley Severtson came to Clear Lake and was a founder and president of the board of what was then known as Handicap Village. He recruited Schroeder to join him. Schroeder was director of social services before becoming interim administrator from November 1983 to July 1984.
He helped establish programs for outward bound residents, supervised apartment programs, the development of the North Iowa Transition Center in Mason City and the Group Home in Clear Lake that now bears his name.
"I knew him as a kid, I knew him professionally and I knew him as a close friend," Severtson said.
"He was a connecter with people and he connected people with each other," he said. "When you were with him, you always learned something. That was true even as his health failed him. I learned from him every day."
Severtson said Schroeder was always concerned when he saw people who seemed to be isolated, such as patients in nursing homes.
"He always wanted to do something about that," he said. "He knew nursing homes were supposed to be quiet places but he still wanted people to connect, to be a community," he said.
Severtson said Schroeder had a special gift in working with people at the Village. "He had the vision," he said. "It wasn't always an easy process but he was instrumental in helping it become a regional provider by expanding into Mason City."
Elda Stone worked at the Village for 30 years, from the time it was Handicap Village to Opportunity Village to One Vision. She began her career at about the same time Schroeder retired but had many interactions with him.
"He was certainly part of what they call 'the greatest generation'— like Dean Snyder, upstanding, honest men who worked hard and had deep ties to the community," she said.
"Even in retirement, he was always part of the Village. He attended many events and became a regular visitor at our offices," Stone said.
"He used to bike around town and stop and talk with people. He was kind but he had deep beliefs and was not afraid to tell them. He could get your attention."
Good friend Bob Ingersoll drove Schroeder different places when Schroeder was no longer able to drive.
"He had the desire and the push; I had the wheels," Ingersol said.
"He had a special relationship with a lot of people but he especially related to people at Apple Valley (Assisted Living)."
Ingersoll said many people will remember Schroeder for his bicycling around lake, even as he approached 90 years of age.
"What I will remember him for," Ingersoll said, "is his kindness, his respect for other people and his ability to converse with them."
Dean Charles Snyder, Clear Lake
Dean Charles Snyder
April 29, 1930 - January 13, 2018
Dean Charles Snyder, 87, of Clear Lake, Iowa passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at home January 13, 2018.
This is the day that the Lord has made – Dean's motto was “No Bad Days” and he truly lived as such.
Celebration of Dean's life will be 10:30 A.M. Wednesday January 17, 2018 at the Clear Lake United Methodist Church, Clear Lake, Iowa with Rev. David Peterson officiating. Military honors will be provided by the Clear Lake V.F.W. Burial will be in the Clear Lake Cemetery, Clear Lake, Iowa. Visitation will be Tuesday from 4:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. at the Clear Lake United Methodist Church, Clear Lake, Iowa. Family suggests memorials to Clear Lake United Methodist Church or St. Croix Hospice in lieu of flowers.
Dean was born on a farm north of Fertile to George and Ida (Hoffman) Snyder April 29, 1930. He attended school in Clear Lake, Iowa before enlisting in the United States Navy.
Dean began his work life following the service by helping his mother run a café along Highway 18. Dean started in construction building homes in Oregon with his father-in-law. He was married in 1954 to Joanne Hill, celebrating 63 years of marriage and 3 wonderful sons; Don, Dale and David. He started a construction company in Clear Lake in 1958. The boys grew up in the business and became partners with their father. Dean Snyder Construction has grown from a few employees to over 200 employees and has become one of the largest construction companies in the state. Dean always loved to go to the job sites and go to the office after retirement. He loved building construction toys etc. as a hobby.
He was truly a John Wayne fan, Iowa and Iowa State fan.
CLEAR LAKE | Dean Snyder liked to tell a story about himself and his beloved wife, Joanne.
He served on the board of Trustees 8 years at the United Methodist Church where he was a member. Dean was involved for 23 years in the Boy Scout program as cub master and scout leader. He was awarded an honorary Eagle Award on his 80th birthday. He built Pinewood Derby tracks and cooked chili for Troop 30 Chili Soup Suppers. He loved attending his children's and grandchildren's sporting events. He loved to attend the girls softball games and was known as “grandpa” to many, and famous for his ‘Bit O Honey' candy. He enjoyed hunting with his three sons and loved to hear the same stories from his great grandson, Evan.
In 1994 the Snyder Family purchased the Surf Ballroom and restored it to what it is today. Dean was known for his saying ‘if she liked to fish I would have bought her a fishing pole, but she liked to dance so I bought the Surf'
Dean received the Warren Coleman Award from the Lions club, Citizen of the Year Award presented by the Rotary Club, and the family was Grand Marshall in the 4th of July parade.
Dean is survived by his wife of 63 years Joanne Snyder, Clear Lake, Iowa; three sons Don (Jane) Snyder, Ames, Iowa, Dale (Kathy) Snyder, Clear Lake, Iowa and David (Vickie) Snyder, Clear Lake, Iowa; 10 grandchildren Ashley (Aaron) Butcher, Ankeny, Iowa, Andrew (Desirae) Snyder, Ankeny, Iowa, Alexis Snyder, Clear Lake, Iowa, Andrea Carney, Clear Lake, Iowa, Chelsy (Erick) Anderson, Clear Lake, Iowa, Tiana (Chris) Culler, Clear Lake, Iowa, Alece (Tim) Hall, Elmhurst, Illinois, Aria (Tyler) Behne, Mason City, Iowa, Jace Snyder, Clear Lake, Iowa and Annie Snyder, Des Moines, Iowa; 14 great grandchildren Ethan Butcher, Evan Snyder, James Culler, Levi Culler, Hudson Carney, Finn Carney, Laken Carney, William Pritchard, Kathryn Pritchard, Claire Anderson, Evie Anderson, Baby Anderson due in April, Brayson Behne and Charlotte Hall; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Dale. The family asks that friends join them at the Surf Ballroom to celebrate Dean's life immediately following the internment. Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, 101 N. 4th St., Clear Lake, Iowa, 641-357-2193. ColonialChapels.com
Dean Snyder remembered as Clear Lake legend who saved the Surf Ballroom
CLEAR LAKE | Dean Snyder liked to tell a story about himself and his beloved wife, Joanne.
"If she liked to fish, I would have bought her a fishing pole," he said. "But she liked to dance, so I bought the Surf."
Snyder, 87, founder of the Dean Snyder Construction Co. and whose family owns the Surf Ballroom, died Saturday.
Visitation is 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the United Methodist Church, Clear Lake. Funeral services are 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the church, followed by a public reception at the Surf Ballroom.
He is remembered for his sense of business, his sense of humor and his sense of community.
"He is a legend that has set the bar high for all of us," said Clear Lake Mayor Nelson Crabb. "He was a first-class family man, active in his church and in his community."
He was also a leader in the construction industry, Crabb said.
He started Dean Snyder Construction in 1958 with a few employees and saw it grow over the next 60 years to a workforce of over 200. It is one of the largest construction companies in the state.
Even in retirement, Snyder enjoyed going to job sites and stopping in at the office to get the latest on construction work.
He had a lifelong interest in Scouting and was presented with an honorary Eagle Scout award on his 80th birthday, the highest honor a Boy Scout can achieve.
In 1994, when the Surf Ballroom was in danger of closing, Snyder bought it and refurbished it so that Clear Lake would not lose one of its gems. "The town -- really the whole country needs it," he said at the time.
"He rescued it," Crabb said.
Clear Lake City Administrator Scott Flory said, "Dean was a consummate gentleman -- someone who felt a certain responsibility to give back to the community."
Jeff Nicholas, president of the nonprofit board that operates the Surf, said Snyder's humility was incredible. "He treated the biggest stars at Surf and the people who picked up the trash with the same respect," he said.
Also, said Nicholas, "To look to the character of a man, look at his family. His boys are hard-working and are respected all over the country."
Laurie Lietz, executive director of the Surf, said Snyder made a favorable impression on everyone whose lives he touched.
"All who met him had the utmost respect for his values, his love of family and his unwavering faith," she said.
Lietz said Snyder and his family saved the Surf in a time of great need. "They spent countless hours and dollars restoring the historic venue back to its original splendor," she said.
"Dean was well known for his hard work, honesty and integrity. He could be seen many times dancing the night away with his lovely wife, Joanne, during concerts at the Surf, especially the Sunday night Big Band dances," she said.
Tom Thoma, a former Globe Gazette employee and longtime volunteer at the Surf, said Snyder started his company from scratch and built it into a construction giant in North Iowa -- and saved a treasured landmark when he bought the Surf.
Thoma said Snyder was always gracious and humble when he attended events at the Surf as patrons thanked him for his generosity.
"His sense of humor was telling," said Thoma. "I'd ask him how he got in and he laughed, saying 'I know the owner.' Then he'd ask me how I got such a cushy job selling tickets, and I'd say, 'I know the owner.' He loved the give and take."
Thoma mentioned a lasting legacy of Snyder and his family.
"Dean, you made sure the music didn't die," he said.
John R. Stone
John R. Stone
December 31, 1946 - January 4, 2018
John R. Stone, 71, of Mason City passed away Thursday, January 4, 2018 at the Muse Norris Inpatient Unit Hospice of North Iowa.
A memorial service will be held 1:30 p.m. Monday, January 8, 2018 at Hogan-Bremer-Moore Colonial Chapel, 126 3rd Street NE, Mason City, Iowa with Chaplain Beverly Butler of Mercy Medical Center officiating. Inurnment will take place in Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery at a later date.
Memorials may be directed in care of John's family, they will then be donated in honor of John.
John Richard Stone was born on December 31, 1946 to John F. and Marjorie L. (Ziegler) Stone in Mason City. For many years John worked on the Rock Island Railroad. He then began working at A-1 Used Cars.
John was an active, dedicated member of the Cerro Gordo County Democratic Party. For some time he was the Chairman of the County Party. This passion brought John to meet many important members of the Democratic Party, and was invited to attend the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
After being asked his greatest wish, John replied, “I want people to come together, to work together for the common good, to ignore the little disagreements and focus on the greater shared values we all have. Only then can we do good in the world.”
Left to remember John are his brothers, Phillip Stone of Clear Lake, and Rob (Dena) Stone of Mason City; nieces and nephews, David Stone of Dubai, UAE, and Daniel Stone of Garner, Ashley (Erik) Wood of Mason City, and Holly (Keith) Messenger of Mason City; great-nieces and nephews, Sidney and Clare Wood, and Harper Messenger; as well as many cousins and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Marjorie; grandparents, Fred and Louise Stone and James and Allie Mae Ziegler; and a great-niece, Kenli Louise Messenger.
Hogan-Bremer-Moore Colonial Chapels. 126 3rd St NE, Mason City, IA. 641-423-2372. ColonialChapels.com.
John Stone legacy: Giving voice to those needing help in North Iowa
MASON CITY | John Stone is being remembered today as a loyal, hard-working Democrat whose goal in life was to try to help others.
Stone, 71, Cerro Gordo County Democratic chairman, died Thursday at the Muse-Norris Hospice In-Patient Unit.
Dean Genth, county Democratic vice chairman, said "What I will carry with me that I learned from John is that he always gave voice to those who needed help. That drove his political philosophy — meeting the needs of the most number of people.
"He knew that election results didn't always go the way he wanted them to, but he approached them like he approached life. He would always say, 'onward and upward,'" said Genth.
Randy Black, a fellow Democrat who worked with Stone on many Democratic Wing Ding fundraising events over the years, said, "He was a guy who told you straightforward what he thought. But he was a lot fun too. His mind was a file cabinet of trivia. He could tell you dates, he could tell you times, he could tell you places about political events from years ago.
"He truly cared about people and he was loved and liked by everyone because he wanted what was right for everyone."
Dr. Gary Swenson also reflected on Stone's thoughtfulness. "I think that John will always be remembered for the fact that his driving concern in this life was to better the lives of others," he said.
State Rep. Sharon Steckman, D-Mason City, reflected on Stone's dedication to party politics.
"For years, John took responsibility for running and planning county caucuses and he made sure our monthly meetings were focused and efficient," she said.
"During campaign season he was always looking for ways to get out the vote. I really appreciated his steadfast, strong support. John was a true patriot and a proud Democrat. He will be missed," said Steckman.
State Sen. Amanda Ragan said, "John was a good friend. He was dedicated to the Democratic Party for many years. He strongly supported the issues he believed in. His passion and advocacy will be missed."
Cerro Gordo County Treasurer Pat Wright said Stone was her representative on the County Compensation Board as he had been for her predecessor, Michael Grandon.
She said she and Grandon also worked closely with Stone in many county Democratic party functions. "He worked diligently to advance the Democratic Party in Cerro Gordo County and the state of Iowa," she said.
Jay Urdahl, former Cerro Gordo County supervisor, said, "John was a real foot soldier for the Democratic Party. There wasn't anything he wouldn't do for a candidate or the party. His loyalty set him apart from other people."
Urdahl said Stone worked so hard for Sen. John Kerry when Kerry ran for president in 2004 that many thought Stone might get a job in his administration had Kerry won.
A memorial service for Stone will be at 1:30 p.m. Monday at Hogan-Bremer Memorial Chapel.
Ralph Fredrick Schroeder
Ralph Fredrick Schroeder
February 13, 1919 - December 11, 2017
CLEAR LAKE | Ralph Fredrick Schroeder, 98, Clear Lake, IA, died December 11, 2017 at the Muse-Norris Hospice Inpatient Unit, Mason City, IA.
A memorial service will be held at 12:00 p.m. Saturday, January 6, 2018, at Galilean Lutheran Church 4454 255th St, Clear Lake, IA with the Rev. Scot McCluskey officiating. The service will be followed by a time of fellowship.
Ralph Fredrick Schroeder, a first generation American, was born February 13, 1919 in a parsonage of a Lutheran congregation in rural Dodge County, Nebraska. His father, an East German, had met his mother, an Englishwoman, in London, prior to going to the United States to attend college and seminary. After serving as a governess in Germany prior to World War I, his mother left Germany as an enemy alien on a neutral ship bound directly for the United States of America, and there they were married, eventually raising five children. Ralph always said how grateful he was that his parents surmounted incredible odds to come to the United States and create a successful family.
Ralph attended the University of Nebraska, graduating in 1942. During the war, Ralph applied for and received Conscientious Objector status and subsequently performed public aervice working under the American Friends on social service projects and in social institutions. These included a reform school in Maryland and welfare agency in St. Croix where part of his work was with a leper colony. While there, he married Betty Lefferdink and they served in various areas together. He spent his last months working in a hospital under the Church of the Brethren in Puerto Rico. Ralph and Betty raised 3 boys — Ralph, Reginald, and Randy.
Upon Ralph's return to Nebraska, he completed and received his Masters of Social Work at the University of Nebraska in 1948. His employment history began in Minnesota in the adoption field, then moved to Germany where he worked closing Lutheran relief centers. Upon his return to the United States he worked as Superintendent of the Lutheran Children's Home in Chicago. Later, he directed a family agency in Rockford, IL for 21 years providing Protestant Welfare Services. When a call came from his close friend, Reverend Murley Severtson to come to Clear Lake, IA and become Director of Social Services at Handicapped Village, Ralph and Betty packed up and moved. Ralph assumed the position of Administrator at Handicapped Village upon the death of the founder. He devoted his efforts to the establishment of outward bound residents, supervised apartment programs, the development of the North Iowa Transition Center in Mason City, and the building of the Group Home in Clear Lake that now bears his name. Retiring in 1984, Ralph and Betty remained in Clear Lake and he became involved in programs for the elderly through AARP for eight years and the development of Elderberries at Zion Lutheran Church. Ralph was also very involved in Lions Club and other local groups. He became a common sight riding his bike and/or walking his beloved dog Annie, around town.
Ralph is survived by his twin sister Florence Mayfield, of California. He is also survived by 3 sons and daughters-in-law and their families, as follows: Ralph and Deborah Schroeder of Holland, MI and their children, Matt and Shahna Schroeder of Washington, DC,; Joanna Schroeder and Ivan Stoilkovich of Malibu, CA; Maude Ashley and Pete Steggerda of Holland, MI; and Madeline Ashley of Chicago, IL., Reginald and Kathy Schroeder of Omaha, NE and their children, Ryan and Jacci Schroeder of Louisville, KY; Amanda and Ian Wurst of Erie, CO; and Michael Harley and Melissa Thomas of Des Moines, IA., Randy and Jean Schroeder of Holland, MI and their children; Cory and Tracey Schroeder of Hudsonville, MI; and Kelly and Justin Wendzel of Richland, MI.
Ralph is also survived by many great grandchildren who loved him, respected him, and had so much fun playing with their special Opa. They even taught him how to play with fidget spinners in the last few months of his life! He felt very blessed to recently visit with many of them. Their names are Amira, Ruan, Izac, Boden, Emma, Nora, Jacob, Addison, Mason, Lyric, Coleman, Brekan, Leyton, Jehnsen, Owen, Eloise, and Madeline. Another great-granddaughter, Rae Lucille is expected in April. And beautiful great-granddaughter, Stella Gayle, greeted Ralph as he arrived in Heaven.
In addition, he will be missed by his extended Clear Lake family including all the Severtson's, Deb and Jack Amble, Jo Greenlee and family, Bob Ingersoll, and another important family in his life, the Sorensen's.
Memorial Donations can be made to: American Friends Service Committee 1501 Cherry Street Philadelphia, PA 19102 or online at afsc.org Please note that your donation is in honor of Ralph F. Schroeder.
Group B Strep Awareness International 11 El Dorado Court Pomona, CA 91766 or use this online link to view and donate at the Memorial Page. gbsi.me/RalphBSchroeder Please note that your donation is in memory of Ralph F. Schroeder and in honor of his great-granddaughter, Stella Gayle Schroeder.
Well done, good and faithful servant.
Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, 101 N. 4th St., Clear Lake, IA 50428. 641-357-2193. ColonialChapels.com.