Author Archives: Steve Brown

Karen Schwarz

Karen Schwarz, the daughter of Otto and Florence (Voelker) Olesen, was born October 23, 1944 in Charles City, Iowa and departed this life October 15, 2019 at the Mercy Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. She lived her life to the age 74 years, 11 months and 22 days.

Karen grew up in Charles City and graduated from the Charles City High School in 1962. She later attended Hamilton Business College in Mason City, Iowa.

On September 5, 1964, Karen Olesen was united in marriage to Ron Schwarz in Charles City. Two children, Tony and Amy, were born to this union. The family made their home in Boone, Iowa where Karen raised her children and worked many years as a legal secretary, retiring in 2006. Karen and Ron were later divorced and Karen continued to live in Boone. Karen was working at a lounge in Boone when she met Gordon Kanke. They struck up a relationship and later Karen sold her home in Boone and she and Gordy moved to Hartley, Iowa where they made their home together. In 2015, Karen and Gordy moved to their present home in Jefferson.

Karen is survived by her longtime partner in life, Gordy Kanke of Jefferson, children; Tony (Mila) Schwarz of West Des Moines, Iowa and Amy (Brian) Strable of Ankeny, Iowa, a granddaughter, Jenna Strable, three brothers; Richard and wife, Marcia, Olesen and Eldon and wife, Beverley, Olesen, both of Charles City, Iowa and Jim and wife, Annette, Olesen of Albert Lea, Minnesota, a sister, Evelynn Zack of Downers Grove, Illinois and Gordy’s family Bill (Lori) Kanke of St. Joseph, Missouri and their children; Ethan (Chelsea) Kanke, Matthew Kanke and Phillip Kanke and Brenda (Greg) Poole of Delaware and their children; Sara and Dayle Poole. She was preceded in death by her parents.

A time of remembrance was held on Saturday, October 26, 2019, at the Brown Funeral Home in Jefferson.

Joyce Ann Spenla

Mass of the Christian Burial for Joyce Ann Spenla, 88, of Fairfield, PA., formerly of Rockwell City, will be held on Friday at 10:30 A.M. at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lohrville with burial in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery. Mrs. Spenla passed away August 15th at Fairfield, PA.

Joyce was born August 29, 1930 in Rockwell City, Iowa the daughter of the late Harley and Margaret Olson Horstman. She was married to Leo James Spenla for 53 years, serving as a Marine wife with four children for 20 years.
Joyce worked throughout the years as a phone operator, bookkeeper and retired from Herff Jones Yearbooks in Gettysburg after 19 years of service. She enjoyed service to her family, helping… as a Girl Scout Leader, reading, gardening and sewing. She was also very active in her church.
Mrs. Spenla is survived by a daughter, Cynde Overholtzer of Fairfield, PA, a son, Mike Spenla and his wife Patty of Jacksonville, TX, a daughter-in-law, Sheila Spenla of Springfield, MO, a sister-in-law, Eva Horstman of Des Moines, Iowa, 9 grandchildren, 22 great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Leo J. Spenla, two sons; Mark Spenla, Steven Jon Spenla, a brother, Bill Horstman and a sister, Lois Jean Ullman.

 

Merle Day

 

Merle L. Day, the son of Glenn and Jean (Campbell) Day, was born February 10, 1942 near Lake City, Iowa and departed this life October 3, 2019 at his home in Lohrville, Iowa. He lived his life to the age of 77 years, 7 months and 23 days.

 

Merle attended country school and later graduated from the Lake City High School. On October 27, 1963, Merle Day was united in marriage to Sylvia Garrett in Lake City. Merle and Sylvia made their home in Lake City and Merle worked at several jobs in the area. Later, they moved to Lohrville. Merle entered the United States Air Force in December of 1966. While stationed in the states, Sylvia joined Merle and they lived on base at Air Force bases in Texas and Washington. When Merle was transferred to an Air Force base in Korea, Sylvia lived with her parents. Merle received an honorable discharge in December of 1970 and he and Sylvia returned to Lohrville. Merle worked at the Knapp Standard Service Station for over 17 years and later drove trucks for the American Ready-mix concrete plant for 10 years and retired in 2008. Merle was a quiet person and enjoyed playing cards.

 

Merle was a member of the Methodist Church and the Lohrville American Legion and V.F.W.

 

He is survived by his wife, Sylvia, uncle and aunt, Dan and Kathryn Schamel, sister-in-law, Diana Garrett, nephew, Bryon Dudley and niece, Rachel Aems and several cousins. Those who proceed him in death were his parents, father and mother-in-law, Lloyd and Lois Garrett, brother-in-law, Dennis Garrett and sisters-in-law, Sally Dudley and Sue Ann Garrett.

 

Graveside services were held at 1:30 P.M. on Monday, October 7, 2019, at the Evergreen Cemetery near Lohrville with Pastor Lorinda Hoover officiating. Military Honors were conducted by the    Offutt Air Force Honors Detail.

 

Casket bearers were Terry Schamel, Tim Schamel, Jacob Schamel, Geno Grade, Paul Sievers and Jim Rossmanith.

 

Jerry Geisler

Mass of the Christian Burial for Jerry Geisler, 69, of Churdan will be held Saturday, September 28, 2019, at 10:30 A.M. at St. Columbkille Catholic Church in Churdan with burial made in St. Patrick Catholic Cemetery with full military honor conducted by the Camp Dodge Honor Detail and assisted by the Churdan American Legion. Visitation will be held from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. Friday at the church with was Vigil for the Deceased at 6:30 P.M. Jerry is survived by his wife, Deb, his mother, Mary Geisler of Churdan, children; Todd and his wife, Angela of Loveland, CO., Heidi Geisler of Ankeny and Kirk and his wife, Gina and of Jefferson, brothers; Pat (Marice), John (Marion) and Andy and sister, Anne (Joe) Minnehan, all of Churdan.
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             Eugene Jerome Geisler, Jerry as he was known to all, the son of Edward and Mary (Coan Connelly) Geisler Jr., was born February 28, 1950 at Carroll, Iowa and departed this life September 25, 2019 at his home in Churdan, Iowa. He lived his life to 69 years, 6 months and 27 days.
           Jerry attended and graduated from the Paton-Churdan High School in 1968. Jerry worked for many years at the White Phillip 66 service station in Churdan. In August of 1968, Jerry joined the Army National Guard and served for 6 years with the Jefferson National Guard. On June 5, 1971, Jerry Geisler was united in marriage to Debra Vaughn at St. Columbkille Catholic Church in Churdan. Three children were born to this union. Jerry and Deb made their home in Churdan and Jerry worked as a driver for FC-Coop for over forty years; retiring in 2015.
           Jerry was a member of St. Columbkille Catholic Church and also the Churdan Lions Club and the Churdan American Legion- Harry English Post #198. Jerry enjoyed spending time at his cabin in the timber and hunting and fishing. He was known to everyone as JG and always made everyone laugh. He looked forward to trips to Colorado each fall. It could be said that Jerry lived his life to the fullest.
           Jerry is survived by his wife, Deb, his 100 year old mother, Mary of Churdan, c hildren; Todd and his wife, Angela and their sons; TeJay and Zack of Loveland, CO., Heidi Geisler of Ankeny and Kirk and his wife, Gina and their sons; Jeremiah, Justin, Jordon, Michael and Kolton of Jefferson, brothers; Pat (Marice), John (Marion) and Andy, sister, Anne (Joe) Minnehan and several nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews. Those who preceded him in death were his father, sister, Mary Sylvene Hatfield and two brothers; Dan and David Geisler.
               Mass of the Christian Burial was held Saturday, September 28, 2019, at 10:30 A.M. at St. Columbkille Catholic Church with Father John Gerald officiating. Greg Carey served as Cantor with the church choir and Lois Last was the organist. Burial was made in St. Patrick Catholic Cemetery with full military honors conducted by the Camp Dodge Honor Detail and assisted by the Churdan American Legion.
              Serving as Honorary Casket Bearers were Greg Geisler, Jason Hatfield, Spencer Geisler, Johnny Geisler, Jerad Mount and Spencer Vaughn. Visitation was held from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. Friday at the church with Vigil for the Deceased at 6:30 P.M. .

Barbara Hansen

Barbara Hansen, the daughter of Clarence and Mary (Fields) Wilbur, was born April 1, 1930 on the family farm near Paton, Iowa and departed this life September 19, 2019 at the Greene County Medical Center in Jefferson, Iowa. She lived her life to the age of 89 years, 5 months and 18 days.

Barb attended and graduated from the Paton High School in 1947. On February 18, 1950, Barb was united in marriage to John Robert “Bob” Hansen at St. Brigid Parsonage in Grand Junction, Iowa. They made their home in Paton and in 1952, Bob entered the U.S. Army. Barb later joined Bob while he served in Georgia. He was discharged in 1954 and they returned to Paton. Barb worked several years at the Community State Bank in Paton and later at Home Agency Insurance where she was a licensed agent and also a tax preparer.

Barb was a member of St. Brigid Catholic Church in Grand Junction. During her life, Barb took charge of organizing funeral dinners at her church and later at the Paton Community Room.  This dedication spanned for more than 50 years starting in the 1950s.  In earlier years, Barb enjoyed gardening. She collected dolls and many, many Beanie Babies.  Barb and Bob always had a dog.

Bob passed away in 2008 and Barb continued to make her home in Paton and worked at the Home Agency. In April of this year, Barb moved to The Gardens Retirement Community in Jefferson.

Barb is survived by several nieces and nephews, a brother-in-law Charles Harmon and many other relatives. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband and a sister, Betty Thomsen.

Funeral services were held Saturday, September 21, 2019 at 11:00 A.M. at the Brown Funeral Home in Jefferson with Father John Gerald officiating and Peter Thomsen gave readings.. Burial was made in the Paton Township Cemetery. A recorded musical selection, “On Eagle’s Wings” was played at the service.

Serving as casket bearers were Larry Fatka, Paul Fields, Allen Klocksiem, David Fields, Don Fields and Jerry John Fields.

Robert “Bob” Owens

Funeral services for Robert “Bob” Owens, 92, of Jefferson will be held Tuesday, Sept. 17th, at 10:30 am at the Central Christian Church in Jefferson with burial in the Jefferson City Cemetery with full Military Honors conducted by the Camp Dodge Honor Detail and the Jefferson American Legion & V.F.W.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 pm Monday at the Brown Funeral Home in Jefferson.
Survivors include his wife, Janet, daughter Gayle Roberts of Clarion and son James of Marshalltown.
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            Robert “Bob” Owens, the son of John Weston and Mabel (Hanson) Owens, was born, along with his twin sister, on January 14, 1927 in Jefferson, Iowa and departed this life September 12, 2019 at his home in Jefferson. He lived a full life to the age of 92 years, 7 months and 28 days.

Bob and his twin sister were the youngest of ten children born to the Owens family. The children were raised by their mother after their father died in an automobile accident when the twins were one year old. Bob graduated from the Jefferson High School in 1945 and was drafted into the U.S. Army. He trained and served as a military policeman in Germany until his discharge in November of 1946 with the rank of Corporal. Following his discharge he returned home from Germany with his childhood friends, Paul Patter and Robert Calvert.

Bob returned to Jefferson and was employed at Baller Auto Supply. Bob was united in marriage to Janet Miller of Cooper on November 6, 1949. Three children, Michael, Gayle and James were born to this union. In 1953, Bob joined the Sieg Auto Supply Company as a parts salesman and the Owens family made their home in Carroll, Estherville, Clarion and Fort Dodge. After 32 years with Seig, Bob and Janet returned to Jefferson.

Bob was a member of the Central Christian Church in Jefferson and also a member of the Jefferson American Legion and V.F.W. He volunteered as a greeter at the Mahanay Bell Tower for 14 years. In 1992, Bob became member of the Iowa Lincoln Highway Association and helped organize the Greene County chapter. He received the Meritorious Achievement Award from the Lincoln Highway Association in 2008. Bob and Janet have one of the original concrete Lincoln Highway markers in their front of their home in Jefferson. In later years, Bob could be seen driving his 1929 Ford Model A through Jefferson on the Lincoln Highway.

According to Bob, he was airplane crazy from the time he could look up. When he would see an airplane overhead, he would jump on his bike to ride out to the airstrip. A child of the Great Depression, he spent his free time building model airplanes. After his return from WWII, Bob started taking flying lessons at the Jefferson Airport. His first solo flight was in 1948. While living in Estherville, Bob and his friend Les Duoos built their own airplane; a single-seat 1964 Corben Baby Ace Model C. Bob and his brother-in-law, Melvin Miller, had their own private 1,300 foot runway at the Miller farm near Cooper. Bob enjoyed collecting literature and photographs detailing the history of powered flight, aviation memorabilia, 1920s records and a phonograph.

Bob is survived by his wife Janet, daughter Gayle (Mitchell) Roberts of Clarion, son James (Sonya) of Marshalltown, three grandsons; Michael Owens Jr. of Decorah, Edward Owens of Alaska, Robbie Baretich of Colorado Springs, CO. and Scott Lyons of Winona, MN., granddaughter Allison Rasmus of Belmond, six great-grandchildren, sisters; Norma Huffman and twin sister Bonnie Duncan, nieces, nephews and  relatives. Preceding him is death were his parents, son Mike Sr. in 1996, brothers; Kenneth, Eldon and Leland, sisters; Treva Curry, Lois Beeson, Katherine Vincent, Gwenyth Owens, Phyllis Powell Henrikson and brother-in-law Melvin Miller.

Funeral services were held Tuesday, September 17, 2019, at 10:30 A.M. at the Central Christian Church in Jefferson with Rev. Michael Armstrong officiating with Julie Cornelius delivering stories of Bob’s life. A reading of the poem “Solo” was read. Musical selections, “Going Home” and “On Eagle Wings” were song by Gary Haupert and accompanied by Pianist, Rita Rasmussen. Burial was made in the Jefferson City Cemetery with full Military Honors conducted by the Camp Dodge Honors Detail and the Jefferson American Legion and V.F.W.

Serving as casket bearers were Don Labate, James Ure, Dean Zenor, Dale Higgins, David Kingery, Chuck Elliott, John Fitzsimmons and Mark Lykke