Author Archives: Steve Brown

Eleanor Rydings O’Neill

Our dear mother, Eleanor, peacefully passed on November 28, 2017. A memorial service celebrating her 93 years of life was held at 2:00 pm, Saturday, December 2nd at McGilley & Hoge Chapel, Overland Park, KS. Visitation was held at the Brown Funeral Home in Jefferson from 1:00 to 1:30 P.M. , Monday, December 4th followed by burial next to her husband, William and her daughters, Kathleen and Ellen in the Jefferson City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Kansas City Musical Club, c/o Treasurer Chris Evans Hands, 10206 Edelweiss Circle, Merriam, KS 66203.

Eleanor was born March 5, 1924 in Jefferson, IA, the first child of Milo and Gladys Rydings. She had a carefree childhood and thrived even during the stressful period of the Great Depression. She demonstrated a strong attraction to her studies and appreciation for the arts, particularly music. While in high school, she learned to play the alto sax and gained such proficiency that she travelled to Kansas City and won a National Award for her playing.

After high school, Eleanor decided to pursue her interest in music by attending the Kansas City Conservatory of Music. She was a proper, yet adventurous young woman, which she demonstrated by accepting a blind date with a man described to her as a “star” high school football player, against her better judgement, expecting a brawny, uncultured behemoth. Instead the love of her life, William O’Neill, at 5”6” and 120 lbs picked her up and, if not immediately sweeping her off her feet, managed to quickly receive a piece of her heart that grew into a lifelong union of their two souls. During this most tumultuous period of total war, Bill was drafted and Eleanor, despite parental reluctance on both sides, accepted his proposal of marriage. They were married in secret with Bill racing the paper boy to seize the morning paper, which included their wedding bands, before it was delivered to his parents, a race the “star” athlete lost.

War and the draft led them to Biloxi, MS, where they lived a life of romance during a most unstable time. Bill was assigned overseas in the spring of 1945, but not before Eleanor conceived her first child, William II. Billy was born in December, while her husband was still stationed on Guam. In the spring of 1946, Bill returned and their second child, Ellen was born in February, 1947. Kathleen and then Corinne soon followed, so that by the year 1951 Eleanor became fully engaged in raising her young family.

These first 10 years of marriage after the war found the family moving many times while Bill pursued his career in transportation. Eleanor found herself making a home for her children in 7 separate houses during those years, which included the birth of her fifth child, Kevin, until the family finally found more permanent roots in Independence, MO. Here Eleanor moved into what she described as her favorite home on 615 N. Delaware St., where we all saw and greeted President Truman strolling from the Truman Home to the Truman Library early in the morning. Eleanor celebrated the move with her sixth child, Brien, born in 1958. She settled into the challenge and routine of raising 6 young children ranging in age from 12 to infant for the next few years until, at the age of 42, she gave life to Sean, her youngest.

Not done with life or challenges, Eleanor decided to put to use the stenographer and typing skills she had learned over 25 years earlier, and went to work for Macy’s as a member of the typing pool. Her skills and intelligence were soon recognized as she quickly became the secretary for the downtown KC Macy’s store manager.

A marriage of over 65 years can have some rocky and turbulent patches. Eleanor and Bill’s union was not exempt from rough seas and, at one point, they were divorced. But Eleanor loved Bill so much, that, with some reform on his part, she accepted his second proposal of marriage and they eloped again, this time unbeknownst to their children, to Oklahoma, where they reaffirmed their marriage vows.

The last 25 years of their lives together were their happiest. They found a gentle joy in their day to day activities, and, most rewardingly, in the lives of their grand and great grandchildren that their children presented them. After her husband’s death, Eleanor lived contentedly the last 5 years with her daughter, Corinne, and son-in-law, Randy Yeager until a recent hospitalization.

Eleanor was preceded in death by her parents, Milo and Gladys Rydings, her husband, William James O’Neill and her daughters, Ellen O’Neill and Kathleen O’Neill. She is survived by her children, William James II (Carolyn), Corinne (Randy) Yeager, Kevin, Brien (Lisa), and Sean (Teanna); her 14 grandchildren, Susan, Scott, Alicia, Sara, Brent, Ashley, Amy, Timothy, Jennifer, Jessica, Jeffrey, Reilly, Aidan, and Alec; and her 16 great grandchildren, Jackson, Benjamin, Evelyn, Jane, Gage, Sam, Grace, Carson, Kinsley, Laney, Stella, Liza, Lucille, Lilli, Charlotte and Caitlin. She is also survived by her sisters, Marie Smith and Beverly Batcheler and her brother, Herbert Rydings.

All of us are so thankful for the life that our mom, grandma, and great grandma gave us and the life of love and respect, for everyone, that she taught us to live.

Donald E. Bishop

Donald (Donny) Eugene Bishop
1948 – 2017

Donny Bishop, the son of Jack and Betty (Wright) Bishop, was born December 15, 1948 at Jefferson, Iowa and departed this life November 19, 2017 at the Greene County Medical Center in Jefferson, Iowa. He lived his life to the age of 68 years, 11 months and 19 days.
Donny attended school in Grand Junction and later attended Taxidermy School in Janesville, Wisconsin. On August 5, 1967, Donny was united in marriage to Vicki Thornburg in Jefferson. They lived in Grand Junction and raised their family. They were later divorced.
In August of 1989, Donny met Nancy (Genco) Kinnan and on March 29, 2002, they were married at Donny’s brother’s home in Huntington, Arkansas.
Donny grew up in Grand Junction and loved carpentry work. He had a passion for fishing, hunting and farm life. After taxidermy school, Donny would work summer jobs and take the winters off to do taxidermy. He worked many jobs during his life including Wolterman Construction, Tri-County Lumber, Parker Wagons and as plant manager for a American Ready mix. He later worked for the Iowa D.O.T. out of Jefferson from 1993 to 2011. In 2011, Donny suffered a stroke which forced him to retire but he continued to farm and enjoyed gardening. Donny never met a child he couldn’t love like his own. He believed there was good in all people and with hard work and faith in God, anything is possible.
Donny was a past member of both the Grand Junction and Jefferson Fire Department.
Donny is survived by his wife, Nancy, four children; Steve (Judy) Bishop of Carroll, Tim (Echo) Bishop of Missouri, Lori Bishop (Mike Webb) of Herndon, and Kristy (Rick) Broadston of Pleasant Hill, 9 grand-children, 15 great-grandchildren, a brother Gary (Ellen) Bishop of Jefferson and three sisters; Julie (Ron) Vickers of Grand Junction, Sandy (Larry) Chunning of Fountain, CO. and Jean (Dave) Vickers of Grand Junction. Those who preceded him in death were his parents, a brother Dennis Bishop and a granddaughter Grace Ann Broadston.
A celebration of Donny’s life was held December 3, 2017 from 2:00 to 4:00 P.M. at the Pleasant Hill Church southeast of Jefferson.
Honorary bearers were Charles Gunn (Bug), Arthur Matherne, Robert Hebert, Tom Thorpe, Casey LeBlanc, Gary Miller, Aaron Cortez, Dick Moranville, Mark Clouse, Daryl Frickey, Steven Griffin, Jake Tonsfeldt, Makenna Broadston, Duwert Reese, Jerry Gilbertson and Daryl Bishop.

Viola Lauver

Viola Marie Lauver
1920 – 2017

Viola Lauver, the daughter of Guy and Ida (Stream) Kinsman, was born July 5, 1920 at her family’s farm home north of Churdan, Iowa and departed this life October 17, 2017 at Friendship Haven Care Center in Fort Dodge, Iowa. She lived a full life to the age of 97 years, 3 months and 12 days.

Viola attended and graduated from the Churdan High School in 1937. During her schooling and following her graduation, Viola worked cleaning homes in the Churdan area. On October 18, 1941, Viola Kinsman was united in marriage to Delbert Lauver at the Little Brown Church in the Vale at Nashua, Iowa. A daughter, Shirley Mae, was born to this union. Viola and Delbert made their home in Fort Dodge where they raised their daughter and Viola worked various jobs including at a dry cleaner. She is best remembered by her family as the Green Stamp redemption lady at the Boston Store in Fort Dodge. After their retirement, Viola and Delbert moved to Bentonville, Arkansas. Delbert passed away in 2004 and Viola returned to Fort Dodge where she has been a resident of Friendship Haven for the past 13 years.
Viola is survived by a sister, Rexine Johnson of Churdan and nephews and nieces. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, daughter and two sisters; Ava Kinsman and Atha Tasler.

Funeral services were held at 10:30 AM Saturday, October 21, 2017 at the First Baptist Church in Churdan with Pastor Bobby Palmer officiating and assisted by Rev. Jennifer Osheim-Owen, Spiritual Care Coordinator from Friendship Haven. Burial was made in the Highland Township Cemetery at Churdan. Musical selections at the service were played by organist, Rochelle Guess Fagg.

Serving as casket bearers were grandnephews; Doug Johnson, Larry Johnson, Brent Black, Kevin Black, Ron Tasler and Kim Tasler.

Lawrence Geisler

Lawrence J. “Larry” Geisler, age 84, died on September 11, 2017 at Methodist Hospital in Des Moines. Lawrence Jerome “Larry” Geisler, the son of Edward Geisler Sr. and Agnes Maloy Geisler, was born August 3, 1933. He attended a country school for eight years and was graduated from Churdan High School. He received degrees from Creighton and Iowa State Universities and taught for 25 years in the Marshalltown School System where he was also the head of the English Department in grades 7-12. He was involved in three summer institutes at Harvard University and was on the instructional staff of the institutes two of the three years. He had also taught at Benson High School in Omaha before moving to Marshalltown in 1964. He was one of the people instrumental in reviving the Iowa state spelling contest in 1976.

He was a frequent presenter at conventions of both the Iowa and National Council of Teachers of English and was cited twice for distinguished teaching. After taking early retirement, he returned to his boyhood home near Churdan in Greene County to live.

He was active in church, Community Theater, and political work in both Marshall and Greene counties. He served six years on the pastoral council of the Sioux City diocese, was a parish council chairman, and gave workshops in reading Scripture aloud in several churches. He was a Holy Land pilgrim at Easter of 1990 and received a life membership in the Knights of Columbus.

He played stage roles in three community theaters: Marshalltown, Greene County Players, and the Carroll Community Theater. He led literary discussions at the Churdan library for ten years and presented numerous programs in storytelling and poetry readings for organizations. A story be told on Des Moines WHO radio was a direct cause of a memorial bandstand being built in the city park in Churdan. In 1996, he received the Governor’s volunteerism award for Greene County and was the first recipient of the Greene County Impact Award in 2010, given for extensive volunteer work throughout the county.

As a grade school student, he was twice the county oral reading winner and that success continued throughout his life. He was frequently invited to read at weddings, funerals, anniversaries and many other occasions.

He was preceded in death by his parents, a brother Edward Geisler, Jr., two sisters, Lucille Kersey and Hazel Geisler, a brother-in-law, Kenneth Kersey, and two nephews, Daniel and David Geisler.

He is survived by nine nieces and nephews, Sandra, Donald, and Kathleen Kersey, Sylvene Hatfield, Anne Minnehan, and Patrick, John, Jerry, and Andy Geisler. He is also survived by a sister-in-law Mary Geisler, and two additional generations of nieces and nephews.

Mass of the Christian burial was held at 10:30 A.M. Saturday, September 16, 2017, at St. Columbkille Church in Churdan with burial in St. Patrick’s Catholic Cemetery, west of Churdan. Musical selections were sung by Greg Carey, Sheilah Pound and the church choir and accompanied by organist, Lois Last.

Serving as casket bearers were Greg Geisler, John Geisler Jr., Kirk Geisler, Spencer Geisler, Jerad Mount and Travis Venteicher. Honorary bearers were Roger LaVoie, Wayne Lautner, Dennis Hardy, Connor Juergensen, Cale Juergensen, Dan Borkowski, Justin Stream, Gene Blanshan, John Hunt and Richard McBride.

Visitation was held on Friday from 5 to 7 P.M. at the church with a Knight of Columbus Rosary at 6:15 P.M. and a prayer service at 6:30 P.M.

Suggestions for memorials are the American Lung Association or the Churdan Public Library at Churdan, IA. Communications to the family may be sent to either of two nieces, Sandra Kersey at Box 213, Churdan IA, 50050 or Sylvene Hatfield, at 410 140th Street, also of Churdan.

Sandi White

Sandra “Sandi” White, the daughter of Don and Mary (Underberg) Schleisman, was born February 22, 1943 at Carroll, Iowa and departed this life September 10, 2017 at the Regency Care Center in Jefferson, Iowa. She lived her life to the age of 74 years, 6 months and 18 days.
Sandi graduated from Kuemper High School in Carroll in 1960. She worked at St. Anthony’s Hospital during and following high school. On November 23, 1963, Sandra Schleisman was united in marriage to Jerry White at St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Carroll. Sandi and Jerry made their home in Churdan and three children were born to this union; Steven, John and Stacie.
As well as being a devoted wife, mother and grandmother, Sandi worked outside of the home and was very active in her church and community. Sandi was on the Churdan City Council for several years and served one term as mayor. She was a member of the Community Betterment Council, the Greene Co. Area Development Commission, the Paton-Churdan Booster Club and Churdan Business Club. She coached little league as well as coached cheerleading at PC/JSPC in the late 80’s. Sandi was a member of St. Columbkille Catholic Church, the Catholic Daughters of America and Rosary Society. She was bookkeeper at White’s Service Station. She was a night dispatcher for Greene County L.E.C. and then became the County Sheriff’s secretary; working 21 years in all. Sandi wrote for the Churdan Reporter (Churdan News) and for the Advocate newspaper in Rockwell City. Sandi was a longtime breast cancer survivor being first diagnosed in 2002. Sandi’s greatest joys were her grandchildren and her faith.
Sandi is survived her husband, Jerry, children; Steven of Churdan, John and his wife, Aileen, and John’s children; Rachel and Noah of Omaha and Stacie Croghan and her husband, Brian, and their children; Jessica and Taylor of Templeton, a brother, Jim Schleisman of Farnhamville and nieces and nephews. Those who preceded her in death were her parents, a brother Don Schleisman Jr., a sister Jan Wiskus and father & mother-in-law, Earl and Doris White.
Mass of the Christian burial was held at 10:30 A.M. Thursday, September 14, 2017 at St. Columbkille Catholic Church in Churdan with Father Jeff Schleisman officiating. Burial was made in Highland Cemetery in Churdan. A prayer service was held at 7:00 P.M. Wednesday evening at the Brown Funeral Home in Churdan.
Serving as casket bearers were Jerry Wiskus, Anthony Minnehan, John Geisler, Jeff Schleisman, Ed Gross and John Shoemaker.