Author Archives: Steve Brown

Gary Ohlinger

Gary Franklin Ohlinger
1954 – 2017

Gary was born the son of Owen (Bud) and Inez (Sporrer) Ohlinger on January 13, 1954 at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Carroll and passed from this life on September 7, 2017 at Regency Park Care Center in Carroll. He lived his life to the age of 63 years, 8 months and 4 days.
Complications occurred at Gary’s birth which led to cerebral palsy that left him without the ability to speak or walk. Inez and Bud cared for Gary until he was eight when it was necessary for Gary to become a resident at Woodward State Hospital. When Gary was older, he became a resident of New Hope in Carroll and later, Opportunity Living in Lake City. In 1999, he moved to the Regency Park Care Center in Carroll where he lived until his death. Gary was gentle soul even with his disabilities who found joy in simple things.
Gary is survived by his sister, Joyce Clawson and her husband, Greg, of Ankeny and nieces; Jill (Mike) Reyes, Sarah (Chad) Burgess and Ann (Brian) Tiernan. He was preceded in death by his parents.
A Catholic Memorial Service was held at 10:30 A.M. on Monday, September 11, 2017 at the Brown Funeral Home in Churdan with Father Jeff Schleisman officiating. Burial was made in St. Patrick Catholic Cemetery west of Churdan.

Paul Schmitt

Paul C. Schmitt, the son of John and Mary (Grace) Schmitt was born October 10, 1928 at Waterloo, Iowa and departed this life August 16, 2017 at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. He lived his life to the age of 88 years, 10 months and 6 days.
Paul started school in Marble Rock, Iowa and after his parents moved near Paton, he attended Dawson Country School. His parents then moved to a farm near Adaza and Paul graduated from Lohrville High School in 1946. Paul farmed with his father until he entered the U.S. Army. He served in Korea and was awarded the Korean Service Medal and four Bronze Stars. He was discharged from the service in 1952 and returned to work with his father.
On August 21, 1954, Paul Schmitt was united in marriage to Patricia Richtsmeier at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Wesley, Iowa. Six children were born to this union. After their marriage, Paul started farming on his own and presently resides on a Century Farm which has been in the Grace family since 1895. Paul was a well-respected farmer who enjoyed farming with his sons.
Paul was a member of St. Columbkille and St. Patrick Catholic Churches.
Paul is survived by his wife, Pat, a daughter, Kathleen Schmitt of Carroll, five sons and their spouses; Charles (Linda) of Lohrville, Anthony (Marty) of Des Moines, Kenneth (Angie) of Carroll, William (Janelle) of Alleman, and Steven (Liisa) of Minneapolis,
Minnesota, 12 grandchildren; Kelly Schmitt, Brittany Sickels, Stacey Netz, Stephen Schmitt, Britni Hubbard, Bryce Schmitt, Morgan Stipe, Devan Loew, Taylor Loew, Erik Schmitt, Lukas Schmitt, and Patrik Schmitt, 9 great-grandchildren and two sisters; Helen Babcock of Sioux Rapids, Iowa and Theresa Ward of Papillion, Nebraska. He was preceded in death by his parents.
Mass of the Christian burial was held at 2:00 P.M. Saturday, August 19, 2017, from St. Columbkille’s Catholic Church in Churdan with Father Lynn Bruch officiating. Burial was made in St. Patrick’s Catholic Cemetery in Cedar Township, west of Churdan. Serving as organist was Lois Last and cantor was Greg Carey with the St. Columbkille choir. Military rites were conducted by the Churdan American Legion with Taps being played by Paul’s nephew, Tom Ward.
Serving as casket bearers were Stephen Schmitt, Erik Schmitt, Lukas Schmitt, Patrik Schmitt, Bryce Schmitt, Tom Sickels, Zach Netz and Tony Hubbard. Honorary bearers were Kelly Schmitt, Brittany Sickels, Stacey Netz, Britni Hubbard, Morgan Stipe, Devan Loew and Taylor Loew.

Janice Tilley

Janice Tilley, the daughter of Joseph and Libbie (Korsa) Urban, was born September 1, 1930, at home in Elkhorn Township in Webster County, Iowa. She passed from this life August 14, 2017, at her home in Churdan, Iowa. She lived her life to the age of 86 years, 11 months, and 14 days.
Janice was educated at Tapper No. 7 Country School and Otho High School. Until she started kindergarten, she spoke only Bohemian. Since a small child, she shared her musical talents with family, friends, and communities.
On October 29, 1947, Janice Urban was united in marriage to Raymond A. Tilley at the Methodist Church Parsonage in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Four children were born to this union. Raymond and Janice lived and farmed east of Churdan for 45 years and moved to their present home in Churdan in 1993. Raymond passed away October 31, 1995, and Janice continued to make her home in Churdan until her death.
Janice was an active member of the Churdan United Methodist Church, a member of the United Methodist Women, served as chairman of the funeral and beef dinner committees for many years, and served as organist for both the Churdan and Paton Methodist Churches. Janice was a past member of the Paton-Churdan Activities and Music Boosters, a member of the Bohemian Hall, played drums with the Town and Country Band, and was an active volunteer of the Churdan Public Library.
Janice especially enjoyed gardening, music, sewing, and cooking for family. Holidays found her cooking for up to 60 people. She rarely missed activities involving her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. She loved taking an active part in the farming operation, including driving tractors and trucks. She also enjoyed being an active member of her church serving God wherever needed.
Janice is survived by her four children and their spouses; Marilyn (Larry) Detwiler of Des Moines, Phyllis (Mike) Minnihan of Churdan, Dennis (Marilyn) Tilley of Churdan, and David (Carman) Tilley of Jefferson. She is also survived by 13 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren, and a sister, Josephine (Leonard) Jondle of Promise City, Iowa. Those who preceded her in death were her parents, husband, brother, Eugene Urban, and sisters, Frances Volf and a twin sister, Jenny Urban.
Funeral services were held at 10:30 A.M. on Saturday, August 19, 2017, from the Churdan United Methodist Church with Rev. David Arulnathan officiating. Burial was made in the Highland Township Cemetery in Churdan. Serving as piannist was Lori Anderson; Soloists Doyle Carlson and Laura Minnihan sang musical selections “On Eagle’s Wings”, “The Lost Chord”, and “Amazing Grace”.
Serving as casket bearers were her grandchildren; Anneliese Detwiler, Jennifer Weeks, John Minnihan, Shea Minnihan, Kelly Minnihan, Mary Jo Koch, Lori Judge, Kimberly Stephenson, Tami Tilley, Stacy Hardaway, Jacque Cunningham, Travis Tilley, and Megan Walker.

Rita Rhoades, 88, of Jefferson

Rita Clare Minnihan Rhoades was born on June 26, 1929, daughter of James Arthur Minnihan and Helen Clare Shaw Minnihan. She grew up on the ancestral farm near Jefferson, Iowa and attended country schools in Bristol Township and later graduated from Jefferson High School in 1947.
Rita attended Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa for one year, then worked as a bookkeeper at Monthei Implement in Jefferson. She met Robert (Bob) Rhoades at a youth center dance in 1947 just as he returned from military service. They married November 12, 1949 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Jefferson. In Rita’s world family always came first as they had six children in just 4 1/2 years, four sons and two daughters. Diapers were a constant scene on the clothesline. She spent many hours attending her children’s extracurricular activities and even found time to be a Cub Scout Leader. As a lifelong member of St. Joseph’s parish, she laundered and starched altar linens for many years. Faith was important to Rita which she shared with her family.
She worked as the office manager in the family business, Rhoades Plumbing and Heating, over thirty years. A second career was working together with Bob in their own furniture refinishing business.
In November 2013, Rita and Bob made their home at The Gardens Assisted Living. Then later Rita moved to Greene County Medical Center Long Term Care Facility, where she died on July 30, 2017 from complications of MS. One of her last accomplishments was being “Chief Information Officer”, orchestrating family affairs on her cell phone and keeping a watchful eye over Long-Term Care residents and staff. Her sister-in-law, Peggy Dunne, was her faithful roommate and friend.
Those who mourn her passing are: husband Bob Rhoades of Jefferson, son Michael (Mona) Rhoades of The Villages, Florida, daughter-in-law Kathy Rhoades, Des Moines, son Jerry (Kathy) Rhoades of Alameda, California, daughter Theresa Ritland of Ames, daughter Linda (Kirk) Setzer of Amana, and son Patrick (Jane) Rhoades of Des Moines, nine grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, a brother, Jerry Minnihan of St. Louis, Missouri. Preceding her in death in her immediate family are her parents, infant brother, Thomas Eugene Minnihan, and son, Joseph L. Rhoades, MD.
Rita was known for her sense of humor, sometimes reveling in being a bit unconventional, but always thinking of others. Her hands were actively engaged in a lifetime of helping and caring for family and friends. Even with the progressive symptoms of MS over the last fifteen years, she remained positive and was fiercely independent in spite of her physical limitations, facing her illness with grace and dignity. Her mantra was, “There is always, always, ALWAYS SOMETHING to be thankful for.” The family appreciates the compassionate care provided by the staff at Greene County Medical Center – LTC and The Gardens.
Baking chocolate cakes from scratch was one of her specialties and if you came to visit the Rhoades’ home, you were sure to enjoy a piece of cake (and sometimes, seconds).
Rita was an avid seamstress and quilter and innumerable family and friends were recipients of her creative gifts. Rita even made most of the family clothing through the years. Rita faced the many patterns of her life with grace, beauty and laughter and it was indeed a life quilted with love.
Mass of the Christian burial was held Friday, August 4, 2017, at 10:30 A.M. from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Jefferson with Msgr. Kevin McCoy officiating. Interment was made in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Jefferson. Musical selections were sung by Amy Roberts and Rachael Rhoades with Lois Last as organist. Catholic Daughters of America rosary was prayed on Thursday evening followed by a Vigil for the deceased at Brown Funeral Home in Jefferson, Iowa.
Serving as casket bearers Kirk Setzer, David Dunne, Bill Dunne, Bob Stream, Jonathan Smith, and Steve Walker.
Serving as Honorary casket bearers (grandchildren) were Monica Rhoades, Sarah Casados, Melanie Sheafer, Laura Samnadda, Christian Setzer, Seth Rhoades, Rachael Rhoades, Lindsey Ante, and Lynette Bond.
Memorials may be sent to the Upper Midwest Chapter of Multiple Sclerosis Society, 200 12th Ave. South, Minneapolis, MN 55415.

Mildred L. Wicker

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 PM Saturday, July 29, at the Brown Funeral Home in Jefferson. Burial will be made at the Wall Lake Cemetery in Wall Lake. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service.

Survivors include her daughter, Sherri (Steve) Schwaller of Jefferson grandchildren; Kristi (John) Todd of Grimes and Scott (Bree) Schwaller of Johnston and great-grandchildren; Katy Todd and Emery Schwaller.


Mildred Lea Perry was born October 11, 1920 in Vinita, OK. She passed away Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at Greene County Medical Center Long Term (GCMC) in Jefferson, IA.
She was raised in Kansas City, MO, graduating from high school and Burroughs College. From there she was employed in the Department of Labor and Statistics in KC; then continued that work in Washington DC.
On April 14, 1945, Mildred was united in marriage to H. Dwaine Wicker at the Grand View Park Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, KS. They made their home in Johnston, IA. One daughter, Sherri Lou Schwaller was born to this union.
Mildred was an accountant by trade and held many jobs. She worked for Guys Nuts, Thiessen Abstract, Marean Builders, and Royal Jewelers. These jobs allowed her to work from home while caring for their daughter. She also took a break from numbers by working at Tyler Photography. During her stay at GCMC she delighted in adding up telephone numbers from the phone book
Family came first as she spent many hours driving Sherri to dance classes, swimming lessons, 4-H, and Camp Fire activities. She served as a Camp Fire leader for many years.
Mildred designed and created hundreds of costumes for Rose Lorenz Dance Studio in Des Moines. She was a perfectionist at the job and often the basement was filled with costumes hanging from the rafters. When she came to visit, the grandkids always had a stack of clothes for her to mend. In her later years, she enjoyed repairing towel bibs at Long Term.
Mildred was a 50+ year member of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Des Moines and a volunteer at Mercy Hospital.
With her caring nature, she helped many people. She was always the caregiver that flew into action handling each situation with determination and grace. However when it was over, you might find her passed out on the floor or a chair.
She loved their yearly fishing trips to Canada, but one of Mildred’s favorite hobbies was “junking” with the girls. They would all hop in a car, travel to different towns and shops, each looking for something special. She was always looking for miniature candlesticks. “Don’t let Dad throw these out, if something happens to me. He doesn’t know how expensive some of them are,” she’d say.
The Stitch and Bitch Sewing Circle was entertainment for all. Every lady brought their own sewing, knitting, or crocheting project to work on while they shared the latest tales. Afterwards everyone went out for lunch.
Survivors include her daughter, Sherri (Steve) Schwaller of Jefferson; a granddaughter, Kristina (John) Todd of Grimes; a grandson, Scott (Bree) Schwaller of Johnston; two great-granddaughters, Katy Todd and Emery Schwaller, one sister-in-law, Darlene Hanson, nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Mildred was preceded in death by her husband, Dwaine; parents, Marie and J.E. Johnston; her sister, Joan Bradbury; two stepbrothers, Earl and Bob Johnston, two brother-in-laws, Lewis and Vernon Wicker, and one sister-in-law, Lorene Wicker.
Funeral services were held at 2:00 PM on Saturday, July 29th, at the Brown Funeral Home in Jefferson with Pastor Lynn Gunderson officiating with burial in the Wall Lake Cemetery in Wall Lake, Iowa
Memorials may be left to the family, Westminster Presbyterian Church, GCMC Long Term, or Christ’s Kids Ministry at the First Presbyterian Church in Jefferson.

John Brend

Services for John Brend, 84, of Churdan, will be held at 11 AM Friday at St. Patrick Catholic Church west of Church. Visitation will be from 9 AM to the time of service. Burial will be at a later date in St. Patrick Catholic Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggest to the St. Patrick Church or Stewart Memorial Hospice in Lake City.


John Joseph Brend was born on October 18, 1932 at home in rural Adaza to John (J.L.) and Elsie (Tasler) Brend. He departed his life at home on July 1, 2017. He was known as Jackie by family and in country school; which he attended until 6th grade then graduating from Lohrville High School in 1951. He married Geraldine (Jeri) Burke on February 20, 1952 at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church in Lohrville.
Faith, farming, family and friends were his life – occupation and recreation. John farmed with his uncle the last two years of high school; then farmed on his own for 60 years; retiring in 2011. John celebrated his 65th wedding anniversary with Jeri this past year. He was a lifetime Cedar Township resident and lifetime member of St. Patrick Church serving as church and township trustee. John & Jeri were parents of four daughters and two sons. He is survived by his wife, and children Teresa (Mike) Johannsen of Dubuque, Cindy (Jay) Kane of Noank, Connecticut, Pam (Gary) Haberl of Lohrville, Pegi (George) Erickson of Paton, Joe (Kris) Brend of Ogden and Jim Brend of Twin Lakes, 18 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. In addition John is survived by five brothers, Larry, Dave, Dwight, Steve, and Tom. He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Gary and Warren; infant son, John; and grandchild Jon and great-grandchild Jaiden.
Mass of the Christian burial was held at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church in rural Churdan at 11:00 A.M. on Friday, July 7, 2017 with Fr. Lynn Bruch as the celebrant. John’s wishes were to have his body donated to the University of Iowa Hospital. Burial of ashes will be held at a later date in Saint Patrick’s Catholic Cemetery in rural Churdan. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church or Stewart Memorial Hospice.