Author Archives: Steve Brown

Mary Geisler

Mary C. Geisler was born the daughter of John and Agnes (Fickbohm) Coan on July 2, 1919 at Perry, Iowa and passed from this life June 29, 2020 at her rural home near Churdan, Iowa. She lived a full life to the age of 100 years, 11 months and 27 days.
Mary’s mother died when Mary was eighteen months old and her father could not care for his five children. Mary’s mother’s sisters stepped forward to care for the children and Mary’s aunt, Emily Connelly and her husband, Patrick, took Mary into their home. They raised Mary and later legally adopted her. Mary attended country school and graduated from Churdan High School in 1936 at the age of 16. She then attended Cherokee Jr. College and Iowa University of Northern Iowa, receiving a Teacher’s Certificate. She returned to Churdan and taught in country school during the height of the “Great Depression” which left an indelible impression on her. Her favorite subject was history and she was an avid book reader. It is thought that she had read over 5000 books from Churdan Public Library.
On May 23, 1944, Mary Coan was united in marriage to Edward Geisler, Jr. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. Eight children were born to this union, Sylvene, Patrick, John, Jerry, Anne, Andy, Daniel and David. After marriage, Mary semi-retired from full time teaching but would do substitute teaching. She fully retired in 1955. Ed and Mary farmed and raised their family in the Churdan area. They moved into Churdan in early 1970’s and Mary enjoyed helping at the Brown Funeral Home where her assistance was greatly appreciated. They moved back to the family farm in 1988. Ed passed away 1989 and Mary continued to live on the farm until her death.
Mary was a lifelong member of St. Patrick and later St. Columbkille Catholic Churches. Mary joined the Catholic Daughters of America in 1947 and was a member for 83 years. She was also a member of the Rosary Society, 50-year church choir member and taught religious classes for 25 years. Mary was always thankful for her full life but had many times of great sadness, especially the deaths of four of her children. She is survived by her children; Patrick (Marice) Geisler, John (Marian) Geisler, Anne (Joe) Minnehan and Andy Geisler, daughter-in-law, Deb Geisler, all of Churdan, 22 grandchildren, 44 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great-grandchildren. Those who preceded her in death were her parents, husband, children; Sylvene, Jerry, Daniel and David, sons-in-law, Gary Hatfield and Todd Mount, grandsons, Ryan Geisler, and Bart Baugh, great-granddaughter, Lola Geisler, brother, Gene Coan, and three sisters, Dorothy Pitzen, Pauline Brennon and Helene Kopp.
A private family Mass was held, July 2, 2020, (Mary’s 101st birthday) at 10:30 A.M. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church at Cedar with Father John Gerald officiating. Burial was made in St. Patrick’s Cemetery. Musical selections were played by organist, Lois Last and Greg Carey served as cantor. Mary had requested that “Ava Maria” be sung at her funeral and it was sung by Steve Carey.
Casket bearers were grandsons; Jason Hatfield, John Geisler Jr., Greg Geisler, Jerad Mount, Kirk Geisler and Spencer Geisler.
Memorials are suggested to be given to St. Patrick’s Historical Church Fund or the Churdan Public Library.

Josephine Morehouse

Josephine Morehouse, 76, passed away Sunday, June 21th at her daughter’s home in Grand Junction. A Celebration of Life will be held at 2:00 P.M. Saturday, June 27th, at the Grand Junction Community Center.
Josephine Morehouse, daughter of Julia (Nave) Comy, was born February 13, 1944 at Hominy, Oklahoma and passed from this life June 21, 2020 at her daughter’s home in Grand Junction, Iowa. She lived her life to the age of 76 years, 4 months and 8 days.

Josie attended the Oaks Indian Mission School as a child and graduated from Hominy High School in Hominy, Oklahoma. In 1970, while living in Los Angeles, Josephine was married to Carl Morehouse in Tijuana, Mexico. Four children were born to this union. They moved to Hopkins, Missouri in 1974 and later divorced in 1980. After the divorce, Josie moved her family to Marysville, Missouri where she met the love of her life, Don Wardlow in 1981. They were together until his death in 2006.

During her adult life, Josie worked as a certified nursing assistant. She loved fishing, traveling, cooking and most of all spending time with her family. She moved to Grand Junction, Iowa in 2008 to live with her daughter and son-in-law where she resided until her passing.

She is survived by her children and their spouses; Carl (Kristy) Morehouse of Des Moines, Steve (Kittie) Morehouse of Indianola, Jo (Tony) Jones of Grand Junction and Chad (Tracy) Morehouse of Casey, step-daughter, Becky Davis and grandchildren; Colby, Tori, Caitlin, Dalton and Cole. Those who preceded her were her mother, life partner, Don and a brother Johnny Nave

She is survived by her children and their spouses; Carl (Kristy) Morehouse of Des Moines, Steve (Kittie) Morehouse of Indianola, Jo (Tony) Jones of Grand Junction and Chad (Tracy) Morehouse of Casey, step-daughter, Rebecca Davis and grandchildren; Colby, Tori, Colitlin, Dalton and Cole.

Katherine Podlesak

Mary Katherine Podlesak, the daughter of Joseph and Ella (Pursley) Kemmer, was born January 9, 1928 at Pocahontas, Iowa and departed this life with her family at her side on June 3, 2020 at the Greene County Medical Center Long Term Care in Jefferson, Iowa. She lived a full life to the age of 92 years, 4 months and 24 days.

Katherine attended and graduated from Sacred Heart High School in Pocahontas in 1945. While in school, Katherine won the County Spelling Bee contest and was able to go to the state contest in Des Moines. She attended St. Joseph Mercy School of Nursing in Fort Dodge and graduated in 1948. After her graduation, she started her nursing career which spanned 41 years.

On May 27, 1950, Katherine Kemmer was united in marriage to John Podlesak at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pocahontas. Four children were born to this union. The family lived in Pocahontas until 1958 when they moved to Jefferson. From 1962 to 1965, the family lived in Aurora, Colorado where Katherine worked at a Denver hospital. Upon returning to Jefferson, John started a car dealership, Podlesak Motors and Katherine worked at the hospital. She served as house supervisor at the Greene County Medical Center until 1983 when she assumed a new position of Infection Control Coordinator in the Quality Assurance Department. She held the position until her retirement in 1989. After retiring, Katherine and John spent the next 19 years during the winters in Arizona where they loved playing golf. After John’s death in 2015, Katherine made her residence at The Garden’s Retirement Community in Jefferson until May of 2019 when she entered the Greene County Long Term Care Center.

Katherine was an active member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Jefferson and a member of the Catholic Daughters and the St. Joseph Guild. She was also a member of the Lakeside Golf Course and was a member of a local bridge Club.

Katherine is survived by three children, John (Sue) Podlesak, Mary Ann (Lyle) Wright and Carol Delp, all of Jefferson, five grand-children, 10 great-grandchildren and two sisters; Ruth Walsh of Varina, Iowa and Patty (Arthur) Knight of Omaha, Nebraska. Those who preceded her in death were her parents, husband, John in 2015, son, Steven in 1994, four brothers; James, Francis, Robert and Kenneth and three sisters; Delores, Elizabeth and Ella Mae.

Funeral services were held Saturday, June 6, 2020, at 10:30 A.M. from the Brown Funeral Home in Jefferson, Iowa with Father John Gerald officiating. Interment was made in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Jefferson, Iowa.

Serving as casket bearers were Nick Podlesak, Brad Podlesak, Michael Wright, Ronnie Wright, Trevor Ross and Mark Walsh.

Jim Ball

Jim Ball, 87, of Jefferson passed away Friday, May 15th at MercyOne Hospital in Des Moines. Per his wishes, no services will be held and burial will be made in St. Joseph Cemetery at a later date.

He is survived by his wife, Delma and a daughter, Cori Devlin of Pennsylvania.

Memorials are suggested to St. Joseph Catholic Church in Jefferson.


Jim Ball was born the son of Lora and Luella (Peterson) Ball on November 8, 1932 at Webb, Iowa and passed from this life with his loving wife of 64 years at his bedside on May 15, 2020 at MercyOne Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa at the age of 87 years.
Jim grew up on his parent’s farm and graduated from the Webb High School in 1950. He then joined the U.S. Army and served during the Korean conflict. After his discharge, Jim returned home and farmed with his father and brother. On August 24, 1955, Jim was united in marriage to Delma Tremmel at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Ashton, Iowa. Two daughters, Cori and Lori, were born to this union. Jim and Delma continued to farm until 1960 when they decided that the family farm could not support three families. They moved to Jefferson where Jim started the Ball Oil Company ran a tank wagon service along with the Vickers service station on highway 4 where Louk Plumbing is now located. Jim and Delma operated the service station for 25 years and their daughters, when old enough, helped pumping gas. Delma remembers several men said the girls were the reason they came to the station for gas. Jim enjoyed cooking and in 1985, he purchased a small café on the south side a Jefferson’s square and named it “Dad’s Diner”; serving breakfast and lunch. After five years of opening early in the morning, Jim decided to closed his Diner. Jim was a friend of Cecil Rueter in Grand Junction who had earlier built a private 9-hole golf course surrounding his home west of Grand Junction. Cecil hired Jim to manage the course and be its groundskeeper. Jim suggested that the course be opened to the public and it was called “The Hill”. As grounds-keeper, Jim manicure the course as if it was his home lawn. He also planted several flower beds throughout the course.
Jim and Delma retired together in 2003 and Jim continued his passion for cooking and gardening. He was noted for his peanut brittle and cookies and for his tomatoes and the plants that grew as tall as his backyard fence. In March of 2008, Jim and Delma had a great loss with the death of their daughter, Lori.
Jim was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Jefferson. Jim joined the Jefferson Elks Lodge #2306 in February of 1965, shortly after the lodge was started. He was active in the lodge but did not become an officer in the lodge until 1972. He delayed taking an office because he did not want to be the lodge leader until his girls had graduated from high school. In March of 1975, Jim was installed as the Elks Lodge’s Exalted Ruler. After serving as Exalted Ruler, Jim continued to be active and Delma was also an active member of the Jefferson DOES Drove #196. During this time, Jim and Delma always looked forward to Saturday night at the lodge attending dances and other activities.
Jim is survived by his wife, Delma, a daughter, Cori (Mike) Devlin of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania and grandson, Emmet. He was preceded in death by his parents, daughter, brother, Raymond Ball and sister, Mary Lou Walsh.
In accordance with Jim’s wishes, no services will be held and burial in the St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery will be held at a future date

Kraig Hanlon

There will be no public services held for Kraig Hanlon, 50, of Lohrville. Private burial in Evergreen Cemetery will take place at a later date.


Kraig Hanlon of Lohrville, IA, passed away in the early morning on April 26th, 2020 at Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines. Kraig was born at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, Lake City, Iowa, on March 16th, 1970 to parents Shirley and Paul Hanlon.
Growing up, Kraig was a happy kid who never met a stranger. Friends described him as a sweet and kind little boy that was ‘always hanging around’. Kraig was the bat boy for the slow pitch softball team in Lohrville (this is how Kraig lost his front tooth), was part of Scouts, delivered local newspapers, and walked beans during the summertime to make money. He was part of the last graduating class from Lohrville Community schools, in 1988.
As an adult, Kraig married and had 3 children; Raeann, Olivia, and Dillon. He continued living in the family home in Lorhville, and enjoyed fishing, hunting, and watching Iowa Hawkeye football (he was very proud of the picture he had taken with Coach Ferentz at the Alamo Bowl). He worked manufacturing and construction jobs, worked at various hog confinement operations, and was a volunteer fire fighter for many years. Kraig loved hanging out with friends and was always ready for conversation.
He is survived by his 3 children, Raeann (Matthew) Dischler of Lohrville, IA, Olivia Hanlon of Ames, IA, and Dillon Hanlon of Madria, IA, Brothers Kevin (Cindy) of Mankato, MN, Kerry (Diane) of Paton, IA, Kelton (Melissa) of Bellevue, NE, Kendall (Lisa) of Omro, WI, Kenton (Sue) of Meridian, ID, and sister Kimberly (Paul) of Livermore, IA. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews; Jason, Jerry, Jesse, Devon, Dani, Kailee, Michael, Justin, Heather, Nate, Nikki, Tyler, Dakota, and Bethany.
Kraig is preceded in death by his parents Paul and Shirley Hanlon and infant sister, Karla.
He will be missed terribly by all, but never forgotten! Rest in peace brother.
Due to current Covid-19 restrictions, graveside services will be held at a later date.

Dixie Mengel

Dixie Mengel, the daughter of Earl and Leone (Koebrich) Witcraft, was born February 8, 1932 at Fraser, Iowa and passed from this life April 25, 2020 at Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines. She lived her life to the age of 88 years, 2 months and 17 days.
Dixie grew up in Fraser and graduated from the Pilot Mound High School in 1950. She attended and graduated from Drake University in Des Moines in 1953 and started her teaching career.
On December 1, 1956, Dixie Witcraft was united in marriage to Dean Mengel at the Methodist Church in Paton. Seven children were born to this union. The couple made their home in Paton and Dean worked for the Greene County Road Maintenance Department and Dixie continued her elementary teaching career. Dixie taught at Paton Consolidated, Prairie of Gowrie and Paton-Churdan schools. She enjoyed being a teacher and many of her friends were from the teaching community. She took a few years off of full time teaching to focus on her family. When she returned to teaching, she taught part time where she enjoyed working with small groups and 1:1 learning with her students until her retirement in 1995. After both Dixie and Dean retired, they moved to Boone where they lived for seven before moving to Jefferson. While in Jefferson, Dixie and Dean were members of the Jefferson Christ Lutheran Church. Dean passed away in March of 2004 and Dixie later moved to back to Paton and enjoyed volunteering at the Paton Library, going for walks with friends and gardening. Baking was a passion for Dixie and she always kept her freezer full of breads, cookies and other treats to share with family and friends. In August of 2019, Dixie moved to Des Moines to be close to her children and grandchildren. She enjoyed the independent living at Wesley Acres where she participated in church, exercise classes, the library, outdoor walking trail, ballroom dancing and an occasional happy hour that included her first margarita.
Left to mourn her passing are her children and their spouses; Deb (Marty) Nugent of Nevada, Danie Roper of Paton, Joe (Cathy) Mengel of West Des Moines, Jeff (Becky) Mengel of Elgin, IL., Diane (Jim) Allison of Clive, Jed (Deb) Mengel of Des Moines and Jim (Bethany) Mengel of Des Moines, 16 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Those who preceded her in death were her parents and husband of 47 years.
Graveside services were held at 2:00 P.M. Friday, May 1, 2020 at the Paton Township Cemetery in Paton with Rev. David Arulnathan officiating.