Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

William (Bill) Dunne

Bill Dunne, the son of Gerald and Peggy Lee (Rhoades) Dunne, was born January 16, 1956 at the Greene County Hospital in Jefferson, Iowa. He passed from this life on April 20, 2020 at the Accura Healthcare of Ames Nursing Home in Ames, Iowa. He lived his life to the age of 64 years, 3 months and 4 days.

Bill was raised on his parent’s farm near Churdan and graduated from the Paton-Churdan High School in 1975. For most of his life, Bill worked as a millwright, maintaining machinery in grain elevators. He made his home in Badger and worked for New Co-op in the extended Fort Dodge area for over 20 years, retiring in 2018. He was devoted to his family and friends and especially enjoyed spending time with his daughter and family. He was an avid marksman and said to be an exceptional dancer. He also enjoyed taking pictures of sunsets from the top of grain elevators.

Bill is survived by his daughter and her husband, Keely and Caleb Avery of Ames, brother David and his wife, Renee, of Scranton, two sisters and their husbands; Jane and Walter Prestige and Sue and Ron Wanger, both of Battle Ground, WA. and several cousins, nephews and nieces. Those who preceded him in death were his parents and brother, Richard.

Private family graveside services were held at 10:30 A.M. Saturday, May 2, 2020, at the Highland Township Cemetery in Churdan with Rev. Julie Poulsen offering words of comfort. A public celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Cynthia Bierman

Cynthia Bierman, the daughter of Lee and Gladys (Hardaway) King, was born May 24, 1953 at Jefferson, Iowa and joined her sistren angels very unexpectedly on March 17, 2020 at the Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines. She lived her life to the age of 66 years, 9 months and 23 days.

Cynthia was raised on a farm north of Churdan. She loved farm life and was active in 4-H. She fondly remembered the frequent visits from numerous cousins, and a family trip to Alaska. Cynthia attended Paton-Churdan High School and graduated in the class of 1971. She then attended AIB Business College in Des Moines and began her 48-year career in insurance and investments, retiring just a week before her death.

On February 27, 1988, Cynthia King was united in marriage to Calvin Bierman of Des Moines at the United Methodist Church in Churdan. For their honeymoon, they took the first of several trips to Walt Disney World. In later years, they traveled to Los Angeles and discovered the joy of cruising to the Caribbean. Cynthia was an avid reader of romance novels and crime fiction. She enjoyed attending plays and traveling to concerts across the Midwest. Cynthia also shared her love of Christmas and would listen to holiday music all year long.

Cynthia was a life long member of the Churdan United Methodist Church and she and Calvin attended many of the activities and dinners held at the church.

Cynthia is survived by her loving husband, Calvin, a brother, Gary King of Urbandale, a sister, Darlene (Jim) Woltz of Pharr, Texas, sister-in-law, Karla King of Churdan, several nieces and nephews and a host of friends. Those who preceded her were her parents, brother, Wayne King and sister-in-law Denise King.

A graveside service was held at 2:00 P.M. Tuesday, March 24th at the Highland Township Cemetery in Churdan with Rev. David Arulnathan officiating. A special song of Cynthia’s “Peace in the Valley” was played at the close of the service.

Serving as casket bearers were Christopher King, Mitchel King, Taylor King. Dan Towers, George Naylor, John Guess and Mike Campiano.

A celebration of Cynthia’s life will be held at a later date.

Kay Ramaekers

Kathryn (Kay) Ramaekers, the daughter of Edward and Mary Bernadette (Arts) Holder, was born November 27, 1937 in Carroll, Iowa and passed from this life March 16m 2020 at mercy One Des Moines Medical Center at the age of 82 years, 3 months and 19 days.

Kay grew up in Carroll and was a member of the first graduating class from Kuemper Catholic High School in 1955. She then attended AIB Business College in Des Moines. Kay Holder met Walter (Ozzie) Ramaekers at the Starline Ballroom in Carroll and they were married December 22, 1956 at St. Lawrence Catholic Church. Three children were born to this union and Kay was a stay at home Mom and raised her family.

In 1973, they family moved to Jefferson where Kay was a business partner with Ozzie in a dry-cleaning business. Kay did sewing and alterations and ran her own drapery and window covering business, Kay’s Kustoms. Kay retired in 2000. She enjoyed camping, traveling, playing bridge and gardening. For many years, Kay and Ozzie spent weekends camping at Cutty’s Camp Grounds near Des Moines where she loved going shopping and they would eat out at various places. They also spent several winters in Texas.

Kay is survived by her loving husband, Ozzie, three children and their spouses; Laura and Boyd Knosp of Iowa City, Joseph and Kim Ramaekers of Rolfe and Robert and Karen Ramaekers of Urbandale, six granddaughters, five grandsons and two great-granddaughters. She was preceded in death by her parents, a brother, Donald and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

A Celebration of Kay’s life is planned to be held at a later day.

Richard Mackey

Public graveside service will be held with full military honors at 10:30 am on Saturday, May 9th, at St. Patick’s Cemetery west of Churdan.


              Richard (Dick) Mackey, the son of Joseph and Florentina (Tacke) Mackey, was born August 27, 1939 at Carroll, Iowa and departed this life March 14, 2020 at the Carroll Health Care Center in Carroll, Iowa. He lived his life to the age of 80 years, 6 month and 17 days.

Dick grew up in Churdan and graduated from the Churdan High School in the Class of 1957. During his high school years, Dick drove trucks for his father’s trucking company. After graduation, Dick joined the United States Army and served for two years. He returned to Churdan and continued driving trucks for his father. On June 19, 1971, Richard Mackey was united in marriage to Colleen Florke at St. Columbkille Catholic Church in Churdan. Three children were born to this union. After his father retired from the trucking business, Dick worked for a time for Macke Motors in Lake City and then returned to driving throughout the county for various trucking companies. Being away driving took a toll on Dick and Colleen’s marriage and they were divorced. They maintained a close relationship during the years and Colleen cared for Dick’s needs throughout his final years.

Dick was a member of St. Columbkille Catholic Church. When not driving, Dick enjoyed going to his children’s sporting activities.

Dick is survived by his children and grand-children; Todd (Michelle) Mackey of Ankeny and their children; Brooke, Mackenzie and Carson, Shawn (Michelle) Mackey of Ankeny and their children; Mikala, Mikena and Mya and Heather Mackey Steimel and her children; Tessa and Kinnick and two brothers, Danny of Carroll and Al Hutton of Sioux City. Those who preceded in death were his parents.

A celebration of Dick’s life followed by a graveside service at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cemetery at a later date to be announced.
Honorary casket bearers were Brett Adams, Kelly Ryan, Kyle Daniels, Daniel Hutton, Joe Towers and Jason Stauffer.

Gordon Kanke

A visitation for Gordon Kanke, 81, of Jefferson will be held from 1:00 to 2:00 PM Saturday at the Brown Funeral Home in Jefferson with an Elks Memorial Service at 1:45 followed by military honors.

Survivors include his son, Bill Kanke of St. Joseph, MO. and daughter, Brenda Poole of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Memorials are suggested to be given in Gordon’s name to the Elks National Foundation and send to the Jefferson Elks Lodge #2306 in Jefferson or left at the funeral home.



               Gordon Kanke, the son of Glenn and Irene (Vogler) Kanke, was born January 30, 1938 at Vinton, Iowa and passed from this life March 7, 2020 at his home in Jefferson, Iowa. He lived his life to the age of 81 years, 1 month and 7 days.

Gordy graduated from high school in 1956 and joined the United States Air Force where he served for two years. After his discharge, Gordy moved to California where he lived for three years and drove cars in stockcar races. He was married to Linda Lockwood and they had a daughter, Sherry. They were later divorced. Gordy moved back to Iowa and lived in the Cedar Rapids area where he worked for the Wilbert Burial Vault Company for 20 years. In 1964, Gordy was married to Kathleen Gooden and they raised three children; Kevin, Bill and Brenda. Kathleen and Gordy were later divorced. Gordy than   worked for Williams Gas Co. as a pipeline supervisor and lived in Hartley, Iowa. In 1979, Gordy was married to Bernice Hervey and she later died of cancer. Gordy retired in 1994 and worked part time for farmers in the Hartley area. While working in Boone, Iowa, Gordy met Karen Schwarz and they struck up a relationship. Karen and Gordy later moved to Hartley where they made their home together until 2015 when the moved to Jefferson. Karen passed away in October of 2019.

During his life, Gordy enjoyed fishing, playing golf and pool, bowling and camping. While with Karen, they enjoyed traveling throughout the continental U.S.A. and took a cruise to Alaska. He enjoyed spending many hours a week in his basement making fishing lures that were sold by a sporting goods company. While in Jefferson, Gordy joined the Jefferson Elks Lodge #2306 and enjoyed visiting with the members and especially enjoyed playing in a 25cent poker group on Thursday afternoons.

A visitation to celebrate Gordy’s life was held Saturday, March 14th, from 1:00 to 2:00 PM at the Brown Funeral Home in Jefferson where an Elks Memorial Service was held at 1:45 PM followed by Military Honors conducted by the Offit Air Force Base Honor Guard. Burial will be made in the Tipton Masonic Cemetery in Tipton, Iowa at a later date.

Surviving Gordy were his children; Bill (Lori) Kanke of Saint Joseph, MO., Brenda (Greg) Poole of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, grandchildren; Gabriel and Alan Perenick, Ethan (Chelsea), Matthew, Phillip Kanke and Sara and Dayle Poole, great-grandchildren; Elizabeth, Jude and Benjamin Kanke and Jenna Strable, a brother, Richard (Colleen) Kanke of Orlando, FL., and a sister, Karen (Jack) James of Boone, N.C., step-children, Amy (Brian) Strable of Ankeny and Tony (Mila) Strable of West Des Moines. Those who preceded him in death were his parents, his wife, Bernice, his partner in later life, Karen, children; Kevin Kanke and Sherry Preneick and a brother and a sister.