Rhea Gem Brown


Rhea Gem Brown, age 99, of Lohrville, Iowa, passed away peacefully into the arms of our Lord on Thursday, January 30, 2020 in Kansas City, MO. She was born in Lake City, Iowa to Marion and Laura Blanchfield on October 28, 1920. Rhea was happily married to Harold Brown in 1938 and was married for 64 years before Harold’s passing. Throughout early marriage, they had opportunity to live in New York City and Tucson before settling down in Lohrville. Rhea was a wonderful homemaker and loved and was loved by all her family and friends deeply. She was a very special person who led with her faith as an example to anyone she came in contact with.   During her life Rhea was involved in many ministries including Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship, prison ministry, nursing home ministry, teaching Sunday School, and Share Group. Rhea was passionate about sharing the gospel and reaching out to people to help them find Jesus. At the nursing home where she last resided, she was known for praying for others and her singing and worshipping.

Rhea is survived by one daughter and husband, Treva and Jim Burk, and two sons and their wives, Ronald and Paulette Brown, and Kendall and Sharman Brown, two granddaughters and their husbands, Alisa and Chuck Baker and Lori and Darren Miller, three grandsons and their wives, Kurt Burk, Kent and Mary Brown, and Blake and Mona Brown, four great granddaughters and their husbands, Hannah and Chris Green, Genova and Bruce Dakan, Elizabeth and Nick Parrish, and Christine Brown, five great grandsons and wives, Joshua Baker, Benjamin Brown, Jonathan Brown, Cory and Erin Brown, Drew Brown, Clinton Miller, and Nick Miller, three great, great granddaughters, Ahava Dakan, Tallulah Dakan, and Alyssa Brown, and three great, great grandsons, Ian Brock, Braxton Brock, and Sir Parrish.

Our family believes that when someone passes, they pass from this life into the next life. We know that she is in heaven praising our Savior, Jesus Christ, a place of everlasting peace alongside Him. While we grieve her passing, with our grief comes the joy of knowing where she now resides!

A graveside ceremony was held at Evergreen Cemetery in Lohrville on Saturday, February 8 at 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, we are requesting that donations be made to Desperation Church’s missions fund in Rhea’s name. (Desperation Church, 940 Kent Street, Liberty, MO 64068)


Rexine Johnson

Rexine Johnson, the daughter of Guy and Ida (Stream) Kinsman, was born August 26, 1922 at her parent’s farm home near Churdan, Iowa and departed this life January 30, 2020 at the Greene County Medical Center in Jefferson, Iowa. She lived a full life to the age of 97 years, 5 months and 4 days.

Rexine attended and graduated from the Churdan High School in 1940 and later attended Iowa Teacher’s College in Cedar Falls where she received a teacher’s certificate. She returned to Churdan and taught in country schools. She later worked in a café in Churdan.

On March 11, 1949, Rexine Kinsman was united in marriage to Boyce Johnson at the Little Brown Church at Nashua, Iowa. To this union were born three children. Following their marriage, Rexine and Boyce lived and farmed the Guy Kinsman farm. In 1982, Rexine and Boyce moved to their home in Churdan. Boyce passed away on May 13, 2007 and Rexine continued to make her home Churdan until 2018 when she moved to The Garden’s Retirement Community in Jefferson.

Rexine was an active member of the Churdan First Baptist Church and many local organizations. During their marriage, Rexine and Boyce were a part of a “Pitch Group” where couples would take turns hosting a card party at their homes on Saturday night. Rexine enjoy working on puzzles, socializing with friends and attending Paton-Churdan sporting activities.

Left to mourn her passing are two sons, Doug and his wife, Debra, of Clive and Larry of Ankeny, a daughter, Anita and her husband, Todd Van Horn of Jefferson, three granddaughters; Brittany Johnson, Stacy McElliott and Megan Anderson and four great-grand-children; Morgan and Moya McElliott and Broxton and Sadie Anderson. Those who preceded her were her parents, husband and three sisters; Ava Kinsman, Atha Tasler and Viola Lauver.

Funeral services were held Friday, February 7, 2020 at 10:30 AM from the First Baptist Church in Churdan with Pastor Bobby Palmer officiating. Burial was made in the Highland Township Cemetery. “On Eagle’s Wings” was sung by Brittany Johnson, Stacy McElliott and Debra Johnson and accompanied by pianist, Renaye Lindgren. The congregation sang “How Great Thou Art”.

Serving as casket bearers were Matthew McElliott, Tyler Anderson, Kim Tasler, Jay Tasler and Troy Paup.

Edith Knittig

Services will be held in April.

Edith Ilene (Cafferty) Knittig, daughter of Merritt and Mary (Anthony) Cafferty, was born December 12, 1926 in Rinard, Iowa. Edie attended school in Rinard, graduating in 1944.


On March 17, 1945, Edie was joined in marriage to Alvin Knittig. Three children were born to this union while they farmed north of Lohrville. In 1955, they moved to another farm west of Farnhamville and resided there until Alvin retired in 1988. They then moved to Jefferson where, in 2008, Alvin passed away. In 2010, Edie moved to a duplex in Ankeny and lived next door to her daughter Karen. From 2014 up until her death, she lived in Ankeny assisted living facilities at Vintage Hills and Mill Pond and finally at Trinity Center in Des Moines. Her struggle with dementia and Alzheimers came to a peaceful end on January 28, 2020 at the age of 93.


Edie was always actively engaged in persuing new interests and challenges. She attended Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge where she received her Licensed Practical Nurse degree on December 6, 1971. She continued her education and received her Registered Nurse degree on September 11, 1975. She was also officially licensed in Minnesota on September 15, 1980.


Edie loved walking, gardening, sewing and quilting. She achieved a Master Gardener’s degree in the early 1900s. Her accomplishments continued to grow with the creation of her own quilting business: A&E Quilting. She had a successful and fulfilling run from 1996 to 2008.


Edie was preceded in death by her parents; husband Alvin in 2008; daughter Linda in 2009; sisters Gladys Anderson, Minnie Boner, Leota Kelly, Beulah McClure, Iola Staley, and Violet Stamp; brothers Dale Cafferty and Lyle “Bud” Cafferty. Left to mourn her passing are her children Karen Hicks of Ankeny and Dennis Knittig of Minneapolis. Grandchildren: David (Cathi) Knittig of St. Paul, MN and Jane Rosenberger of Deephaven, MN. Great grandchildren: Meryl Rosenberger and Nolan Rosenberger of Deephaven, MN. Also surviving is brother Loren Cafferty of Phoenix, AZ.

William (Bill) Ostlund

Services for William (Bill) Ostlund, 72, of Jefferson, will be held on Saturday, February 29, 2020, at 2:00 pm at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Webster City, Iowa. The family will be present at the church prior to the service. A celebration of Bill’s life will follow the service at the Webster City Links Golf Course.

Bill is survived by his children; Andy of Shawnee, KS. and Sarah of Webster City.

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.