Fall 2021 Courier Obituaries
Gretchen “Jayne” Carrier Gidel, 102, of Austin, Texas, on April 11. After graduating from Coe, Jayne taught school for three years in Ackley, Iowa. She married Eugene F. Gidel on June 18, 1943, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Following her husband's return from World War II service overseas, they resided in Ackley until 1960, when they moved with their three children to Amarillo. Following the death of her husband in September 2012, she moved to Austin. Jayne is survived by a son, John Gidel; two daughters, Margot Levatino and her husband, Sal, and Mary Fraser.
Jeanette Miller Hilsabeck, 97, of Downers Grove, Illinois, on August 6. Jeanette married Robert (Bob) Burke Hilsabeck shortly after he graduated from the United States Naval Academy. In 1956, they settled in Hinsdale, Illinois, where Jeanette used her beautiful soprano voice in choirs and taught voice lessons. She sewed wonderful quilts for her children and grandchildren, created delicious meals for family and friends, served as a faithful PEO sister and was a longtime member of Community Presbyterian Church in Clarendon Hills, Illinois. Jeanette is survived by her sons and daughters-in-law, Lee Hilsabeck ’70 and Ellen Hilsabeck, Steve and Alison Hilsabeck and Rick Hilsabeck and Sarah Pfisterer; six grandchildren including Ryan Hilsabeck ’02; eight great-grandchildren; and her sister, Marie Anderson.
Doris “LaVaughn” Pierce Lichty, 97, of Clear Lake, Iowa, on April 19. Doris met her husband of 72 years, DeRay, at the Surf Ballroom. She worked for the Area Education Agency for over 30 years. She was a staunch supporter of women's rights and an early advocate for equal pay in the workplace. Christian Science was the foundation of Doris’ faith, and she applied those teachings and her beliefs in every aspect of her life. She was a spirited lady and had an uncanny sense of humor that always left you with a smile on your face. Her dedication and willingness to help family and friends highlighted her life. Doris loved playing the cello and played in various ensembles as well as the North Iowa Symphony Orchestra. She introduced all her children to the joy of music and tutored several students. She also was an active member of Matinee Musicale for many years and truly enjoyed her Mah Jong group. Doris is survived by four children, Dana Lichty, Brett (Barb) Lichty, Dee Ray (Bev) Lichty and Kurt Lichty ’78; 11 grandchildren including Alexis Lichty ’16; and three great-grandchildren.
Doris Shirreffs Keene, 98, of Pensacola, Florida, on August 23. In addition to Coe, Doris attended the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, graduating with degrees in English literature, journalism, French and Spanish. She attended graduate school at Northwestern University in Chicago and obtained a postgraduate degree in secondary education from Iowa Wesleyan University. Upon graduation from college, Doris worked for DoAll Corporation and Brach Candy Company in Chicago. After her marriage to Reid Wesley Keene in 1949, she became a homemaker, teacher and commercial real estate broker. Doris was a community activist and volunteered throughout her life prior to retirement and relocation to Pensacola in 1988. She was a member of the American Association of University Women, National Panhellenic Conference, Kappa Delta Sorority, DeKalb Women’s Club, League of Women Voters, Bellevue Library Board, her Congregational church circle and various other volunteer organizations. She also was a room mother, Girl Scout leader, Cub Scout leader and Sunday School director for her children. Doris is survived by her son, Bruce Keene (Bonnie); her daughter, Laura Keene (Barry Beroset); her son, Ross Keene (Stacy); four grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and two nieces.
George Owen, 97, of Bloomington, Minnesota, on June 14. After two years at Coe, George enlisted in the 17th Airborne of the U.S. Army. He was a paratrooper from 1943-1945 and earned three Bronze Stars during Allied campaigns in Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe. He returned to Coe after the war ended and earned his bachelor’s degree in economics. He worked for the Maytag Company in Newton, Iowa, and Minneapolis for 40 years. George was a longtime member of the Lafayette Club in Minnetonka Beach, Minnesota, where he won many first-place golf trophies. He took great pride in pointing out the greens where he shot his three holes-in-one. He served as club president from 1988-1990. He was a seasonal member of the Carmel Ranch Valley Golf Course in California where he and his wife, Laura, enjoyed many winters. George grew vegetables and flowers in his backyard garden on Lake Minnetonka. The maples, oaks and ginkgos he planted continue to thrive at every home and office where he lived or worked. He was a jazz and swing fan who spoke of his heroes Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Frank Sinatra up until his final days. He often talked about playing guitar in a jazz band during his college years. For six years, residents at Wealshire of Bloomington requested and applauded George’s lively renditions of the Maytag sales song at social gatherings. He was a lover of film and reader of books, particularly documentaries or histories of World Wars I and II. He made daily visits to the public library to read The Wall Street Journal and keep up on current events. He read The New Yorker from cover to cover for more than 50 years. George is survived by his children, Katharine Malaga (Ross), Deborah Owen (Kate), Robert Owen (Erin), Michael Owen (Therese) and Laura Owen (Gary); nine grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.
Sarah Wendlandt, 94, of Lubbock, Texas, on March 9. At Coe, Sarah was a member of Chi Omega sorority. After earning a master's degree in speech pathology from the University of Iowa, she began a decadeslong teaching career at Grant Wood School in Cedar Rapids. She was a member of Calvary Baptist Church. Following her retirement, she moved to Lubbock where she enjoyed living with her sister and staying active in her local church. Sarah is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Ellen and Tom Caughey: and two grandchildren.
Betty Ferguson Emrich, 94, of Tipton, Iowa, on July 4. In addition to Coe, Betty attended the University of Iowa, where she earned her bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees, one in guidance counseling and health and the other in psychology. She was a K-12 educator in Tipton and coached boys’ and girls’ basketball, swimming and gymnastics. She was certified for K-14 education. Betty was united in marriage to Melvin Douglas “Doug” Emrich ’49 on February 15, 1945, at the Mechanicsville Presbyterian Church. She was very active in her church, serving as deacon, elder, choir member and endowment chair. She was past president of Tri Sigma, Tipton School Foundation, Iowa Partners of the Americas, Friendship Force and the Mary Jean Emrich Effort Scholarship Committee. She was a life member of the National Education Association; the Iowa State Education Association; the State, District, and National American Association of Health for PE and Recreation and Dance; the Retired BPW Lunch Group; the Retired Elementary Teachers Lunch Group and the Mechanicsville Alumni Association; and she served in the Community Choir for Special Events. Betty was a very vibrant, personable, well-educated, respected and admired woman who cared for others and was a resident of Tipton for 70 years. Betty is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Craig Emrich ’73 and Lynn Penningroth. She was predeceased by her husband, Doug.
Richard Peterson, 94, of College Station, Texas, on May 23. Richard enlisted in the U.S. Navy on his 18th birthday and served as a hospital corpsman during World War II. Upon discharge from the Navy, he attended Coe where he met his wife, Carolyn Abbott Peterson ’52, and they were married on August 12, 1950. He declared her the "love of my life" until the time of his death. Rich discovered his passion for theater while in high school and again during college. It was this love of theater that led him to teach high school English and to direct plays, first at Omaha Central High School and later Bloom Township High School in Chicago Heights, Illinois. When Prairie State College in Chicago Heights was founded, he was tapped to develop the Speech and Theatre Department curriculum, ultimately chairing the department through his decadeslong career teaching speech, theater and English at the college. During this time, he obtained two master's degrees and directed multiple plays each year. "Mr. Pete" was beloved by his students and colleagues, remaining in communication with many until his death. Upon Carolyn’s death in 1991, Rich moved to Seattle, Washington, to live near his brother, sister-in-law and their large family. While in Seattle, Rich volunteered with an organization supporting children of parents with HIV and directed several musical cabaret productions featuring a former student. After the death of his brother, Rich returned to Illinois where he volunteered teaching computer literacy to seniors. He moved to Texas for his final years, where he resided until his death. Rich was a loving, kind and silly person who shared his abundant love, humor and wisdom with his family, students, friends and caregivers. For the last 25 years of Rich's life, he was a practicing Buddhist, and his beliefs guided his life and actions. Rich is survived by his daughters, Mindy Glover (Thomas), Cheri Peterson and Betsy Peterson (Connie Langellier); three grandchildren including Garrett Tieder ’19; and three great-grandchildren.
Margaret Du Bois, 92, of Lakewood, Colorado, on June 9. Margaret was united in marriage with Duane Du Bois ’51 on November 21, 1948, in Waterloo, Iowa. She was a homemaker and worked as a secretary before having children. Margaret was a member of St. Paul United Church of Christ in Keokuk, Iowa, for more than 50 years and belonged to the Service Circle. She was active in the Order of the Eastern Star for 47 years, serving as worthy matron of Elmira Chapter 40 OES, grand electa and grand representative of Oklahoma in Iowa, and was a member of Diamond Chapter 37 OES and E. C. Blackmar Chapter 306 OES. During August 1967, 1968, 1969 and 1970, Margaret and her family spent the month camping in western national parks and monuments. With her husband, Duane, they attended 39 elder hostels in the U.S., Canada, England, Scotland and Wales. She enjoyed reading, trying new recipes, preserving food, walking, "Be Fit with Scott" classes, bird watching and adopting stray kitties. She lived the first 88 years of her life in Iowa, moving to Lakewood, Colorado, for her final years. She resided in Keokuk from 1959-2017. Margaret is survived by her daughters, Pamela (James) Bliss and Susan Du Bois (Richard Yabunaka); and three grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband, Duane.
Robert Funk, 98, of Niles, Illinois, on April 21.
John Andersen, 93, of Geneva, Illinois, on July 30. Prior to Coe, John attended Burlington Junior College for a year, then entered the U.S. Army in the Military Police, serving 16 months in Japan. He returned home and finished his sophomore year at Burlington Junior College before coming to Coe, where he played on the basketball team and earned the nickname Ace from his teammates. After graduating from Coe, John later earned his master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Iowa and took graduate education classes at Northern Illinois University. On August 19, 1951, John married his sweetheart, Barbara McCollom Andersen ’52 of Burlington, Iowa. She was the love of his life, and they were married for nearly 64 years. Their first home was in Marion, Iowa, where John served as a sixth grade teacher. In 1953, he became a teaching principal of the new Longfellow Elementary School. The family moved in July 1960 when John took a position as the principal at Gary Elementary School in the West Chicago School District No. 33. In 1961, John and Barbara built their first home in Geneva, where they raised their family until 1987. Many special memories and longtime friendships were established with the "Eastside" neighbors. John was a very friendly and energetic person throughout his entire life. Over the years, he looked in on and cared for many elderly people in the Methodist Church and in the community. He was always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. Upon his retirement after 23 years at Gary School in 1983, John worked part time for the Geneva Republican and the Chicago Title Company. He also worked for Waubonsee Community College as a site administrator at Geneva High School. Because of his love for the game of tennis and its influence on young people, he also was the varsity tennis coach for Geneva High School from 1984-1994 — during this tenure, the Vikings won the Little Seven Conference five of the 10 years. John enjoyed and kept busy serving the city of Geneva in many different capacities. He was the First Ward Alderman for the city from 1989-1993. He also served as chair of the Safety Committee and on the Police & Fire Commission. John was in the Geneva Lions Club for 21 years serving in many different leadership roles. In 1992, he was named the parade marshal of the Geneva Swedish Days Parade. He also was a dedicated volunteer for the Geneva Chamber of Commerce and Delnor Hospital. John was a 61-year member and pillar in the United Methodist Church of Geneva, joining in 1960 and serving on many committees throughout his life. One of his favorite duties was coordinating the Memorial Day Pancake Breakfast "first shift servers" for over 50 years. He was especially proud of his Danish heritage and was always vigilant to ensure his last name of Andersen was spelled with an "e", the Danish spelling, and not with an "o". He was an ardent Iowa Hawkeye and St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan his entire life. John is survived by his children, Mark (Lorelei) Andersen, Scott Andersen, Christine (Ronald) Donovan and Julie Pfeiffer; nine grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; his sister, Mary Ann Purcell; and 25 nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his wife, Barbara.
Margaret “Peggy” Smith Pair, 91, of Anacortes, Washington, on March 26. At Coe, Peggy met her future husband, Maurice “Reese” Pair ’53. They married January 25, 1953, and made their first home on the East Coast. They moved to Chicago, then later to Medina, Washington, and Mercer Island, Washington. Peggy and Reese opened the Gold Balloon toy stores, one on Pier 70 and one on Mercer Island. During this time, they also made six trips to Europe and three to Alaska. In 2001, Guemes Island became home, with trips to Arizona in the winters. Peggy was a volunteer for Salvation Army and Days for Girls in Anacortes. She also was very active in the Guemes Island Church and Women's Fellowship/quilting. She was especially fond of making pies for the annual pie sale. Peggy is survived by her son, Bruce; her daughter, Trish; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Donald “Don” Erusha, 93, of Cedar Falls, Iowa, on August 3. Don served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1946-1947 and the U.S. Air Force Reserve from 1952-1968. He earned his master’s degree from the University of Iowa. He was a teacher and coach for 50 years at several high schools and universities including Cedar Falls High School, Coe College, Wartburg College and the University of Northern Iowa, semi-retiring in 2000. Don played football at Coe and was inducted into the Coe College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1985 and also earned the Alumni Award of Merit in 2012. He was a life member of Cedar Falls AMVETS Post 49, Cedar Falls Lions Club and Iowa Football Coaches Association. Don is survived by one grandchild and one great-grandchild.
Robert Fullerton, 93, of Clinton, Iowa, on April 5. Robert served in the U.S. Army from 1946-1948. He was a radio operator for the First Cavalry in the Occupation Forces in Tokyo, Japan. After returning from the war, Robert attended Coe for three years before moving to California, where he continued taking classes at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles while working for American Latex. He married Gretchen Hindley on September 27, 1952, in Redondo Beach, California; she passed away on January 19, 2009. Robert was a computer systems program engineer with Alcoa for 32 years before retiring in 1990. He was a past member of the Clinton Symphony Orchestra Board, Clinton Community Concert Association and AMVETS. He also served as a volunteer bus driver for several years for Sacred Heart Parish in the early 1960s. He was an avid sailor, having built one of his own sailboats and a kayak and helping to build two other large trimaran sailboats with friends. Robert is survived by his children, Michael J. Fullerton, Leslie A. (Ronald) Porterfield, Andrew M. Fullerton and Mathew J. Fullerton; 10 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
Robert “Bob” Stone, 90, of Marion, Iowa, on May 9. In addition to Coe, Bob graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1957. He served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force from 1952-1954 during the Korean War and in the Air Force Reserve until 1960, when he received an honorable discharge as a captain. He married Marge Lala Stone ’55 in Marion, Iowa, on August 6, 1960. Bob joined Winfield White in the practice of law in Marion, Iowa, in July 1957 and retired in July 1997. He served as the city of Marion's city attorney from 1964-1976. He was president of the Linn County Bar Association from 1988-1989 and the Iowa Municipal Attorneys Association from 1973-1974. He served as a volunteer in many community organizations including First Presbyterian Church as an elder and deacon and was a 30-year member and volunteer at the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library. Bob is survived by his wife, Marge; three children, Wilford H. Stone (Amy L. Reasner), Diane L. (Gordon) Origer and Jeffrey C. (Kim Stone Vilim) Stone; four grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
Richard “Dick” Ekstrand, 93, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on August 10. Prior to attending Coe, Dick served in the U.S. Navy. He was a proud veteran of World War II and later served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve for over 20 years. Dick was united in marriage to Doris Heitland Ekstrand ’52 on September 6, 1951, in Cedar Rapids. He worked for United Life Insurance as director of underwriting. Dick was very involved as a member of Christ Church Presbyterian. In his spare time, he enjoyed woodworking, camping and, most of all, eating. He loved the time he spent with his family. Dick is survived by his wife of 69 years, Doris; his daughter, Janet (Clancy) Herrington; four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; a brother-in-law, Roland Tullberg; and a sister-in-law, Carol Maxwell.
Mardell Frey Henze, 89, of Shannon, Illinois, on April 16. Mardell married Robert “Bob” Henze on May 4, 1952, in Shannon. They farmed on the Shiley family farm south of Shannon in tandem with Bob's career in the United States Postal Service, plus his five decades as a fast- and slow-pitch softball player. Mardell kept everything running smoothly for a family who never sat still. Their life was filled with friends, family, sports, music, dancing, community events, travel and fun times. Bob and Mardell, along with five other area couples, formed a 500 card club after the Korean War that met faithfully for over five decades, forming bonds between the families that continue to this day. After Bob's untimely death in 1988, Mardell continued the tradition of attending every game, meet, play, concert, match and ceremony involving her family. Mardell was extremely proud of her heritage and made sure details of ancestors who travelled from Germany to America in the 1740s and from Leishershire, England, to America in the 1830s were relayed via oral histories, artifacts, documents and structures still standing around the Spring Valley area of Cherry Grove Township. Mardell is survived by her daughter, Kay (Joel) Brooks; her sons, Scott (Jan) Henze and Karl (Colleen Finn) Henze; 10 grandchildren and great-grandchildren; a niece; and a nephew.
William Layton, 89, of Hendersonville, North Carolina, on June 12. William earned his master’s degree in industrial psychology and industrial relations from the University of Illinois. He began his professional career with the Procter & Gamble Company in 1955 and held a variety of executive positions, including international assignments in France and Belgium. After leaving Procter & Gamble, he became vice president of personnel at Kentucky Fried Chicken and senior vice president, human resources and administration at Holiday Inns Inc. In 1983, he left the larger corporate world and formed his own management consulting firm, which served a variety of clients in the U.S., the U.K., Mexico, Bermuda and the Netherlands. After retiring in 2001 and moving to Brevard, North Carolina, William became an active member of the Transylvania County Economic Development Advisory Board and later came out of retirement to serve as a business and communications consultant with the County Planning and Economic Development Department. An active and involved member of several professional and other organizations, he was a former member of the Rotary Club, is listed in several domestic and international editions of Who's Who in America and the World and was an avid duplicate bridge player and sport fisherman. During his years as a resident of Connestee Falls, North Carolina, he served as president of the Fishing Club and enjoyed participating with the Amateur Theatre Society. William is survived by his wife of 67 years, Caroline Tiffany Layton ’56; two daughters, Kathleen Layton Medl and Sara Layton Howe; a son, Thomas W. Layton; 12 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Carol “Cay” Zochert Wright, 89, of Edmond, Oklahoma, on June 4. At Coe, Cay was a member of Kappa Delta sorority and met her husband, Howard "Em" Wright ’51. Cay and Em were married on April 12, 1952, and immediately began life together in the U.S. Air Force — Em served and Cay followed and supported in every way. She set up housekeeping in several places in the U.S. and also overseas while raising four children, and she served for 23-plus years as a Red Cross volunteer. After Em's retirement, they moved to Edmond, and she again followed his lead as they immersed themselves in serving their new church family and their community. They loved singing in the choir and working with "One Incredible Moment,” serving as deacons and generally supporting the church in any way they could. Through the years, they worked with Habitat for Humanity and Citizens Concerned for Children, went on mission trips and were very active in the Cursillo/Pilgrimage community. Cay never regretted her decision to spend her final chapter at Bradford Village with the "family" she found there. She always enjoyed flowers, being with people, bridge, wine, her involvement with PEO, her summers at the lake in Wisconsin and being the matriarch (Granny or Gran-E) of her growing family. Cay is survived by her children, Deborah (Neil) Westby and Rebecca (Brad) Sutton; daughter-in-love, Carol Wright and Paul (Sara) Wright; 12 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her beloved husband, Em; and her cousin, Barbara Orelup Bacon ’57.
Russell Monson, 87, of Iowa City, Iowa, on May 16. Russell had a varied career ranging from agricultural safety research at the University of Iowa to helping people find jobs through the Iowa Workforce Development Center. He also served as a navigator in the U.S. Air Force out of Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho and helped run the family farm for a time after completing his service. Russell was a die-hard fan of the Cubs and the Hawkeyes and was an accomplished tennis player and Wii Bowling enthusiast. When not enjoying sports, he was reading mysteries; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and Ellery Queen Magazine were his favorites. He appreciated the Iowa City arts scene and was a supporter and frequent attendee of Riverside Theatre. Russell is survived by his children, Charles (Jessica) Monson and Jane (Thomas Welander) Monson; two grandchildren; and his brother, Don Monson.
Carol Lentz Vick, 86, of Fairfax, Virginia, on May 13. Carol earned her master’s degree from American University in 1986. She had a successful career as a teacher, first in the Chicago suburbs and then the Atlanta suburbs from 1966-1974. In 1974, the family moved to Virginia, and she worked for the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C., from 1974-1979. She joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a purchasing agent in 1979 and retired from the IMF in 1995. Carol and her husband, Randall Vick ’56, then enjoyed their retirement years in Boynton Beach, Florida. She was an avid sports fan and followed all of the Washington teams with great interest. She also closely followed news and politics, reading The Washington Post from cover to cover every day. Carol is survived by her son, Stephen and daughter-in-law, Libby; and two grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband, Randall; and her brother, William Lentz ’58 and sister-in-law, Jan Pierson Lentz ’59.
Dolores Klouda Leach, 85, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on July 17. Dolores shared her love of learning as an elementary school teacher in the Linn County area for many years. On June 10, 1962, she was wed to Gary E. Leach in Cedar Rapids. Dolores had many hobbies and talents including sewing, teaching and playing accordion, gardening, cooking and solving nearly every crossword puzzle that crossed her path. Her love for her family could be clearly felt through her steadfast support and interest in each person's life as well as holding holiday gatherings at which she served delicious homemade meals. Dolores is survived by her children, Julie Leach and David (Brenda) Leach; four grandchildren, including Meghan Hunter Zalewski ’13; one great-grandchild; her sister, Elaine (Terry) Moore; her brother-in-law, John Nicholson; her sister-in-law, Nancy Ochiltree; three nieces; and one nephew.
Jerry Milne Plotz, 84, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on April 4. On May 31, 1967, Jerry married the love of her life, Kenneth A. Plotz, in Panama City, Florida. She owned and operated the Dairyana Restaurant in Anamosa. Jerry loved traveling to Fort Myers Beach, Florida. She enjoyed planting flower gardens in the summer, swimming and being outside in the sun. She had an affinity for cats, especially Himalayan cats. She was an avid Iowa Hawkeyes fan. Her most cherished moments were spending time with her family. She was a loving caregiver to her grandchildren. Jerry is survived by her husband, Kenneth; her daughters, Julie (Kelley) Prull and Judie (Richard) Gofton; six grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and her brother-in-law, Larry Plotz.
Frances “Fran” Chaloupka Brown, 83, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on May 13. While at Coe, Fran was a member of Chi Omega sorority. Fran met Robert “Bob” Brown ’60 at Coe, and they were married on December 27, 1959, at Westminster Presbyterian Church. With the exception of Bob's time in the U.S. Air Force, the couple resided, worked and raised their family in Cedar Rapids. Fran's joy was found in her family, especially with her grandchildren, whom she adored, cared for and encouraged. Music was always important in Fran's life. As a young person, she played both the accordion and piano for numerous public events. She appeared with her accordion regularly on KCRI radio and television programs and was invited to play on Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour national TV show in New York City. Later in Cedar Rapids, she taught music in the Cedar Rapids school system and was the organist at Westminster Presbyterian Church for many years. She played at services for Cedar Memorial and for countless weddings over the years. Fran was a member of Kiwanis and played piano at their meetings and participated in their activities. She was an active member of First Presbyterian Church, where she served as a deacon. Most recently, she resided at Cottage Grove Place where she was lovingly cared for by the staff and made numerous friends while enjoying many social activities. Fran is survived by her son, Robert Lloyd Brown; her daughter, Susan Brown DeJong ’85 and her husband, Peter DeJong ’87; two grandchildren; a sister, MaryAnn McClain; and numerous cousins and other family members. She was predeceased by her husband, Bob.
Lowell Harkness, 88, of Marion, Iowa, on June 23. Lowell joined the U.S. Marine Corps after high school, serving three years during the Korean War. After serving his country, he attended Coe, where he was a member of the National Collegiate Honor Society, Phi Beta Kappa and graduated summa cum laude. He continued his education, earning his master's degree from the University of Iowa and was elected into the academic honor society Phi Delta Kappa. He taught for 33 years for the Cedar Rapids School District at Wilson Junior High School and then transferred to Taft Junior High School. Lowell had a passion for spending time with his family and many friends. His grandchildren held a very special place in his heart. He loved walking, biking, scuba diving, traveling and reading. He had a tremendous heart for God and all people. This was evident in how he served the Lord and cared for every individual. Lowell is survived by his high school sweetheart, Joan, with whom he celebrated 69 years of marriage this year; his son, Larry Harkness ’77 and his wife, Geralyn; his daughter, Cheryl (Ted) King; his son, Steven (Shelly) Harkness; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Robert Jones, 83, of Elmhurst, Illinois, on April 9. Robert was the proud owner of his own law practice, and he was a longtime attorney in Downer’s Grove. He was the beloved husband of his late wife, Carol, for over 60 years. He spent time with and was an honored member of Shriners International. He is survived by two grandchildren.
Gwendolyn “Gwen” Miller Johnson, 82, of Amarillo, Texas, on March 15. In addition to Coe, Gwen graduated from St. Luke’s School of Nursing. After living overseas for several years during her husband Charles’ early employment with Rockwell International, the family returned to the states and settled in Texas, where Charles continued to work for Rockwell. Gwen was a member of Faith Southwest United Methodist Church, where she served as a greeter every Sunday morning. She is survived by a daughter, Jill Ratliff and husband Ron; a son, Andy Johnson; four grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and one brother; Wes Miller.
Jack Greiner, 83, of Ada, Michigan, on May 15. At Coe, Jack met Marge Berni Greiner ’61, his best friend and wife of 60 years. Jack entered the Marine Corps reserves, where he completed basic training at Parris Island and Camp Lejeune. He then married Marge and began his sales career in the food and packaging industries. He was a sales manager in Kansas City, Cincinnati and Grand Rapids before founding Precision Packaging Inc. in 1975. Several years after his son was born, he took early retirement and escalated his community involvement and volunteer activities. Jack was known for his love of family, leadership ability, gregariousness, sense of humor, desire for travel and social activity, boating on Spring Lake at his summer home and midnight pilfering of donuts reserved for breakfasts at Boy Scout camping overnights. As assistant scout master of Boy Scout Troop 284, he enjoyed serving as one of the leaders accompanying the boys to High Adventure Bases in Seboomook, Maine, and Philmont, New Mexico. He was an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church, serving several terms on the Church Council and as a member of the choir for 30 years. He volunteered at Blandford Nature Center, where he gave farmstead life and maple syrup tours. He served 40 years on the board of directors of Preferred Credit Union, with most of them as president or secretary. Jack served several terms on the board of directors of Lutheran Social Services of Michigan, receiving a volunteer of the year award for his leadership of the President's Council; he also served several terms on the foundation board of that organization's successor, Samaritas. For his many years of tutoring first-graders at Collins Elementary School, Forest Hills Public Schools recognized Jack with the Ben Emdin Award in 2007. While serving as president of the Friends of the Grand Rapids Public Museum, he initiated the Friends Frolicking Fourth of July Party and served as its co-chair for a number of years. He also served on the Pension Review Board of Kent County Community Hospital and board of Faith Hospice. Jack and Marge travelled widely, visiting over 50 countries, and especially enjoyed cruises and adventure trips in Iceland, Nepal, Antarctica, Machu Picchu, Africa and taking each grandchild on a trip of their choice at age 10. Many hours were spent with their bridge and gourmet groups and at both the Pops and the Classical Music Series of the Grand Rapids Symphony. Jack is survived by his wife, Marge; his son, David (Lisa); his daughter, Susan Gutierrez (David); three grandchildren; his brothers, Bill Greiner and Bob Greiner (Deanne Tate); sisters-in-law, Winnie Stortzum (Jay), Bev Bernardo (Gene), Cynthia Mark (Steve) and Val Lagomarcino (Paul); and many nieces and nephews.
J. Dean Strom, 82, of Davenport, Iowa, on December 26. Dean was united in marriage to Karen “Sue” Martz in 1977. He was the supervisor of transportation for Davenport Community Schools for over 25 years. Dean loved music; he was the choir director at Christ United Methodist Church, played in the CASI Band, was in a circus and polka band and sang with the Good News Singers. He also was executive director of the Emerald Knights drum and bugle corps. Dean was an avid Iowa Hawkeye, Chicago Cubs and Bears fan. The thing that made him the happiest, though, was watching all of his grandchildren’s various activities. Dean is survived by his wife, Sue; his children, Dr. Steve (Shauna) Strom and Sherry (Mike) Stone; five grandchildren; his children from a previous marriage, Mike, Monica, Mark and Michelle; and his sisters, Lynne (Bob) Kuzmynski and Marti (Ken) Costensen.
James “Jim” York, 82, of Marshalltown, Iowa, on August 10. In May 1962, Jim enlisted in the U.S. Army, honorably serving his country for two years. After his return, he fell in love with Linda Lu Williams, and they were united in marriage on September 12, 1965, at Grace United Methodist in Marshalltown. Together they raised their three children in Marshalltown. A hard and dedicated worker, Jim spent 23 years with Marshalltown Manufacturing, followed by 20 years at Lennox Industries working in material acquisition and quality control engineering. Faith was very important to Jim, and he was a member of First United Methodist Church in Marshalltown. Jim is survived by his wife of 56 years, Linda; his children, Jan (Randy) Matheus, Jennifer (Jenni) York and David York; one grandchild; his siblings, Linda (Jim), Mary (Larry) and Russell (Jo) York; and several other relatives.
Sally Cary Martin, 78, of Altoona, Iowa, on July 18, 2018. Sally was an educator for Bondurant-Farrar schools for 36 years. She was involved with 4-H and enjoyed teaching obedience and dog training courses. She will be remembered for her kind heart and taking care of others before herself. Sally is survived by her children, Ray (Jami) Martin, Rex Martin and Jacqueline (Scott) Clasen; four grandchildren; and other loving family and friends.
William “Bill” Loftus, 80, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on March 31. While at Coe, Bill played on the football team and was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity. He married Janice Voss on March 31, 1983, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Bill worked for Wilson/Farmstead for 28 years and was an independent insurance agent following that. He was a member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Elks and TKE alumni association. Bill is survived by his wife of 38 years, Jan; his children, Bradley Loftus, Mindy (David) Karr, Kristy Loftus ’88, Randy Loftus, Brad (Renee) Voss, Gregg Voss and Eric (Gena) Voss; former wife, Judith Loftus; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Richard Reever, 82, of Fairfield, Iowa, on March 1. At Coe, Richard played on the football team. After graduating from Coe, he went on to earn his master’s degree in education at Northeast Missouri State University. While he was dedicated to his studies and athletics, he was equally dedicated to living life to its fullest and having a good time. He began his career in Bloomfield, Iowa, before moving to Fairfield, Iowa. At Fairfield High School, he taught history, consumer economics and physical education. In addition, he coached football, baseball, wrestling and track before retiring in 1997. During his coaching career, he was blessed to bring out the best of the players on the field and then in the classroom. Richard was devoted to public service, which came out particularly through his commitment to Fairfield Elks Lodge 1192. As a member of the Elks, he spent countless hours selflessly volunteering at the lodge picnic, wild game night, shrimp feed, after-prom parties, national hoop shoot and raising funds for a number of projects for the Elks and the kids of the community. He was the exalted ruler from 1984-1985 and 2004-2005. His heart came out through his service, and he spent his time doing what he was able to impact his community. In addition to coaching, teaching and public service, Richard, along with Art Hutton, formed H & R Painting. He painted houses from Iowa to Nevada with a boundless work ethic founded on his family's farm in Glidden. In 1964, Richard married Jan Hedges. His devotion and commitment to her was shared with their two children. It brought him great joy to be there while his kids, grandkids and great-grandkids grew and achieved their dreams and goals. Upon retiring from teaching, coaching and painting, Richard was able to pursue hunting and fishing with the same passion with which he enjoyed life. He spent many hours chasing quail, pheasant and deer through the Iowa woods and fields, grouse through the Minnesota woods and chukar and sage grouse through the Idaho hills. There also were many days spent up north at the cabin in Minnesota fishing for walleye and crappie. Richard is survived by his wife, Jan; his children, Jason Reever and Renee Olson (Mark); four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; his brother, Harry Reever (Judy); three nieces; and several cousins.
Jack Fridley, 85, of Strawberry Point, Iowa, on July 23. Prior to attending Coe, Jack attended various colleges and universities and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1955. That same year, he married Patricia I. Fitzpatrick. Together they spent the next two years stationed in Germany. In 1958, the couple moved to Cedar Rapids, where they both worked until Jack was able to complete his undergraduate education at Coe. After graduation, he taught school in western Iowa for the next two years. In 1964, Jack and Patty returned to Strawberry Point where Jack taught in the Starmont School District. Jack received his master’s degree in secondary education from Western New Mexico University in 1972. Jack and Patty began their family in 1963, with the adoption of their first son, Mark. A year later they adopted twins, Michelle and Michael. They continued to live in Strawberry Point, where they were involved with various civic duties while working and raising their family. In 1994, Patty underwent an organ transplant that was not successful, and she passed away shortly thereafter. Down the road, Jack began a life with Annes Kenney. Traveling and doing crafts were only some of the activities they enjoyed together. They shared an everyday ritual of having their coffee with friends. Jack enjoyed his teaching and being with young people. He taught for 30 years and retired in 1995. He also took pleasure in being an amateur radio operator and talking to people all over the world. In 1992, he learned the trade of shoe repair and set up a shop in his home. Some of his other hobbies included wood carving and playing golf. Jack is survived by his two sons, Mark and Mike Fridley; his daughter, Shelly (Don) Kleinlein; five grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and his special friend, Annes.
David Glidden, 77, of Algodones, New Mexico, on September 27, 2020. David earned his doctorate in physics from the University of New Mexico and worked at the Albuquerque Academy from 1973-2007. He taught physics, math and the academy’s first astronomy and electronic classes. In the late 1970s, David started the academy’s first computer science program, and in the 1980s he founded the school’s Science Olympiad and Science Bowl programs and helped to create a program that enriched science education for students statewide. Many of the academy’s alumni speak about the deep impact those programs had on them, instilling a passion for science and directing them to careers in STEM. In addition to teaching and creating opportunities for students in science extracurriculars, David coached football, track, soccer and skiing over his many years at the academy. Over the past five years, he was the No. 1 fan of the girls' varsity soccer team, attending every single game and event no matter the weather or his own health struggles. David and his wife, Kathryn Lindblom Glidden ’65, an accomplished artist, were married for 55 years. They lived a wonderful life in the adobe house they built themselves in Algodones, aided ably by David's students and friends. David is survived by his wife, Kathy; two sons, Ty and his wife, Megan, and Peter and his wife, Rocio; and three grandchildren.
Kenneth Hach, 77, of Alta, Iowa, on April 12. Kenneth was a talented athlete who loved baseball, football, fishing and water skiing, and as a speed skater, he participated in the U.S. Olympic tryouts. After graduating from Coe, he became the third generation in The Hach Company, a wholesale paper and chemical company. He was involved with the Cedar Rapids Jaycees, but besides sports, Ken's favorite "hobby" was as a deputy with the Linn County Sheriff's Department. In 1969, Kenneth married Bonnie Euler. They continued to live in Cedar Rapids, spending weekends with their family in their cabin on the Wapsipinicon River until they decided to move to Clayton County, where Ken's entrepreneurship blossomed. He pioneered alternative wind energy development, and he and several others encouraged then-Gov. Terry Branstad to pass legislation to reimburse excess energy production. Eventually, Kenneth was hired by Zond Energy (which became Enron Wind) to do wind farm development, and the family moved to Colorado for approximately six to seven years. He also spent a year in Maryland with a hydro developer, helping to develop a hydro project on the Illinois River. His foresight, ingenuity, entrepreneurial spirit and love of country can be seen all across the nation through the proliferation of the renewable energy industry through hydro, solar and wind energy. From Illinois, Zond Energy asked Kenneth to come back to Iowa and develop the first commercial wind energy projects in the Midwest in Buena Vista County and in Minnesota. Upon retiring, he served as a Buena Vista County supervisor. Kenneth enjoyed many outdoor adventures with his family. He and his family were members of Summit Evangelical Free Church in Alta. He helped his children learn the good old Iowa work ethic and to know and love Jesus as their savior. Kenneth is survived by his wife, Bonnie; his children, Greg (Brenda), Michael Denniston (Anne), Benjamin (Tressa), April Barrera (Edgar), Kenneth “Rob” Robert II (Tara) and Forrest (Sara); 19 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and a sister, Kendra Hach Long ’69 and her husband, William Long ’79. He was predeceased by his father, Robert Hach ’39.
Barton Hayward, 77, of San Antonio, Texas, on March 12. In addition to Coe, Barton attended Trinity University. That next summer, while visiting his parents serving as missionaries in Guyana, Bart received a call to inform him he had 24 hours to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces before being drafted for the Vietnam War. He flew back to Texas the next day and enlisted in the Navy where he served four years as a Federal Aviation Administration-certified traffic controller at the naval base in Adak, Alaska. He also earned a commercial pilot's license. Barton returned to Trinity University, graduating with his bachelor’s degree in microbiology. He was an entrepreneur, beginning in early childhood when he tried to sell steaks from the family's new freezer to neighbors for 10 cents apiece. While serving at the naval base in Adak, he babysat with the commander's children and worked on a king crab fishing vessel to make extra money. After college graduation, Barton and a friend started a janitorial business called Cleaning Systems. After becoming the sole owner, the company's clients grew to include a number of medical buildings and the Express News in San Antonio and approximately 200 employees. After selling the business, he launched into commercial polished, stained and dyed concrete under the name Texas Floors and Maintenance. Barton was a talented photographer, receiving his first camera on a family trip to Europe in 1957, which also sparked his love for travel. He is survived by his wife, Virginia Martin; his stepsons, Paul (Shellie) and Michael (Cindy); his sister, Judy Michel; four grandchildren; and twin great-grandchildren.
Alvin Lambert, 76, of Melbourne, Florida, on February 1.
George Dewey, 75, of Huntley, Illinois, on August 9. For 37 years, George served in the U.S. Air Force and Illinois Air National Guard as a pilot and later worked for the Federal Aviation Administration. George retired from military service as a lieutenant colonel, having served in both the Vietnam War and Desert Storm. He also was a dedicated steward to his church and community. George is survived by his wife of 54 years, Marjorie (Laing) Dewey; his daughters, Karin Dewey ’94 (Brit Sanders), Alison Dewey (Brian Hooker) and Amy Westbrook (Tavis); his sisters, Barbara (Dewey) Bohnhoff and Mary Dewey Hamilton ’55 and her husband, Jim Hamilton ’56; and five grandchildren. He was predeceased by his mother, Ruth Thompson Dewey ’27.
Margaret “Lynn” Miller Brosious, 74, of Dellwood, Minnesota, on August 21. At Coe, Lynn was a proud member of Chi Omega sorority. She spent her early professional years at 3M working in quality assurance and later at MGC Diagnostics. She will best be remembered for her infectious laugh, ability to find joy in all things, love of gardening and socializing at the Dellwood Country Club. Lynn is survived by her son, Gilbert; and one grandchild.
Evelyn Sorenson Petersen, 93, of Keystone, Iowa, on August 1. In addition to Coe, Evelyn graduated from Grandview College. She was united in marriage to Rubert "Bob" Petersen on March 24, 1949, in Chicago. The couple moved to Blairstown, Iowa, in 1957. Evelyn taught first and second grade at Benton Community School until her retirement in 1990. She moved to Van Horne, Iowa, in 2005 to be closer to her children. Evelyn loved all forms of creativity. She loved music and singing. She loved flowers and gardening. She sketched and painted, crocheted and knitted, upholstered and wallpapered and passed many of these talents, passions and skills on to her family. Her crocheted snowflakes were coveted by all her children, grandchildren and friends. Her frugality and ingenuity were legendary and often were the source of much teasing and laughter by her family. Frugality aside, she loved to go to Tama and gamble with her dear friends, Joan, Charlene and Sharon (Golden Girls Go Gambling). Evelyn was active in her church (Blairstown Presbyterian), Blairstown Legion Auxiliary and the Van Horne Floralia Guild. She was an election officer after her retirement, which she continued well into her 80s. Evelyn is survived by her children, Paul (Pat) Petersen, Peggy (Derrick) Pickering, Nancy Petersen and Ross (Christine) Petersen; nine grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; and her sister, Karen Madigan.
Michael Rose, 74, of Iowa City, Iowa, on August 21. Michael was an avid music lover and musician, reader, aviation buff and a wonderful comedic and dramatic storyteller. He was funny, kind, gentle and generous. For over 30 years, Michael worked as a dedicated high school special education teacher at West High School. He loved and advocated not only for his students but for the student body as a whole. In fact, in 1994, he was chosen by the graduates (only five were his actual students) to be their graduation speaker. Maybe his "wandering the halls" and getting to know the kids wasn't such a "waste of time." He deeply appreciated his family and friends, enjoyed his interactions with collaborators and strove to give back to the community he loved. He loved to talk and was able to connect with everyone he met. Michael is survived by his loving wife of 39 years, Jody; his daughter, Heather (Mike) LaMont; his son, Joshua (Christy); two grandchildren; his sister, Judy (Paul) Seiden; his in-laws, Bill, June, Jeff, Andy, Beth and Brooke; 12 nieces and nephews; many cherished friends; and his beloved cat, Ozzie.
John Raaz, 73, of Galena, Illinois, on April 24. At Coe, John was an all-conference quarterback on the football team. During college, he married Nicki Haupert, whom he had met when the two served on their junior high student council together. John was successful in his career and was a strong advocate for his son, Johnny, serving on several boards related to disability services. Through his participation in volunteer activities and sports, including serving on the volunteer fire department in the Galena Territory, John got to know a lot of folks he wouldn't otherwise have met. John spent 33 years with the Chicago NW Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad, living in several different locations in the Midwest. His career in labor relations was important to him, but what he valued most were the friendships with some of his work colleagues that continued long after retirement. In retirement, John considered golf his full-time job, heading out each morning to one of the Eagle Ridge courses. John was close with his family members, especially his siblings. One cousin who lived with John's family in high school became an "older brother" to John, a relationship that continued throughout their lives. In retirement they even lived together again, wintering with their wives in Tucson for many years. Many people recall John’s sense of humor and an Irish grin barely hiding his mischievous next move. Always gracious and accommodating, he was trusted, competitive, quick-witted, an unapologetic Democrat and a realist. John is survived by his wife, Nicole (Haupert) Raaz; his son, Johnny; his siblings, Janice Raaz Ryan, Jeff Raaz ’74 and his wife, Susan Bregant Raaz ’78, and Jerry Raaz and his wife, Julie; sister-in-law, Pam Peterson; and 11 nieces and nephews.
Joan Ronowski Luxon, 71, of Libertyville, Illinois, on March 21. Joan worked in education for over 20 years teaching at Hawthorn School District 73 and was an assistant principal at Woodland District 50. Before retiring, she obtained her doctorate from National-Louis University. She was an avid reader and loved to play mahjong, canasta and bridge with her friends. Joan is survived by her son, Seth Luxon (Kate); two grandchildren; her best friend and sister, Judy Klitzke; and a nephew and his family.
Artina “Tina” LaFrentz McCormick, 75, of Omaha, Nebraska, on April 6. Tina had a strong passion for music and started playing the piano at the age of 5. While at Coe, she took part in a tour of Europe while playing the clarinet. She enjoyed playing piano and created a career out of teaching piano. She entered her students in local competitions and held recitals throughout the years. She especially loved giving her grandchildren piano lessons because she got to spend extra time with them. Tina is survived by her children, Greg (Michelle) McCormick, Michael (Melynda) McCormick, Kristin (Charlie) McCormick and Katie (Andy) McCormick: her siblings, Donnette Thatcher, Linda Randall, Nancy Kirkwood and Peter LaFrentz; and 10 grandchildren.
David Smith, 81, of Burnside, Kentucky, on July 27. David served honorably in the U.S. Navy. He traveled all over the country when he worked for Hurco Manufacturing Co., and in 1999, he retired from the Defense Logistics Agency at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. He enjoyed golfing and fishing in his free time. David is survived by his son, Brian (Tracy) Smith; his daughter, Angela (Brian) McClain; his sister, Diane (Smith) O'Donnell; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Michael Svoboda, 74, of Youngstown, Ohio, on July 7. Michael joined the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam as a medic from 1969-1972. He received the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Vietnam Spec 91C20 USA MEDDAC for his service. Michael owned and operated Applied Environmental Technologies, a wastewater treatment service. He was a scuba diver and loved science fiction and “B movies.” He also enjoyed his cats, Hermes and Athena. Michael is survived by Sally Svoboda; his sons, John, Michael and David Svoboda; and five grandchildren.
Raymond Martens, 82, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on August 16. Raymond earned his CPA after graduating from Coe. He married Jacqueline Jo Erickson on October 8, 1961, in Des Moines, Iowa. He retired from West Steel in 1985 as an accountant. Raymond loved spending time with his family and especially his grandkids. He was an avid reader and enjoyed fishing and deer hunting. He looked forward to his annual deer hunting trip to the family farm each year, where he showed off his breakfast cooking skills each morning. He also was a big Iowa Hawkeyes fan in all sports. He and Jo had season football tickets for many years. Raymond is survived by his wife, Jo; his children, Doug (Brenda) Martens, Bonnie (John) Taylor and Jonathan (Gennie) Martens; eight grandchildren; one great-grandchild; his sister, Marcella Passow; and many nieces and nephews.
Karen Woods Damron, 67, of Navarre, Florida, on March 19. In December 1975, Karen married the love of her life, then-2nd Lt. Michael Damron ’75, who was attending flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama. After graduating from Coe, Karen received her commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, continuing a family history of service dating back to World War I (grandfather) and World War II (father). She served as an aircraft munitions and maintenance officer at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida, which would turn out to be her only Air Force tour. However, she would say she never quit serving as she followed her husband to Hurlburt Field in Florida, then on to Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, then Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, followed by Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico and finally back to Hurlburt Field. Karen was diagnosed with an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis and spent the last 30 years in a wheelchair but would not let her MS define her. She was her family’s guardian angel, keeping them together during long deployments, sharing the joys and sorrows of adolescence while shepherding a growing family, all with quiet dignity, grace and courage. Karen is survived by her husband of 45 years, retired Col. Michael Damron; three sons, retired Master Sgt. Brian (Kelly), Mark (Keri) and Capt. Scott (Kelly); two grandchildren; her mother, Virginia Woods; two brothers, Richard Woods ’74 (Rebecca "Becky") and Kent (Evelyn "Evie") Woods; her best friend and sister, Mary Lea Woods ’79; a special aunt, Barbara Skerry; a host of nieces and nephews including Nialle Woods Sylvan ’99; and other family members and friends.
Margaret “Meg” Hickman, 65, of Los Angeles, California, on May 30. After graduating from Coe, Meg moved to Los Angeles and started her own tax business, which she ran until the time of her death. She loved to travel, visiting many countries and places throughout the U.S. She was a collector of fine art and was proud of her art collection. Meg is survived by her brother, John; her cousin, Liz; her sister-in-law, Nancy; a niece and her family; and a nephew and his family.
Marilyn Tucker, 90, of Marion, Iowa, on April 7. Marilyn was the owner of Tucker Personnel Consultants (along with her husband, Bob) for many years until her retirement. She was a lifelong learner who always dreamed of attending college, and she achieved this goal when she completed her education at Coe as one of the first students to graduate in the Continuing Education Program. Marilyn's passion in life was helping to increase access for women seeking higher education. Through her 50-year relationship with American Business Women's Association, she advocated for young women to achieve both educational goals and equal opportunities in the workplace. She modeled her values and inspired through her roles of increasing influence held with this organization, first as North Central District vice president, then as national first vice president and then achieving the highest position in the organization as national president in 1970-1971. For the remainder of her life, Marilyn maintained an active role in shaping this organization and furthering women's access to higher education. As a result of her pivotal role in ABWA, she was identified and appointed by Iowa Gov. Robert Ray to multiple consecutive terms on the Iowa College Aid Commission and the Iowa Higher Education Loan Authority, ending in 1989. Her vision, focus and unceasing work ensured a lasting impact on countless students throughout the state. Marilyn was a member of the Immaculate Conception Parish and served as a volunteer with organizations that were close to her heart during her retired years. A long-term member of PEO, Marilyn fully supported their mission of providing educational opportunities for women worldwide. As a volunteer with the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, Marilyn demonstrated pride in her Czech heritage (her kolaches were legendary) and was a steadfast supporter of the Czech Guild. Marilyn is survived by two children, Daniel Tucker and Colleen Tucker ’79 and her husband, Gordon Shaffer ’74; two grandchildren; and a brother, Daniel Shima. She was predeceased by a daughter, Cynthia Tucker Shaffer ’76.
Dennis Smith, 61, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, on August 19, 2020. Dennis is survived by his friend, Gary; his brother, Richard Smith; a niece; a great-nephew; and many wonderful friends.
James “Jim” Willis, 49, of Waverly, Iowa, on April 24. At Coe, Jim was a four-year letter winner in tennis and also earned letters in basketball and football. After graduating from Coe, he started his career in the customer service and management areas at McLeodUSA in Cedar Rapids. He was united in marriage to Nicole Richmond on June 20, 1998, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Cedar Rapids. Jim continued with McLeodUSA until 2001, when he accepted a position as a producer in the employee benefits area at 1st Insurance Services in Waverly. It was there that he became very passionate about health insurance and employee benefits. He worked to become an expert in the field and became a trusted advisor to his clients. In 2015, Jim branched off to start his own business, Willis Benefits. In 2017, he became a partner with the Group Benefit Partners family. Jim was a devoted husband and father, a loyal brother and son and a great friend to many. He volunteered in many ways while in the Waverly area including coaching his kids in several of their youth sports. He was a former chairman of Waverly Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Development and was a member of the Waverly Economic Development Commission. He also served as the head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Wartburg College for six seasons from 2002-2007. Jim embraced the Waverly community completely and left a lasting impact on the many lives he touched. Jim is survived by his wife, Nicole Willis; their three children, Luke, Brooke and Brady Willis; his parents, Robert and Lani Willis; a brother, Rick (Kelly) Willis; a sister, Barb (Dan) Randall; three aunts, Nancy Willis, Barb Volk and Linda Tyler; three nephews; his father and mother-in-law, Robert and Bonnie Richmond; two brothers-in-law, Bart (Malinda Barnes) Richmond and Jason (Julie) Richmond; two sisters-in-law, Monique Richmond and April (Chad) Rickertsen; and several nieces and nephews on the Richmond side.
Judith “Judy” Briggs, 78, of Marion, Iowa, on April 22. Prior to Coe, Judy earned her associate degree in liberal arts from Kirkwood College in 1985. She began working as a provisioning analyst at Collins Radio in 1962. In 1999, her mother needed her, and she retired at that time. In 1992, she was elected to the National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Judy was saved and baptized at First Baptist Church in Manchester. Later in her life she attended services at Oakland Church of the Nazarene in Cedar Rapids. For a few years, Judy was in a bowling league. She was an avid reader and liked her daily mini can of Coca Cola, a small bag of Cheetos and an occasional fudge nutty bar. Her TV fare was opera, cooking shows, Rachael Ray, Jeopardy, lots of programs on IPTV, football, figure skating and horse racing. Judy enjoyed the many cats and dogs she and her family had over the years. Her cat, Michaela, was very dear to her, and they will rest together, along with several other departed critter members of the family. Judy is survived by her two sisters, Charlotte Briggs and Della Gilbert; two nieces; and her furry felines, Suzanna and Sushi.
Brian “B.J.” Johnson, 50, of Mount Vernon, Iowa, on July 24. Prior to Coe, B.J. attended the University of Iowa. B.J. is survived by his parents, Marty and Vicky Johnson; his sister, Michelle Reimers; one niece; two aunts, Laura Kokesh and Charline Covert; two uncles, Jay Bond and Alan Johnson; and seven cousins.
Dorothy Plagmann, 98, of Norway, Iowa, on April 10. At Coe, Dorothy was a member of Mortar Board and National Honor Society. Dorothy lived on a Century Farm outside Norway, Iowa, since 1953. She was a faithful member of the Norway United Methodist Church. She was an avid quilter. Over the years, Dorothy made many crafts and generously crocheted over 6,000 baby caps for St. Luke's Hospital, where she volunteered for 18 years for St. Luke's Auxiliary and Volunteers. She also did volunteer work for Red Cross. Dorothy was a member of the Benton County Farm Bureau and Jolly Dames and was an active 4-H leader, where she was made an honorary member. She contributed pieces to the Iowa SesquiCentennial quilt and a block for the Iowa Farmer Today quilt and made blocks for St. Luke's Hospice quilts. She exhibited in state and local fairs. She was a member of the Eagles Auxiliary in Cedar Rapids and Thimble Twisters Sewing Club. She was a member of the Kirkwood Alumni Board for four years and had been active in various school and local community activities. Dorothy and her husband, Merritt, spent 17 winters in Mesa, Arizona, until his death in 1989. One of her favorite quotes, "It's not how much you do but how much you help others," exemplified her life. Dorothy is survived by two daughters, Sharon (Tom) Harrington and Vicki (Gary) Boddicker; one son, Ron (Darlene) Plagmann; six grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.
Physical plant team member Lee Schneidermann, 59, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on May 26. Lee served in the U.S. Army for four years and joined the Coe physical plant team in 1995. A highly skilled carpenter, his most recent service to Coe was in the role of locksmith. He always knew how to make the people around him laugh, and one of his greatest joys was being a grandparent. Lee is survived by his wife, Mary Kaye; his children, Molly Schneidermann ’12, Maggie Schneidermann ’14, Michael, Jeni Wilson ’05 and Jeffrey; and his grandchildren.
Elnora H. and William B. Quarton Professor Emeritus of Economics and Business Administration Ramakrishna “Vaidi” Vaitheswaran, 92, of Des Moines, Iowa, on August 30. Vaidi earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from Osmania University in India. His academic and activist streak led him through careers as a journalist, speaker and professor. He met his wife, Janaki, during college and they married on May 21, 1958. He immigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1967 to teach political science and multicultural affairs. He then worked to earn his doctorate in economics from Iowa State University. In 1973, Vaidi moved to Cedar Rapids and taught in Coe’s Department of Business Administration and Economics for 26 years. He volunteered across the decades to promote cross-cultural understanding and tolerance. He sustained his intellectual curiosity during retirement, spending each day absorbing newspapers and books from his immense library and sharing books and stories with his beloved grandchildren. Vaidi is survived by his two daughters; a son-in-law; two grandchildren; a sister; many nieces and nephews; and a host of friends, colleagues and former students.