Spring 2020 Courier Obituaries



Alvin Hurtt, 100, of Springfield, Oregon, on December 5. Alvin earned his master’s degree from the University of Illinois in 1941. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and remained in the active reserve, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. Following the war, Alvin began 31 years of federal service with the Veterans Administration in California and Washington, D.C., where he worked as chief of management, personnel planning and development. He retired in 1977 and moved to Springfield. He was an active member of the Presbyterian church, serving in many capacities including deacon, elder and treasurer. In 1956 he was the 28th person to reach the summit of Mount Huxley, a 13,086-foot mountain in the California Sierras. Alvin is survived by a daughter, Maryann Hurtt; a son, James Richard Hurtt; and two grandchildren.

Primrose Selden Jackson, 100, of Indianola, Iowa, on December 13. Primrose worked as a book editor for Iowa State University Press. She was a member of Chi Omega Sorority, PEO and St. Alban’s Episcopal Church. Primrose is survived by two daughters, Marcy Harrison and Betsy Raney; a sister, Anne Miehe; eight grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.


Monita Hayes Ebersole, 97, of Wyoming, Iowa, on November 13. Monita took graduate courses at Marycrest College. She first worked as a home economics and biology teacher in Charlotte where she also coached girls’ basketball and softball and was the assistant high school principal. She then taught at Delmar (later Delwood) and managed her family’s farm. Monita was an active and devoted member of the Delmar United Methodist Church and the United Methodist Women. She worked as a Methodist Youth Fellowship leader, Sunday school teacher, lay leader, Vacation Bible School teacher and shepherdess for the Dubuque District. She served as a 4-H leader and taught classes in making Christmas decorations and holiday baking. She also was a member of the Iowa State Education Association and New Century Club and was a charter member of the Maquoketa Peace Pipe Players. Monita is survived by two daughters, Connie Zamastil and Carolyn Munson; a special son, Dan Heister; a special daughter, Stacey Heister; one grandchild; one great-grandchild; and several nieces and nephews.


Dorothea Moser Huebner, 96, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on September 22. Dorothea began her teaching career in 1953 at Creston High School and would continue as an educator at schools in Waterloo and Cedar Rapids, as well as Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. She also became an award-winning drama and public speaking coach. Dorothea traveled extensively with her late husband to all 50 states and many countries in Europe. She served as a docent at the Brucemore historic site in Cedar Rapids and was an expert in historical residential properties in the city. She also was a member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority, PEO, Shakespeare Club and several book clubs and bridge clubs. Dorothea is survived by a son, Charles Huebner; four grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

Kathryn “Kay” Wandel LaFontaine, 96, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on July 28. Kay is survived by a daughter, Renee; and three sons, David, John and Joel.


Gwen Cravens, 101, the wife of Jay Cravens ’46, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on February 20, 2019. Gwen attended Hamline University. She was an avid genealogist and wrote and published a comprehensive genealogy of her family titled “The Sanders Family of New England and Some Connected Lines.” Gwen is survived by two daughters, Melissa Serfling and Lucinda Weston; six grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; one first cousin; and several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband of 69 years, Jay.


Elaine Alles Rygr, 93, of Lisbon, Iowa, on September 25. Elaine taught in the Cedar Rapids School District for more than 37 years, retiring in 1987. She was a member of St. Paul's United Methodist Church. Elaine is survived by a sister, Mary Perrin; a niece; and a nephew.

Mary Aossey Joslin, 92, of Torrance, California, on November 12. Mary spent her career as an educator. She is survived by four daughters, Ann Wallace, Julie Donnelly, Carol Martensen and Kim Joslin; seven siblings, Lucille Barber, James Aossey, Jumelie Cherif, Zakea Adams, Anace Aossey, Sophie Lafferty and Kamel Aossey; six grandchildren; and numerous extended family members. She was predeceased by her husband, Donald Joslin ’49.

Ruth Coates Lauther, 93, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, on October 26. Ruth was a member of Kenwood Park Presbyterian Church and Kirk in the Pines Presbyterian Church. She was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and volunteered with many organizations including Heifer Project International, local hospitals, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and March of Dimes. She also supported the arts, public radio/television and community endeavors. Ruth is survived by a son, James; a daughter, Susan; five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.


Melvin “Squib” Collins, 95, of Downers Grove, Illinois, on October 27. He is survived by two children, Jodi Sullivan and Jan Collins.


Beverly Blencoe Lawrence, 90, of Edwardsville, Illinois, on November 28. Beverly worked as an ophthalmologist assistant at Washington University School of Ophthalmology. She was a former member of Northminster Presbyterian Church. Beverly is survived by a daughter, Linda Grinter; a sister, Maurita Haldy; five grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; a niece; and a nephew. She was predeceased by a daughter, Sydney Lawrence Ortmann ’73.


Annalee Clemons Oakes, 88, of Shoreline, Washington, on October 25. Annalee had a long professional career in nursing and nursing education. She is survived by her husband of 65 years, Phillip Oakes; three daughters, Alice Johnson, Joyce Oakes and Anne Strand; three grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

JoAnn Laatz Hustis, 88, of Marseilles, Illinois, on November 6. JoAnn first worked as an operator at Marseilles Telephone and then began a career in journalism. She started at the World Press in Marseilles and retired from The Ottawa Times after 25 years. After retiring, she worked at the Morris Daily Harold for over 10 years and freelanced for Antique Week. JoAnn is survived by a son, Roger Hustis; and a daughter, Adele Hustis. 


Max Daehler Jr., 85, of Belmont, California, on August 27. He is survived by his wife, Heidi Daehler; a son, Kristoffer Daehler; and two brothers, Walter “Rocky” Daehler ’52 and Mark Daehler ’55. He was predeceased by his father, former Coe music professor Max Daehler Sr.; and his mother, Mary Bingham Daehler ’25.


Joanne Andrews Pappas, 85, of Denver, Colorado, on October 24. While at Coe, Joanne was president of Alpha Xi Delta sorority and was named Homecoming Queen and Acorn Beauty. She went on to train as an airline stewardess and was named Queen of the Sky Ways by United Airlines. She then earned her bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University and became an accomplished real estate professional in the Denver area. Joanne is survived by her husband, Chris Pappas ’57; four daughters, Laurie Navarro, Teri Pappas, Anastasia Pappas Fuller and Carla Kenney; and seven grandchildren.

Mary Ann Filipi Saks, 84, of Germantown, Maryland, on May 9. Mary Ann worked as a camp counselor at Camp Lake Hubert in Minnesota and taught piano lessons while living temporarily in France. She later served as meetings director for the National Solid Wastes Management Association for over 20 years. Mary Ann is survived by her husband, Samuel Saks; five children, Rorie Rafajko, Ron Rafajko, Robin Gentzel, Rod Rafajko, Rebecca Caiafa; two stepchildren, LeeAnn Dunn and Michael Saks; a brother, Charles Filipi; 14 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; two nephews; and one niece. She was predeceased by her mother, Marie Hall Filipi ’23.

Ahmed Sheronick, 93, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on November 9. Ahmed taught economics at Tulane University until he graduated from Tulane with a master’s degree in economics in 1958. He then worked for Prudential Insurance for over 50 years, becoming a top-tier salesman helping many clients reach financial independence. Ahmed was a member of the Cedar Rapids Islamic Center, where he served as a volunteer interim imam (clergy) off and on for many years. He also was proud to be a lifelong 32nd Degree Freemason and member of the Scottish Rite. Ahmed is survived by his wife of 57 years, Ghannia; two sons, Omar and Hussein “Sam” Sheronick ’88; a daughter, Bedora; and many nieces and nephews.


Jean Thompson Imoehl, 93, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on November 10. After graduating from Coe, Jean took graduate courses through the University of Iowa. She then taught elementary education for 39 years, spending most of that time at Johnson Elementary and retiring in 1986. Jean was an active volunteer through many service clubs and organizations. She delivered patient mail at Mercy Hallmar and served funeral lunches at St. Matthews, where she was a longtime member. She served on the Foster Care Review Board for 10 years. She was very involved in Elks Club No. 251, helping to deliver dictionaries and drug awareness coloring books to all third-grade classes in the Cedar Rapids and surrounding area schools for many years. She helped with the Special Ed Prom Night, served veterans lunches in Marshalltown and helped to serve at the Elks Sunday brunches. She was honored as Elk of the Year in 2010 and 2011 and Sweetheart of the Year in 2002 and 2003. Jean also was a member of the Mercy and St. Luke's auxiliaries, Retired Teachers, PEO, University Club and was a former member of Elmcrest Country Club. She was also extremely honored to be nominated as one of KCRG's Nine Who Care in 2012. Jean is survived by a daughter, Renee Taschner Weeter; a sister, Peggy Orcutt; a dear friend and companion, Irene; two grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

Delores Ward Lathrop, 84, of Mason City, Iowa, on December 14. Delores worked for a short time before becoming a stay-at-home mom to her four children. In 1975, she became the co-manager of Lathrop Farms, where she worked until her retirement. Throughout her life, she was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, Women's Coalition, Waterloo Fire Department Auxiliary and her church. Delores is survived by her husband of 63 years, Allen Lathrop; three sons, Dan, Dave and Dana Lathrop; a daughter, Kathy Mele; nine grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.


Eugene “Gene” Zhorne, 82, of Longview, Texas, on October 5. In addition to Coe, Gene attended the University of Iowa and Boise State. He was a minister who loved Bible study and valued conviction and integrity. Gene is survived by his wife, Connie Nachazel Zhorne ’60; three sons, Jeff, Scott and Matt Zhorne; and five grandchildren.


Michael Malina, 74, of Bolingbrook, Illinois, on July 7. Michael is survived by a brother, Marshall Malina; and a sister, Ellyn Malina.


Stephen “Steve” Gray, 70, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, on October 2. While at Coe, Steve was a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity and the basketball and football teams. After graduating from Coe, Steve served in the U.S. Air Force for 24 years. His Air Force career included serving as an air controller in Vietnam and later as squadron commander, advisor, staff officer and director. As a weapons controller on the EC-121 Constellation Early Warning Aircraft, he was assigned to Panama, California and Iceland. Steve served as director of the Air National Guard Recruiting and Retention Program at the Pentagon and was the Air National Guard advisor to the commander in chief of the United States Air Forces Europe while stationed in Germany. His military awards included the Bronze Star Medal, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, Vietnam Armed Forces Service Medal First Class, Air Force Commendation Medal, First Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, First Oak Leaf Cluster and the U.S. Air Force Master Weapons Controllers Badge. After retiring from the Air Force in 1994 with the rank of lieutenant colonel, Steve became the military advisor for Arkansas Congressman (now governor) Asa Hutchinson. Steve then went to work for Congressman (now senator) John Boozman as the senior military and veteran’s advisor. His most rewarding accomplishment was the presentation of medals to honor Arkansas veterans for their military service. He conducted close to 1,000 ceremonies and personalized each one for the respective veteran’s military service. Steve retired from Sen. Boozman’s office in 2015. He held leadership positions in many civic and veterans service organizations including Lions Club, American Legion, Northwest Arkansas Veterans Day Association and the Fayetteville National Cemetery Advisory Council. He also volunteered with Fayetteville Exchange Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, Fayetteville Autumnfest Committee, Singing Men of Arkansas, Veterans Healthcare System of the Ozarks, Military Officers Association of America, Hospice of North Arkansas and Walton Arts Center. In October 2018, Steve was inducted into the Arkansas Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame. In September 2019, the mayor of Fayetteville proclaimed October 7, 2019, to be “Stephen Gray Day” in honor of his contributions to veterans and his advocacy for the needs of service members across the state, along with his tireless community service. Steve is survived by his wife of 43 years, Sharon; a daughter, Heather; three sisters, Diane Gray Herbst, Jacquelyn Gray Harwood and Pamela Gray Burns; a brother, Preston Gray; 19 nieces and nephews; and many great-nieces and -nephews.


Franklin “Joe” Nosek, 67, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on October 27. Joe worked as a quality manager at Quaker Oats for 35 years before retiring in 2011. He is survived by a son, Nick Nosek; two daughters, Emily Wiltsey and Jennifer Nosek; his mother, Patricia Nosek; a sister, Pamela Nosek; a brother, Patrick Nosek; special friend, Candie; six grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.


Marilyn Fuller Delong, 75, of Long Beach, California, on November 23. After graduating from Coe, Marilyn earned a master’s degree. She worked in hospitals, taught nursing and wrote numerous health care-related articles, continuing education courses and a book. She is survived by a daughter, Christine.


Russel “Scott” Mansfield, 62, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on September 29. Russel is survived by a brother, Michael Mansfield; and a sister, Erin Mansfield.


Glenn O’Dell, 54, of Naples, Florida, on August 18. Glenn was the owner and operator of Pickles Peppers Pots and Pans in Pontiac, Illinois, for several years. He is survived by his father, Glenn C. Odell.


Jim Montague, 71, of Troy Mills, Iowa, on December 6. Jim served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He studied journalism at the University of Missouri and had a story published in Coe’s Turning Up the Leaves collection in 2000.


Ashlea Betzen Miyauchi, 39, of Fordland, Missouri, on November 24. Ashlea attended Harvard Divinity School. She taught English in Japan and at Missouri State University. Ashlea is survived by her husband, Naoki Miyauchi; twin sons, Kay and Sho Miyauchi; her parents, Ted and Kathy Betzen; a brother, Michael; and two sisters, Hillary and Brianna.