Summer 2022 Courier Obituaries



Gladys M. Hellman Cunningham, 100, of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, on January 20. Gladys attended elementary and high school in Paulina, Iowa, graduating at 16 years old. She attended Coe College, where she was a member of the Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority. Following college, Gladys was a schoolteacher in Missouri Valley, Iowa, then moved to Chicago to become a flight attendant for United Airlines. From there she joined The Marshall Fields Company as the Executive Secretary. Gladys married William Maxwell Cunningham in 1951. They resided in Skokie and Deerfield, Ill., until moving to Lake Geneva, Illinois in 1972. Gladys was instrumental in founding Kings Way Estates in Zion, Illinois with her husband in the early 1960s. Gladys continued to operate the business for many years after his death. Gladys was an involved member of Linn Presbyterian Church for nearly 50 years. She loved playing bridge and assembled a core group of friends that played weekly bridge games with her for decades. Gladys is survived by her son Robert (Beth) L. Cunningham, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


Lorraine E. Radke, 97, of Savanna, Illinois, on January 10. Lorraine received a bachelor’s degree from Coe College in 1945 and a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin. Her teaching career began at North Park College in Chicago, where she taught Spanish. In 1952, she moved to Wisconsin where she taught at White Fish Bay. She also taught part-time at the University of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Area Technical College for several summers. Lorraine taught all four levels of Spanish in high school, was a recipient of numerous awards for her contributions to foreign language education and held many offices dedicated to education. Retiring from teaching in 1987, Lorraine remained active into her final months. She could even be spotted riding her bicycle to the grocery store well into her 90s and always maintained a beautiful garden at her home in Milwaukee. She was an avid fan of the Packers and Brewers and loved attending local museums, zoos, botanical gardens, cultural events and social events ranging from ushering at the Pabst Theater to evenings playing cards. Lorraine loved to travel the world, including trips to China, Spain, Hawaii and over 33 class trips to Mexico. Lorraine is survived by her nephew, Dale Brown; great-nephew Frank (Lauree) Brown; great-niece, Mandy (Donavon) Dewitt; great-great nephews, Cobretti and Christian Castro; and great-great niece Carmendee Castro.


Virginia “Ginny” Bowles Taylor, 96, of Ft. Myers, Florida, on January 15. Ginny graduated magna cum laude from Coe College with a double major in French and Spanish and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. After graduating, Ginny met Bob Taylor at the First Baptist Church in Oak Park and they married Oct. 23, 1948. In 1968, Ginny returned to the workforce as a teacher's aide at Cloverdale School for two years. She then accepted a position as Community Relations Director of Little Friends, Inc. in Naperville, Illinois. In 1980, she became secretary to the superintendent of the McAuley School. Ginny and Bob's church home was Trinity Episcopal Church in Wheaton, Illinois. She became active as a Sunday School teacher, a member of Episcopal Church Women, bell choir, Education for Ministry and the Trinity Vestry. She enjoyed volunteering her time, talents and love with Hospice of DuPage and Public Action to Deliver Shelter. Ginny is survived by her sons, Greg (Cathy) Taylor of Wellborn, Texas, Jeff Taylor of Keller, Texas and Brad (Kathy) Taylor of Warrenville, Illinois; six granddaughters; and four great-grandchildren.


Mardella “Mardy” Hermann, 96, of Cedar Falls, Iowa, on January 9. Mardy’s master’s degree in social work at the University of Denver helped prepare her for a lifetime of service helping others. After college she took a job with the Black Hawk County Department of Public Welfare and then joined the American Red Cross in 1953. From her start as a case aide to high-level positions such as Hospital Field Director and Regional Director in European Headquarters, she retired after 35 years with many commendations to her credit. Although never married, Mardy always stayed well connected to her family in Iowa, where she would return to live after retirement in 1988. Mardy had a deep passion for the American Red Cross and the travels that came with it. She relocated several times, including Japan and Germany, and traveled extensively in her spare time to Egypt, Macau, Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong and Greece. One of Mardy’s favorite photographs showed her riding a camel next to the pyramids. After retirement in San Francisco she continued to travel and volunteer for the Red Cross. One year after retirement, she assisted the Red Cross in the aftermath of the Loma Prieto earthquake, not far from where she lived. Mardy was an avid reader and lover of animals of any type, especially birds and dogs. Her Scottie, Kilt, was a favorite. She also liked to collect items from her travels and had an extensive display of antique keys and Asian artifacts. She was active in the Cedar Falls Methodist Church after retirement. She was known for her quick wit and was always ready with a humorous story from her travels. Mardy is survived by her sister Shirley Hansen, nephew Bill (Deb) Hansen, niece Mary (Jerome) Johnson and niece Barb (John) Goin.

Robert “Bob” B. Ilten, 96, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on January 2. Robert was baptized, confirmed and married at Trinity Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids. He served his country during World War II (1943-45) in the U.S. Navy Air Corps. He met his wife of 74 years, Patricia “Pat” Ann Owens ’47, at Coe College where he received his bachelor’s in economics. He later earned his master’s in business from Michigan State University. In 1948, he started a lifelong career in sales and marketing with Libby, McNeill & Libby, retiring as Midwest Regional Vice President. During his early years with the company, the family moved multiple times throughout the United States. Bob and Pat were blessed with four children, Mark (Karen), Marsha (Mike), Joel (Teresa), and Joan (Dave), 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Robert was active in church and charitable affairs throughout his life. He was one of the seven founders of Harvesters, a Kansas City area community food network. He was also a strong supporter of Kansas City Metropolitan Lutheran Ministries and served his church, Zion Lutheran in Prairie Village, Kansas, in many capacities including president. Pat and Bob loved to travel. Their favorite foreign travels included trips to China, Russia, the Holy Land and multiple trips to Germany and Austria. They also relished trips to visit their children and attend many Ilten family reunions. Bob enjoyed tending the yard and garden at the family home in Leawood, Kansas where he and Pat lived for almost 50 years.

Robert A. Johnston, 97, of Sun City West, Arizona, on December 23. Bob graduated from Coe College and did some graduate work at Northern Illinois University. Bob played trumpet in jazz bands in high school and college and enjoyed playing his trumpet along with big band records. Bob's college years were interrupted while he served in the Army in Europe during World War II. He was a POW in a German prison camp for four months before being liberated by Russian Cossack riders. After being held for about a month by the Russians, he managed to escape and make it back to the American zone at Leipzig, Germany. Bob was discharged in November 1945, and returned to college in January 1946. Bob and his wife, Helen, were married in 1948. They made their home in Mt. Morris, Ill. where they raised their two daughters and where Bob was employed at Kable Printing Company. In 1997 Bob and Helen moved to Sun City West, Arizona to enjoy the sunshine and play golf, bridge and pool; he also became active in the Agua Fria group of Ex-POWs. Bob and Helen enjoyed traveling and exploring new places. Bob is survived by his two daughters, Pat Watson and Carol Jones; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Mary E. Phinney Crabbs, 95, of Loughman, Florida, on January 26. Mary met her husband, Robert, when she attended Coe College. Later in life she earned a master’s degree in education from Hofstra University and provided administrative support to its Psychological Evaluation and Research Center. She and Robert raised six children on Long Island, New York–three boys and three Korean girls adopted as babies. In 1984, Mary “retired” to Florida, where she worked for the Haines City United Methodist Church and volunteered at Heart of Florida Hospital. Mary was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church in Haines City, Florida for almost 40 years as a dedicated member of the Church Choir and the XYZ Club. In recent years she also became a virtual member of her daughter-in-law’s church in Ashland, Virginia. Mary’s interests included building doll houses and playing piano. She loved animals and enjoyed taking visitors to Walt Disney World. Above everything else, Mary was a Christian woman who loved the Lord and served Him faithfully. She generously supported many charities and consistently put others before herself. Together with Robert, Mary initiated the annual Angel Tree program (Christmas gifts for the children of inmates) at First Presbyterian Church and led it for over 20 years. She is remembered as encouraging, loving, giving, humble, organized, compassionate and non-judgmental. Her constant optimism blessed all those who knew her. She is survived by her sons, David (Eva) Crabbs, Robert Crabbs and Kenneth (Linda) Crabbs; sons-in-law, Jeffrey Callaghan and Robert Glauda; five grandchildren; great-grandchild Nicholas Crabbs; brother, Edward (June) Phinney; sister, Margaret Wetzel; and brother-in-law, Colan Barber.


Albion Jay Young, 94, of Donnellson, Iowa, on Wednesday, January 19. As a child, Albion raised poultry on the family farm southwest of Donnellson, Iowa, selling enough poultry and eggs to buy his own silver French horn. The French horn was to become the beginning of a lifelong love of music. While attending Coe College, Albion volunteered for military service and became an Army parachutist. He served during the U.S. occupation of Japan in 1947 and played in the military band. Following military service Albion returned to Coe College and earned his bachelor's degree. While at Coe he played French horn with the college band and the Cedar Rapids Symphony. He was honored to play with the Coe band in Washington, D.C., at the inauguration of President Harry S. Truman. Albion went on to earn his law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law, passing the Iowa Bar exam in 1953. Albion married Vionne Claudine Longstreth of Elma, Iowa on July 31, 1955. The couple started their lives together in Wellman, Iowa where Albion began his career practicing law. Albion served the people of Wellman as the town lawyer for over 61 years, retiring in 2014. Albion was active in community affairs. He served as president of the Wellman Rotary Club, the Wellman Lions Club, the Wellman Community Club and the Washington County Bar Association. He served on the Wellman Savings Bank board of directors and was active in planning the Wellman municipal building, the development of the community park and the municipal natural gas system. Albion was an avid gardener. He enjoyed giving neighbors fresh vegetables during the growing season and had a special interest in growing many varieties of tomatoes. Along with gardening, Albion loved to play competitive bridge as a member of the American Contract Bridge League in Iowa City. Albion achieved lifetime master's status and his bridge playing group won their share of local and regional tournaments. Albion was a member of the Asbury United Methodist Church in Wellman where he and his wife Vionne enjoyed singing in the choir for over 40 years. Albion is survived by his sons Robert and Brian (Janet); three grandchildren; his brother John A. Young (Joy); and many nieces and nephews.

James F. Van Antwerp, 94, of Ottumwa, Iowa, on January 29. James graduated from Coe College and the University of Iowa dental school in Iowa City. From 1951 to 1995, he practiced dentistry in Atlantic, Iowa, except for a brief hiatus to serve in the Korean War as a dentist. While living in Atlantic, he and his wife Marilyn raised two children, Mary and Jim. Upon retiring from dentistry he moved to Reno to be near his son Jim and three grandchildren. A lifelong fan of athletics, James lettered in multiple sports in high school and college and played basketball for the University of Iowa while attending dental school. During his years in Atlantic, he could usually be found on the golf course on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. To his golfing buddies, he was known as Doc or Jimmy. He won numerous regional amateur tournaments. Retiring in Reno afforded him the opportunity to enjoy not only his grandchildren, but the many quality courses in the area. He remained remarkably sharp to his last day, remembering the smallest details about the lives of the people around him. All will miss his kind and thoughtful nature. He is survived by his daughter Mary (Robin) Keil; son Jim (Michella) Van Antwerp; and four grandchildren.


Nancy Lou Brinkmann Buckley, 92, of Batavia, Illinois, on January 19. Nancy attended Coe College and was a longtime member of Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Aurora. Nancy was united in marriage to Paul F. Brinkmann in 1952 at Emmanuel. They were married for 28 years until Paul's passing in 1980. She then married William Buckley of Aurora in 1991 at St. Mary's Catholic Church. She is survived by her five children, Paula Mode, Daniel Brinkmann, Christine O'Malley, Julie (Bob) Reaumond and John Brinkmann; three stepchildren, Kathleen Buckley, Kevin (Penny) Buckley and Maurene (Dan) Rogers; 10 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

LaVerne M. Swanson Tucker, 92, of Sandusky, Ohio, on December 20. After 11 moves and attending 11 different schools, the Swanson family settled in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where LaVerne graduated from Franklin High. She was working at the telephone company and attending Coe College when she met her future husband, Irvin “Tommy” Tucker ’50, on a blind date. When LaVerne and Tommy were married in Cedar Rapids on January 9, 1949, Tommy sang "I Love You Truly" as his loving young bride walked down the aisle. During their years in Iowa, they raised three children: Marcia, Terry and Robin. LaVerne wore many hats — devoted wife, caring mother, loving daughter and daughter-in-law, vice president and secretary of three family businesses, realtor, Sunday school teacher and preschool program coordinator, Cub Scout den mother, Coe College student, kind mother-in-law and loving grandma. Vacations to the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri with family and dear friends created many special memories for LaVerne. Throughout her life, she frequently strived to create meaningful, joyful memories for family members and friends. LaVerne was an advocate and positive role model for life-long learning. She established a merit scholarship in art and religion in her father's name and a business and economics prize at Coe College. LaVerne was a member of P.E.O., an unaffiliated philanthropic educational organization for women. After she and Tom moved to Tucson, Arizona, LaVerne kept busy with a variety of service projects and political endeavors, church, intercessory prayer and social and recreational activities. While remaining Iowa Hawkeye fans, she and Tom also became Arizona Wildcat football fans. Oil painting and playing bridge were continued interests. LaVerne added pottery-making and “putting on the green” to her repertoire. Through her participation in numerous group activities, she developed many valued working relationships and cherished friendships. By 90 years old, she became known as the "cookie lady" among some of her close friends for whom she baked chocolate chip cookies when they needed some cheer. When her body became weaker, LaVerne enjoyed reading, attending livestream church service each Sunday, completing Sudoku puzzles and being available to others with a patient, listening ear. LaVerne is survived by her sister Joan (David) Paulsrud; her 3 children, Marcia (Chester) Crawley, Terry Tucker, and Robin (Carole) Tucker; 4 granddaughters; and many additional family members and friends.

Elmer T. "Toby" Ellison, 94, of Des Moines, Iowa,on February 25. Toby served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He graduated from Coe College and obtained a graduate degree from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Toby retired in 1984 from Continental Can Company where he worked for 32 years as their Southern Regional Credit Manager. After that, he was a real estate agent for Coldwell Banker and Buckhead Brokers. Toby was an active member of Kiwanis International for 45 years. He served as President of Kiwanis Club of Executive Park and was a past Lt. Governor of the Georgia District of Kiwanis International. Toby was an avid golfer and member of Berkeley Hill Country Club, where he served on the Board of Directors. Toby was a devoted husband, father and friend. He loved reading, writing, learning and making friends. He had a very giving spirit and made every day count. Toby is survived by his much-loved daughters, Nancy (Steve) Everett and Susan (Jeff) Dailey; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.


Gloria Taylor Darragh, 92, of Middleton, Wisconsin, on Feb. 26. Gloria graduated from Coe College with a Bachelor of Arts. She was a proud gardener, avid reader and crossword puzzle enthusiast with a love of animals. She enjoyed the holidays, decorating and traveling around the world, especially to Nepal and Thailand. She was kind and touched the lives of many people with her friendly demeanor and smile. Gloria was active in P.E.O. and the Episcopal church. She was a resilient woman and overcame many physical adversities during her life. Gloria adored spending time with her grandchildren more than anything and moved twice to be close to them. Gloria is survived by her children, Dan (Cheryl) Darragh, Cindy (Michael) Zachary, Elizabeth (Ryan) Fowler, and William (Lisa) Darragh; four grandchildren; and many relatives.


Nancy Waddell Ross, 88, of Centennial, Colorado, on Dec. 25. She taught in elementary schools in Milwaukee and Glen Ellen, Illinois before becoming an administrative assistant in the Building Department. in Kane County, Illinois. She is survived by two children, William Ross and Tana Ross; two grandsons; and sisters, Linda Waddell Chirikos ’60 and Susan Waddell Thrane ’64.


Wilda Williams Gilchrist, 87, of Hampton, Iowa, on January 16. She graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids in June 1956. On May 19, 1956, she married Lawrence B. Gilchrist in Villa Park, Illinois. After completing his Air Force Service in Neah Bay, Washington, and graduating from the University of Iowa College of Law, the family moved to Hampton in August of 1960. Wilda was employed by the Hampton-Dumont School District for 29 years as a secretary and library aide. After retirement she volunteered at the Franklin County Historical Society and the Hampton Public Library. She was a member of the Hampton United Methodist Church where she taught Sunday school and Bible school for a number of years, served as church historian and was a member of Leah Circle and Leadership Council. She was also a member of the Franklin County Historical Society and Acorns of Oaks Mother’s Club. She enjoyed gardening, knitting, cross-stitch and reading. When her children were younger, she was a Cub Scout den mother and assisted with Girl Scouts. Wilda is survived by her son, Lawrence W. (Louise) Gilchrist; daughters, Margaret Gilchrist (Derek Heckelsmiller), Julie (Scott) LaPerre and Betsy Koeter; eight grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law, Barb Williams, Jane LaRocque and Sara McPeak; and nieces and nephews.

James “Jim” Marvin Hamilton, 88, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on March 16. At Coe College, Jim was proud to be a member of the Kohawks Football team. He graduated from Coe College in June 1956 and then went on to the University of Iowa where he graduated with his doctorate in 1960. He gave two years of service to the United States Air Force. During his active-duty years, Jim and Mary spent their time at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana. He married the love of his life Mary Dewey on Aug. 4, 1956, and together they had three children. He returned to Cedar Rapids to begin his dental practice with Dr. Fran Wells. He opened his solo practice in 1964, where he worked until his retirement in 2007. Jim and Mary moved to Florida, and it was there where he became a fan of golf. Jim is survived by his wife of 66 years, Mary Hamilton; his children Susan (Tim) Horne, Tom (Karen) Hamilton and Bob Hamilton; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.


Kay Yazvac, 86, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on January 17. Kay attended Coe College and graduated from the University of Iowa in 1957. Always shrewd with numbers and money, Kay first worked for the railroad, then for the late District Judge Edward McManus and the court system for several years. Low-key, soft-spoken, and hard-driven, Kay was always the one interested in what someone had to say, which went well when she began dating up-and-coming businessman, Tom Yazvac. Kay and Tom were married Oct. 8, 1966, and in 1972 became the parents of twin boys, Peter and Tom (Tommy). After Cedar Rapids, Kay and Tom moved first to Barrington, Illinois, for Tom's job with Gould Corp., then with GE to Connecticut, eventually settling in Simsbury, where Kay worked for Dr. John Bierly in the practice that was Peterson, Bierly and Sorrentino Periodontics. She loved her job and the great send-off given her upon retirement. The couple made their last move to a lovely senior community in Granby, Connecticut.  Kay loved people, and people loved Kay. She was a member of Beta Sigma Phi business sorority and volunteered at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Simsbury as well as Bradley International Airport. Kay was an energetic, get-it-done girl born in a bath of optimism. She soldiered on after the deaths of her son Tommy and her beloved husband Tom in 2019. She loved her numerous bridge groups, luncheons with friends and the easy camaraderie they all enjoyed. Kay Ales Yazvac is survived by her son Peter; her daughter-in-law, Angela (Mike) Huber; four grandchildren; her sister Norma (Chuck) Graybill; sister-in-law Jeannette; and a host of friends.


David L. Tisl, 86, of Stuart, Iowa, on February 9. As a teenager, Dave started playing saxophone alongside his dad in a local band and worked with his Uncle Frank in his heating and cooling business. Dave majored in music at Coe College and met the love of his life at a dance at Mount Mercy College. Ten days after college graduation, he was drafted in the United States Army, serving in Germany before his honorable discharge in 1960. On August 20, 1960 he was united in marriage to Rosella Hejlik at St. Wenceslaus Church in Duncan, Iowa. To this union, four children were born: Bob, Mary, Mark and Teresa. Dave taught vocal and instrumental music at Maquoketa and Ute before moving to Stuart in 1961, where he taught instrumental music for 10 years. He later sold insurance, managed and owned Tisl’s United Super Save, worked in sales and was a customer service representative at Walmart before retiring. Rosie and Dave loved to travel together, visiting 47 states and spending 18 winters at Monte Vista Resort in Mesa, Arizona. Dave treasured time he was able to spend at his grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s events. In his spare time he loved reading, playing cards, dominoes, bowling, golfing, karaoke, playing pool, watching movies at the theater and Iowa Hawkeye football and basketball. He was a skilled tenor and played saxophone in the Downtowners dance band in the 70s. His love of music and people led him to be a faithful parishioner at All Saints Catholic Church in Stuart where he served as lector, cantor, choir director, Eucharistic Minister, trustee and he was a lifetime member of Council 1961 Knights of Columbus. He was a fourth degree Sir Knight, taught CYO in the 60s and sang regularly at mass. For many years, Dave called bingo in the church hall and at their winter home in Arizona. He also was a charter member of the Stuart Jaycees, Stuart Rescue Unit and a past president of the Stuart Library Board. He is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Rosie; children Bob (Christi) Tisl, Mary (Larry) Tisl-Endres, Mark (Kari) Tisl and Teresa (Jason) Wheelock; eight grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; siblings Ron (Donna) Tisl, Karen (Jerry) Dircks, Gary (Connie) Tisl and Joanne (Gary) Kudrna; aunt Theresa Ballard; sister-in-law Theresa Doran; and a host of nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.


Dean Keith Culberson, age 88, of Marion, Iowa and Edinburg, Texas, on March 10. Dean graduated from Tipton, Iowa High School with the Class of 1951 and enlisted in the US Navy. He served in Japan for two years and San Diego for two years during the Korean War. Following his honorable discharge, Dean attended Coe College and earned his bachelor’s in education, and he would later earn a master’s degree in educational counseling at the University of Iowa. He was united in marriage with Evelyn Thresa “Terri” Teslik on July 3, 1959, in Cedar Rapids. Dean taught school for 10 years in several Iowa districts, including Solon High School, where he was the high school guidance counselor and served as the football and girls’ basketball coach. He was a veteran’s counselor at Kirkwood Community College for four years. Dean finished his working career as a Veteran’s Benefits Specialist for the Veteran’s Administration for 26 years, retiring in 1999. He was a member of the Veteran of Foreign Wars Post in Knob Noster, Missouri. He was an excellent pool player, winning several championships, and an avid Iowa Hawkeye fan. He also wrote several poems to family members that are cherished. Dean is survived by his wife, Terri; two daughters, Rita (Carlos) Cabello and Deana (Scott) Arebaugh; six grandchildren; and two step-sisters, Joan King and Judy Hebert.


George Stephen Paul, 85, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on January 25. George graduated from Coe College with a Bachelor of Science degree. He went on to receive both a master’s and doctorate at Iowa State University. Dr. Paul taught chemistry at UCA from 1965 until his retirement in 2005. George was an avid jogger, weightlifter and earned a black belt in taekwondo. George also appeared in variety shows, plays and operas alongside his wife, Patsy. George is survived by his loving wife of 43 years, Patsy L. Paul.

Robert "Bob" Joe Topping, 85, of Decorah, Iowa, on February 19. Bob earned his bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate from Coe College, graduating in 1960. While there, he played football from 1957-59 and was the running back on the ’58 and ’59 Midwest Conference Championship Teams. He was also a member of the Sigma Nu Fraternity. His sophomore year at Coe College, Bob met the love of his life, Judith “Judy” Ringbloom, and they were married June 11, 1960. Bob and Judy had more than 61 wonderful years of marriage together. Bob was asked to try out for the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Colts professional football teams, but instead took his first teaching and coaching job at Sumner, Iowa, in 1960. He taught government and economics and was the head football and track coach at Sumner High School for 13 years until 1973. During their time in Sumner, Bob and Judy had three children: Thomas, Steven and Jill. Bob then took a teaching and coaching job at Decorah High School in the fall of 1973. He taught government and economics for senior students, until his retirement in 1997. He also coached football and track for several years at Decorah, coaching one of the first girl's track teams for the school. Bob taught students for 37 years, and he also worked as a sports official for high school football, basketball, softball, volleyball and track for over 40 years. Retirement years were filled with vacations to Mexico and Florida and many summer trips over 60 years to their family lake cabin at Nestor Falls, Ontario, Canada. Bob was so proud of his children and grandchildren’s hard work and accomplishments. Equally proud were his grandchildren of their grandfather. They described Grandpa Bob as a great teacher, very patient, our biggest fan, thoughtful, sincere, kind hearted, organized, strong, extraordinary, amazing, kind, remarkable, quiet, tenacious, respected, had a lot of common sense and was a great storyteller. He was always teaching, coaching, mentoring and he instilled hard work and always wanted the best for others. Bob loved helping neighbors and anyone who needed it. Those who knew him well describe him as "just a really good guy" with a great sense of humor. He was a true patriot and loved his country. Bob is survived by his wife, Judith; his children Thomas (Lisa) Topping, Steven (Steph) Topping, Jill (Mike) Nelson; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandson.


Karen Ann Hospodarsky, 83, of Robins, Iowa, on January 18. Karen graduated from Wilson High School in Cedar Rapids. She worked in Cedar Rapids and enjoyed volunteering at St. Luke's Hospital and The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. Karen is survived by her four cousins, Quinn (Kacy) Novak, Leni Lee (Kerry) Murphy, Bonnie Anderson and Perry (Louise) Abbott.


Elda Miller, 89, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on January 29. Elda attended Coe College and obtained her bachelor's degree in teaching from the Iowa State Teachers College. On June 26, 1956, Elda married Richard "Dick" Miller at the Little Brown Church in Nashua, Iowa. She worked as a schoolteacher for College Community Schools for 41 years. Elda is survived by 17 nieces and nephews.


Melvin "Mel" Clarence Meggers, 98, of Marion, Iowa, on  January 30. When Mel was 18 years old, he received a scholarship to Cornell College in Mount Vernon to play football. He was recruited in 1943 to flight school as a cadet for the United States Air Force, where he became a fighter pilot. After serving honorably in World War II, Mel completed his bachelor’s degree at Coe College. On July 26, 1945, Mel was united in marriage to Helen Jo Bordwell at the Buckley Field Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado. To this union, three children were born: Joanne, Kathy, and James. Helen passed away on Sept. 26, 2000. He later met and married Bonnie Jane (Murray) McGranahan in Marion on May 25, 2013.


Rolf Beckhusen, 77, of Barryville, New York, on February 5. Rolf attended Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, studying history. He later attended law school at the University of Cincinnati. In the Vietnam era, Rolf served as a scout dog trainer for the Army, training dogs to sniff out landmines. Rolf served on the Mt. Baker School Board for years, and he coached his kids' Mt. Baker youth soccer teams for over a decade. His patience, sense of humor and dedication to his children made him an incredible coach. Rolf loved sports, especially baseball, and would trade legal services for Mariners season tickets. Rolf sponsored adult basketball and softball teams called the "Rolf's" for the better part of three decades. He was borderline crippled until having replacement hip surgery, but he loved spending time with his friends playing softball. Some of the best softball memories growing up were going to tournaments on Orcas Island while camping at Moran State Park. Rolf renewed his passion for Ping-Pong during the pandemic. Rolf had a goal of being the best in his age category on a regional level before his blood cancer diagnosis. Rolf would always say how much he looked forward to playing Ping-Pong with his friends, one of his few social activities during Covid. Rolf is survived by his children Lisa (Beckhusen) Aspessi, Zachary Beckhusen and Joshua Beckhusen; and five grandchildren.

Suzanne B. “Suzie” Oleson, 77, of Pecatonica, Illinois,  on March 7. Suzie was a member of the National Society of New England Women in Rockford Colony, having been elected by virtue of her New England ancestry. She graduated from Pecatonica High School and attended Coe College. Suzie then transferred to Southern Illinois University, where she met her future husband, Kenneth A. "Ken" Oleson, who she married in 1968 in Rockford, Illinois. She taught elementary school while Ken began his career with Westinghouse. In 1972, Suzie and Ken moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and then on to Philadelphia, where they started their family, welcoming daughter Tricia and son Drew. Ken's career at Westinghouse took them next to Orlando, Florida, and finally to San Antonio, Texas, where Ken joined Zachry Group, and the Olesons settled their young family in a community they have loved ever since. Suzie loved her family dearly, took great care of Tricia and Drew, and volunteered her time as a Blue Bird at Methodist Hospital. She was intelligent and a skilled writer who drafted numerous poems and essays. Suzie was a voracious reader and enjoyed well-written, witty jokes. Suzie also loved to entertain as a talented and self-taught decorator. She was thoughtful with an impeccable memory and a heart for animals and organizations who helped them. Suzie loved Jesus and was a devoted Christian, spending much of her life studying the Bible and dedicating time to prayer. Suzie is survived by her husband, Ken Oleson; children Tricia Oleson (Clint) Hennessey and Drew Benedict (Kelly) Oleson; and five grandchildren.


Mary Louise Beckmann, 100, of Mechanicsville, Iowa, on January 24. Mary was born  April 10, 1921, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Page and Florence (Thompson) Arnold. Her mother remarried Ray Challis in 1927, where they lived on the farm north of Tipton. Mary spent many of her younger days riding her black Shetland pony. She graduated from Tipton High School in 1939, where later her three sons and two granddaughters would also graduate. Mary then graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids. In 1942, she married the love of her life, Vernon Beckmann, at the Challis farm. Being a teacher for much of her adult life, she also made time to work the farm with her husband. She and Vernon loved to travel, covering all states, but somehow missed South Carolina. They also loved playing cards with close friends and dancing at many dance halls including Highway Gardens in Stanwood, Iowa. Mary is survived by sons, Raymond, Tom (Ruth) and John (Roxanne); six grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and special nieces.


Sandra "Sandy" Lee Lewis, 73, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on February 5. In high school, Sandy played softball and basketball, participated in plays and spent a lot of time with her close friends. In the summer of 1964, Sandy met her soulmate John. On June 7, 1968, John and Sandy started their 53-plus year marriage by exchanging vows at the United Walker Church. Four years later in 1972, their first son Jeremy Jonathan was born, with Darren Andrew to follow in 1975. Sandy gained two precious daughters-in-law after Darren was married to Erica in 1998 and Jeremy was married to Erin in 2009. Sandy's love of school led to a career of teaching elementary school in Cedar Rapids. She started as a sub and then spent several years at Harrison Elementary and then many more before retiring at Truman Elementary. She was a favorite for many of her students and her passion for life was infectious. Sandy was the ultimate baseball wife for 30-plus years while John coached at Kirkwood. She almost never missed a home game and often opened their house to John's players for team dinners. Sandy adored her grandkids and loved attending ball games all over the state. She often made their favorite meals and delivered them to Jeremy and Darren to pass along. Family and traditions were an integral part of John and Sandy's life, including redecorating the house for every season and gathering with the family clan to celebrate Christmas. After retirement, Sandy spent her time fishing, scrapbooking and going to movies with John. She also became a leader in the Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) group, where she mentored numerous women and shared her passion for the Bible and her faith. Sandy was a lifelong member of Calvary Baptist Church and started attending in the 1970s before the current building was even built. She served the church in many roles over the years including vacation Bible school, Deaconess, and even 1980s aerobics instructor, complete with the leg warmers. Sandy had a positive impact on everyone she encountered. Sandy is survived by her loving husband, John; sons, Jeremy (Erin) and Darren (Erica); six grandchildren; 15 nieces and nephews; and 35 great-nieces and nephews.


Carl Foster, 79, of Marion, Iowa, on February 23. Carl obtained his business degree from Coe College in 1965. On June 17, 1962, Carl was united in marriage to Lois Hanna in Marion. In 1968, he started Fosters Heating and Air Conditioning with his father. Later Carl worked as a realtor with Executive Realty, Skogman and Iowa Realty before starting Foster Realty. He also worked as a general contractor. Carl was a longtime member of First Presbyterian Church in Marion, serving as an Elder, Deacon, Trustee and a member of the building and grounds committee. He sang in the choir for 56 years and volunteered for the Helping Hands Store. He was a family man, enjoying annual fishing trips with his boys and Sunday night dinners with his children and grandchildren. Carl is survived by his wife, Lois Foster; children, Chris (Erin) Foster, Jane (Carlos) Galarce, John (Holly) Foster and Kathy (Tim) Lovell; 12 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; two sisters, Jeanette Fletcher and Jennifer Vincent; brothers-in-law, Jim Gray and Bill (Margaret) Hanna; sister-in-law, Cheryl Hanna; and many nieces and nephews.


DeAnna Drolte Kellenberger, 65, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on February 3. DeAnna, wife and mother, dedicated her life to God, giving so much to others without ever expecting anything in return. Her creativity and artistic talent were outmatched only by her special gift for bringing people closer to Christ. DeAnna displayed God's heart for kindness and compassion in the way she lived her life every day. One cannot find words to express just how wonderful she was in her time here on this earth. DeAnna is survived by her husband, Gordon; sons, Nick and Nathan; parents, James and Mary; siblings, David, Denise and Angela; and four grandchildren.


Kanako Sheffer, 54, of Madison, Alabama, on February 15. Kanako was born in Miyakonojo, Japan on the Island of Kyushu. Travel, education and helping women were always important to Kanako. Soon after graduating from college in Japan where she was a varsity volleyball player, she went to Bangladesh to assist single mothers in getting loans to establish cottage industries and become financially independent. In 2002, she moved to the United States to continue her studies and graduated from Coe College, then completing her master’s at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2004. Kanako’s happiest moments were with her family, and she was always finding a new adventure for them to go on. Kanako was also passionate about animal rescue and supporting her community through volunteering. Through her extensive efforts at A New Leash on Life, Kanako has helped save hundreds of cats and dogs throughout the United States. Kanako is survived by her husband Gary, son Will, stepdaughter Tory Saxon, stepson Bryan, parents Isao and Hiroko and brother Shoichiro.


Kirsten Smith, Kirsten Louise Smith, 40, of Waterloo, Iowa on January 31. Kirsten attended and graduated from Coe College in 2004 where she earned two bachelor's degrees in business marketing and psychology. Following her college graduation, she joined TrueNorth Companies in 2004 as the director of marketing. In 2017, she was named vice president of marketing and brand strategy, the position she held at the time of her passing. Kirsten also gave her time and heart to community outreach and most recently worked on establishing the TrueNorth Legacy Foundation. Kirsten was passionate about helping others through giving, and her scope of philanthropy encompassed a large portion of the United States. Closest to her heart was her 10-year-long tenure as the president of the Board of Directors for the Cedar Valley Humane Society. Kirsten and Mike Eddins were married on November 3, 2006. On April 18, 2009, they were blessed by the birth of their daughter, Lila. Kirsten brought so much love to everyone and everything she was a part of. Her presence will be missed by the countless people whose lives she touched in both small and enormous ways. Kirsten is survived by Mike Eddins; daughter Lila Eddins; father and bonus-mom, Duane and Laura Smith; mother, Ellen Noble; brother and sister-in-law, Jason and Jennifer Smith; bonus sister and brother, Carson and Cade Saylor; grandmother, Nancy Smith; grandfather, Jerry Harvey; 13 first cousins; and uncles, aunts, nieces and extended family too numerous to list.


Dr. Herbert F. Wiese, Professor of German, 1952 to 1987