Author Archives: Sandy Shinn

Military History – August 2020

Berlin Wall, 1961 – 1989

The Berlin Wall (GermanBerliner Mauer) was a barrier that divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989. Constructed by the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany), starting on 13 August 1961, the wall completely cut off (by land) West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin until it was opened in November 1989. Its demolition officially began on 13 June 1990 and was completed in 1992. The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, which circumscribed a wide area (later known as the “death strip”) that contained anti-vehicle trenches, “fakir beds” and other defenses. The Eastern Bloc claimed that the wall was erected to protect its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the “will of the people” in building a socialist state in East Germany. In practice, the Wall served to prevent the massive emigration and defection that marked East Germany and the communist Eastern Bloc during the post-World War II period.

The Berlin Wall was officially referred to as the “Anti-Fascist Protective Wall” (GermanAntifaschistischer Schutzwall) by GDR authorities, implying that the NATO countries and West Germany in particular were “fascists” by GDR propaganda. The West Berlin city government sometimes referred to it as the “Wall of Shame“—a term coined by mayor Willy Brandt—while condemning the Wall’s restriction on freedom of movement. Along with the separate and much longer Inner German border (IGB), which demarcated the border between East and West Germany, it came to symbolize the “Iron Curtain” that separated Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War.

Before the Wall’s erection, 3.5 million East Germans circumvented Eastern Bloc emigration restrictions and defected from the GDR, many by crossing over the border from East Berlin into West Berlin; from which they could then travel to West Germany and other Western European countries. Between 1961 and 1989, the wall prevented almost all such emigration. During this period, around 5,000 people attempted to escape over the wall, with an estimated death toll ranging from 136 to more than 200 in and around Berlin.

In 1989, a series of radical political changes occurred in the Eastern Bloc, associated with the liberalization of the Eastern Bloc’s authoritarian systems and the erosion of political power in the pro-Soviet governments in nearby Poland and Hungary. After several weeks of civil unrest, the East German government announced on 9 November 1989 that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin. Crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto the wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere. Over the next few weeks, euphoric people and souvenir hunters chipped away parts of the wall; the governments later used industrial equipment to remove most of what was left. Contrary to popular belief the wall’s actual demolition did not begin until the summer of 1990 and was not completed until 1992. The fall of the Berlin Wall paved the way for German reunification, which was formally concluded on 3 October 1990.


For more information on the Berlin Wall, see


Kenneth Miller

Kenneth Miller, 88, of Waverly, Iowa, passed away on July 5, 2020, at Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community in Waverly. 

Kenny was born on December 8, 1931, in Rock Island, Illinois, the son of Clifford and Lois (Rounds) Miller. He was raised on farms and attended country schools, and graduating from Aledo High School, in 1949. He attended Western Illinois University in Macomb from 1949-1951. Kenny enlisted in the US Army during the Korean War and served from 1952-1954. He was united in marriage to his high school sweetheart, Fern Stone, on December 18, 1954 in Aledo, Illinois. Kenny continued with his education at the University of Illinois, graduating in 1955. 

Ken and Fern relocated to Waverly in 1955 when he started his career as a salesman for Agrico Fertilizer. He worked for Prudential Insurance Company from 1960-1975. In 1975, he became the owner of his own insurance agency, Ken Miller Insurance Agency, retiring in 1997. Kenny was a member of the AmVets, American Legion, VFW and the Waverly Country Club. He enjoyed hunting, playing cards, piloting his Cessna airplane, golf, travel, and most of all, visiting with friends and family In his later years, meeting at HyVee for coffee with his buddies was an important part of his day. 

Ken is survived by a daughter, Sandra (Dave) Lahr of Waverly; a son, Monte (Trish) Miller of Edwardsville, Illinois and a daughter, Shelley (Derek Fiore) Miller of Aurora, Colorado. There are six grandchildren, Justin (Cara) Miller, Lisa (Rob) Ham, Jenae (Travis) Waters, Laura (Ryan) Negen, Dillon Fiore and Katelyn Fiore. He also has three step-grandchildren, Nate (Linda) Lahr, Elizabeth (Chad) Smith, and Stacy Lahr. There are ten great grandchildren, Camden, Sawyer, and Easton Miller, Norah and Alexandra Ham, Carter and Avery Negen, and Gentry, Callen, and Weston Waters. In addition, he has eight step-great grandchildren, Jake, Brandon, Zachary, and Amanda Lahr, Gracie and Gage Smith, Jesse Friest, and Luna Lahr. Ken is survived by a brother, Lytle Miller of Jackson, Michigan. Ken was preceded in death by his wife Fern Miller (2007), his parents, and two brothers, Dale Miller and Glen Miller. 

See more at Kaiser-Corson.

Betty Bernice Porter

Betty Bernice Porter, 96, of Denver, Iowa, and formerly of Waverly, Iowa, died Sunday, May 24, 2020, at her home at Willow Winds in Denver. 

Betty was born on October 6, 1923, in Plainview, Nebraska, the daughter of Christy and Lessie (Phipps) Thomas. She graduated from Rock Rapids High School, then attended Iowa State Teachers College for 2 years. She then taught in country schools. She was united in marriage July 3, 1943 to Howard Thomas Porter in San Luis Obispo, California, prior to Howard being shipped to the South Pacific while serving in the Army during WWII.  She returned to Iowa when he was stationed in the South Pacific for 3 years.  They raised their family in Waverly, Shell Rock, Traer, then rural Waverly. She was widowed in 1965. She completed her BA in Education at Wartburg, graduating in 1969, and then taught at the W-SR Junior High. Her son, Tom, was KIA in Vietnam in 1970, and she moved to Waverly. 

Betty was active in the church and was a longtime member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Waverly and the Trinity Quilters. She was a member of the Amvets Ladies Auxiliary.  

Betty is survived by three daughters, Nancy Edwards of Waverly; Patricia (Tony) Ogden of Waldport, Oregon; and Linda (Lyle) Judas of Denver; her grandchildren, Daniel (Lisa), Brian (MegAnn), Christopher, Jeffrey Edwards; Boone (Ellie), Briton, Max (Machiko) Ogden, Tom (Lisa) Diesburg, Kerri Hobson; sixteen great-grandchildren, two step-great-grandchildren and a sister, Connie (Marlyn) Dieken of Mason City. She was preceded in death by her husband, Howard, son Thomas; sister, Helen Winter, brothers, Chris Jr. and Richard Thomas. 

See more at Kaiser-Corson.


Robert Donald Maxfield

Robert Donald Maxfield, 91 of Waverly, Iowa, passed away on Sunday morning, May 24, 2020, at MercyOne Waterloo Medical Center in Waterloo, Iowa.  

Bob was born on March 30, 1929, in Waterloo, Iowa, the son of Pearl Louise (Bowser) and Eddie Herbert Maxfield.  Bob attended Waverly High School until entering the United States Army where he completed his GED.  Bob was an army chef and served food on trains and in the barracks from Ft. Leonard Wood, MO to San Francisco, CA.  He earned an E7 rank in 18 months and was later honorably discharged.  Bob was baptized on May 24, 1951, in Ft. Leonard Wood, MO and was confirmed on September 5, 1954 at Peace United Church of Christ in Waverly.             

On December 2, 1953, Bob was united in marriage to Phyllis Ruth Pavelec in Waverly.  Bob and Phyllis, with their family, owned and operated Maxfield’s Tavern, Cafe and Lounge in Waverly until 1984. Bob worked for Carnation and retired from Nestle’s after 30 years. While working at Carnation, Bob also worked part-time as a car salesman for Downtown Chrysler Plymouth and Ritchie Pontiac and Olds. He also worked with Phyllis as a Real Estate Broker selling real estate until 1983. The past ten years he has helped at his daughter’s dental office greeting patients and making them feel at home in the reception area. After over fifty-three years of marriage, Phyllis passed away in 2007.  Bob continued living in Waverly until he recently moved to the Sumner Nursing Home due to poor health.           

As a boy, Bob was a charter member of Trail Riders of Bremer County.  Other memberships include a lifelong membership of Waverly AMVETS Post #79, Waverly Area Veterans Post and Peace United Church of Christ. For enjoyment, Bob liked to hunt, play cards and spend time with his family.             

Bob is survived by two daughters, Janet Maxfield Lahr (Sue) of Waverly and Dr. Karen Maxfield Wolf (Bruce) of Swisher; two grandchildren, Anjanette Benning (Corey) of Farmington, MN and Nicholas Nolte of Los Angeles, CA; two great grandchildren, Cedar and Ansel Benning; and two sister-in-laws, Vera Bergan of Waterloo and Verdeen Pavelec of Readlyn. He was preceded in death by Phyllis; his parents; and two brothers, Derwood in infancy and Edward J. Maxfield.

See more at Kaiser-Corson.

Military History – May 2020

Berlin Blockade

C-47 Skytrains unloading at Tempelhof Airport during the Berlin Airlift.

The Berlin Blockade (24 June 1948 – 12 May 1949) was one of the first major international crises of the Cold War. During the multinational occupation of post–World War II Germany, the Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies’ railway, road, and canal access to the sectors of Berlin under Western control. The Soviets offered to drop the blockade if the Western Allies withdrew the newly introduced Deutsche mark from West Berlin.

In response, the Western Allies organized the Berlin airlift (26 June 1948 – 30 September 1949) to carry supplies to the people of West Berlin, a difficult feat given the size of the city’s population. Aircrews from the United States Air Force, the British Royal Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and the South African Air Force :338 flew over 200,000 flights in one year, providing to the West Berliners up to 8,893 tons of necessities each day, such as fuel and food. The Soviets did not disrupt the airlift for fear this might lead to open conflict.

By the spring of 1949, the airlift was clearly succeeding, and by April it was delivering more cargo than had previously been transported into the city by rail. On 12 May 1949, the USSR lifted the blockade of West Berlin. The Berlin Blockade served to highlight the competing ideological and economic visions for postwar Europe.

For more information on this event, visit “Berlin Blockade” at!


Shirley Rose Wehrhan

Shirley Rose (Schneider) Wehrhan, age 86, of Waverly, Iowa, died Monday, April 20, 2020, at her home.

Shirley was born on March 1, 1934, in Harvard, Nebraska, the daughter of Rev. Edward Karl and Viola W. (Linnert) Schneider. Shirley attended grade school in Donnellson, Iowa, and finished her schooling in Waverly, graduating from the Waverly High School in 1952. Following her schooling, Shirley worked for the Belle Telephone Company from 1952-1954. On September 11, 1953, Shirley was united in marriage to Darrell Dean Wehrhan at Peace United Church of Christ in Waverly. The couple made their home in Waverly. In 1965, Shirley went to work for the Waverly Publishing Company, retiring in 1995 after 30 years of service. Darrell died on August 17, 1993, and Shirley continued to live in her home in Waverly.  

Shirley was a faithful member of Peace United Church of Christ and the Amvets Post #79 Auxiliary. Shirley was very active in volunteering not only at her church but the Waverly Health Center and Cedar Valley Hospice. Shirley loved spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren and great grandchildren, and enjoyed taking trips with her friends.            

Shirley is survived by her daughter, Karon (Rick) Rubendall of Muscatine, Iowa; her son, Tracy (Glenda) Wehrhan of Webster City, Iowa; nine grandchildren, Philip (Jackie) Hathaway, Jeni (Joe Roling) Hathaway, Shawn Rubendall, Melinda (Chris) Green, Alicia (David Wada) Rubendall,  Nathan (Linda) Lahr, Elizabeth (Chad) Smith, Stacy Lahr and Andrew (Karmen) Wehrhan; sixteen great-grandchildren, Tyler (Amanda Mosley) Fowler, Samantha (Nathan) Ornsby, Zachary Rubendall, Treyton Sulzberger, Kammeri Sulzberger, Summer Rose Hathaway Cameron, Jesse Friest, Gracie Smith, Gage Smith, Jacob Lahr, Brandon Lahr, Zachary Lahr, Amanda Lahr, Elliot Wehrhan, and baby girl Wehrhan; a great-great-grandson, Theodore Fowler; one sister, Katherine Clements of Brookwood, Alabama; a sister-in-law ,Peg Schneider of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Shirley was preceded in death by her parents, Rev. E.K. and Viola Schneider; her husband, Darrell; a daughter, Sharon Lou (Wehrhan) Hathaway on December 20, 1980; and a brother, Edward Schneider.

See more at Kaiser-Corson.

George Edward Green

George E. Green, 72, of Waverly, Iowa passed away on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 at the Waverly Health Center in Waverly.     

George Edward Green was born on December 18, 1947, the son of Royal Clayton and Frances Irene (Brown) Green in Jacksonville, Illinois. He graduated from Springfield High School in 1966 and then received his Associate Degree in Arts from Springfield Junior College in 1968 and his BSME from the University of Illinois in Urbana, Illinois in 1971. He served with US Army Reserve and the Iowa National Guard from July of 1971 until July of 1977. On March 25, 1972, he was united in marriage to Vivian Therese Haislar at the Little Flower Church in Springfield, Illinois. George was employed at Koehring Corporation (Bantam and Terex) from June of 1991 until retiring on June 28, 2008. He was then self employed as a consultant for Terex from July 2008 until June of 2017.     

He was a member of the Registered Professional Engineers and Society of Automotive Engineer (SAE). He enjoyed riding his motorcycle and shooting. George was a Boy Scout leader for Troop #90 from 1989 until 1999.     

A special note…     My dad wasn’t a man of many words, but he was always selfless and cared deeply for his family.  He remained selfless and caring to the end.  Our world seems a little less bright today.  Even though the last few days have been difficult, we always managed to find humor and love in them.  We told stories, shared memories, shared tears, and remembered to laugh from time to time even when things were hard.  My favorite was probably a day or two ago.  Dad sitting up on the edge of his bed – tired, but smiling – looked at Joe and I and said, “Well, this is probably our chance to make a run for it!”     

We are grateful beyond words to have so many loving people in our lives, and your kind words and deeds have been very much appreciated by Dad and the whole family.      

We would leave you with this request. As would be appropriate for Dad’s side of the family, shed a tear if you choose, but then take some time to share a happy memory or funny story and enjoy time with each other.     

On behalf of the entire family, thank you for being on this journey with us.     

Survivors are his wife, Vivian (Vicky) Green of Waverly, Iowa; two sons, Joseph (Sarah) Green of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota and Patrick (Brenda) Green of Hastings, Minnesota and five grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents. 

See more at Kaiser-Corson.

Helen Louise Burman

Helen Louise Burman, 87, of Waverly, Iowa passed away on Monday, April 6, 2020 at her residence in Waverly. 

Helen Louise (Seele) Burman was born in Waterville, Iowa, on August 6, 1932, the daughter of Helen (Hermanson) and Oscar Seele. She was baptized and confirmed in the Waterville Lutheran Church, where she was a member of the Choir and Luther League. 

Graduating in 1950 from W.H.S., Helen moved to Waterloo, and in January 1952, became employed by Northwestern Bell Telephone Company, a job she held until retiring in 1992. Helen loved her job -one she wanted as a young girl- during the summers and after school she helped at the local telephone office in Waterville.  

October 22nd, 1954, Helen and John Clark Burman married, and they had four children; John, Mark, Ann and Sue. Mark died July 27, 1983 as a result of a motorcycle accident. Her husband John died September 29, 2000 the result of a car accident. 

Helen was a member of the Telephone Pioneers, Secret Pals group and Beta Sigma Phi. She took pride in caring for her home, was a great cook and shared with her family and friends. She also enjoyed crocheting. Above all, she enjoyed the time spent with her family, especially her grandchildren. 

Helen is survived by her son, John of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, two daughters; Ann (Jim) Luebbers of Aplington and Sue (Dan) Demuth of Waverly, four grandchildren, Bailey (Anthony) Miller, Ella Luebbers, Dani (Jason) Hoerman and Drew (girlfriend Whitley) Demuth, two great grandchildren, Anthony Miller II and Wren Hoerman, and a sister-in-law, IvaMae Roettjer of Seward, Nebraska. She is preceded in death by her parents, husband John, son Mark, three brothers; DeForest, Lyle and Les, one sister; Dorothy Butler.

See more at  Kaiser-Corson.

Patricia Ann Howell

Patricia Ann Howell, 63, of Waverly, Iowa, passed away on March 31, 2020, at the Waverly Health Center in Waverly. 

Pat was born on April 20, 1956, in Waverly, Iowa, the daughter of Murel “Bud” and Josephine (Weires) Dorman. She was baptized and confirmed at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Waverly. She graduated from Waverly-Shell Rock High School in 1974 and from Wartburg College in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. She received her master’s degree from Viterbo in Lacrosse, Wisconsin in 1998. Pat was united in marriage to Mike Howell on June 30, 1979 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Pat taught second grade in the Waverly-Shell Rock Schools for 33 years, retiring in 2012. In her time teaching she touched so many lives and loved her students as her own. Her second career she was a grandma. Her true love were her grandkids, nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews. She loved reading books too them, loved snuggles, loved playing games with them and FaceTiming her kids. She also loved shopping, finding the best deals and was always ready to tell everyone about her deals.  

Pat is survived by her husband, Mike Howell of Waverly; a son, Nick (Amy) Howell of Tiffin; and a daughter, Megan (Joe) Hoskins of Waterloo; grandchildren, Nolan and Myles Howell and Norah and Hazel Hoskins; her two sisters, Mary (Bonnie) Winninger-Dorman and Susan (Douglas) Bast all of Waverly and a sister-in-law, Denise (Dennis) Book of Freeport, Illlinois. She was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers, Thomas and her twin brother, Michael Dorman.

See more at Kaiser-Corson.

Military History – April 2020

Military History:  Believe it or not, but even old retired guys and younger working guys run into a time, where you just don’t catch up, therefore our Military History segment is going off center.  So “April, a month of firsts” contains some facts throughout our history that helped shape our country.  Many of them way before us or our Grandparents, but these “firsts” have had an impact on our lives and how we live, if we think deep enough.  More information on any of these can be found through Wikipedia or some key words in any trusted search engine.

April, a month of First’s

“not just April Fool’s Day”

April 2, 1792 – Congress established the first U.S. Mint at Philadelphia.  David Rittenhouse, an American scientist, was appointed the first director of the mint by President George Washington. Two lots were purchased by Rittenhouse on July 18, 1792, at Seventh Street and 631 Filbert Street in Philadelphia for $4,266.67. The next day, demolition of an abandoned whiskey distillery on the property began. Foundation work began on July 31, and by September 7, the first building was ready for installation of the smelting furnace. The smelt house was the first public building erected by the United States government. A three-story brick structure facing Seventh Street was constructed a few months later. Measuring nearly 37 ft. (11 m) wide on the street, it only extended back 33 ft. (10 m). The gold and silver for the mint were contained in basement vaults. The first floor housed deposit and weighing rooms, along with the press room, where striking coins took place. Mint official offices were on the second floor, and the assay office was located on the third floor. A photograph of the Seventh Street building taken around 1908 show that by then the year 1792 and the words “Ye Olde Mint” (in quotes) had been painted onto the facade.

April 3, 1860 – In the American West, the Pony Express service began as the first rider departed St. Joseph, Missouri. For $5 an ounce, letters were delivered 2,000 miles to California within ten days. The famed Pony Express riders each rode from 75 to 100 miles before handing the letters off to the next rider. A total of 190 way stations were located about 15 miles apart. The service lasted less than two years, ending upon the completion of the overland telegraph.

April 3, 1995 – Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman to preside over the Court, sitting in for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist who was out of town.

April 4, 1887 – The first woman mayor was elected in the U.S. as Susanna M. Salter became mayor of Argonia, Kansas   Her election was a surprise because her name had been placed on a slate of candidates as a prank by a group of men who were actually against women in politics and hoped to secure a loss that would humiliate women and discourage them from running.   Because candidates did not have to be made public before election day, Salter herself did not know she was on the ballot before the polls opened.   When, on election day itself, she agreed to accept office if elected, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union abandoned its own preferred candidate and voted for Salter en masse, helping to secure her election by a two-thirds majority.

April 6, 1896 – After a break of 1500 years, the first Olympics of the modern era was held in Athens, Greece.

April 8, 1913 – The 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified requiring direct popular election of U.S. senators. Previously, they had been chosen by state legislatures.  The amendment was proposed by the 62nd Congress in 1912 and adopted in 1913 upon being ratified by three-fourths (36) of the state legislatures. It was first implemented in special elections in Maryland (November 1913) and Alabama (May 1914), then nationwide in the November 1914 election.

April 12, 1981 – The first space shuttle flight occurred with the launching of Columbia with astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen aboard. Columbia spent 54 hours in space, making 36 orbits, then landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

April 18, 1942 – The first air raid on mainland Japan during World War II occurred as General James Doolittle led a squadron of B-25 bombers taking off from the carrier Hornet to bomb Tokyo and three other cities. Damage was minimal, but the raid boosted Allied morale following years of unchecked Japanese military advances.

April 30, 1789 – George Washington became the first U.S. President as he was administered the oath of office on the balcony of Federal Hall at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets in New York City.