Obituaries for past members

Robert Charles Coonradt

Robert “Bob C” Coonradt, 91, of Waverly, Iowa, passed away on Thursday, June 27, 2019, at MercyOne Waterloo Medical Center in Waterloo, Iowa.

Bob was born on June 6, 1928, in Osage, Iowa, the son of Ruth G. (Tubbs) and Ernest E. Coonradt. At the age of five, he moved to Waverly where he attended school, and graduated from Waverly High School in 1946. He attended the University of Iowa and graduated in 1950 with a BS in Business Administration. Bob served in the 2nd Armored Division of the United States Army in Europe from 1950 until his honorable discharge in 1952. On May 12, 1956, Bob was united in marriage to Delores C. Rader at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Waterloo, Iowa. In 1952, Bob joined his father at Waverly Motor Company which later became Coonradt Ford, which was in business for 85 years. He retired in October of 2018.

Bob was a member of St. Mary Catholic Church, Waverly Amvets Post #79, and the Waverly Chamber of Commerce. He was also a member and past president of Rotary Club and Waverly Golf and Country Club. He enjoyed hunting and fishing in Canada with family and close friends. He liked playing cards and was an accomplished golfer. He also enjoyed traveling and ventured to Puerto Vallarta every year with Dee and other family members.

Bob is survived by his wife of 63 years, Dee; three children, Bill (Deb) Coonradt of Waverly, Iowa, Jim Coonradt of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Lisa (Dan) Kneeskern of Urbandale, Iowa; five grandchildren, Beth (Alex) Rich, Matt Coonradt, James Coonradt, Brad Kneeskern, and Drew (Beth) Kneeskern; two great-grandchildren, Layne and Breck Rich; and sister-in-law, Lois Coonradt. He was preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Diane in infancy; and his brother, Dale.

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Donna Marie Fischer

Donna Marie Fischer, 71, of Waverly, died unexpectedly Sunday, June 9, 2019, in Marshalltown, Iowa, while attending the AMVETS State Convention.

Donna was born February 7, 1948, in Waverly, Iowa, the daughter of Francis and Helen (Rieken) Fischer and lived her entire life in Waverly. She was baptized at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Waverly on May 9, 1948, and confirmed her faith on April 15, 1962, also at St. Paul’s. She graduated from Waverly-Shell Rock High School in 1966. Donna began her career at Lutheran Mutual in November of 1966 and retired from CUNA Mutual in June of 2017.

Donna led a life of service to the Ladies AMVETS Auxiliary. She was currently the Ladies Auxiliary President of Waverly Post 79 and AMVETS Department of Iowa Ladies Auxiliary 2nd Vice. She had also served as State Auxiliary President in 2004 and again from 2007-2008. She thoroughly enjoyed events with her AMVETS family. She also enjoyed reading, antiquing, traveling and family gatherings.

Donna is survived by two sisters, Betty Yanna of Lancaster, Wisconsin and Nancy (Philip) Brand of Vancouver, Washington, one brother, Jim (Michele) Fischer of Waverly, nieces Tami Yanna, Alison Wu, Erin Brand and Ashley Fischer and 5 grand-nieces and a grand-nephew. She is preceded in death by her parents, Francis and Helen (Rieken) Fischer.

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Edward V. “Big Ed” Droste

On May 22 we said goodbye to Edward V. Droste after 94 remarkable years. Ed passed peacefully in his Largo, Florida home surrounded by his family after a brave battle with cancer.

Originally from Waverly, Iowa, Ed was born to Arthur F. and Marion (Lizer) Droste on February 21, 1925. He was baptized into Christ by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, confirmed in March of 1939, and reared through the 8th grade by St. Paul’s Lutheran School before graduating from Waverly High School in 1943. Within moments of his graduation, he joined his 16 million American countrymen serving their country in World War II. Ed was inducted into the U.S. Army on July 17, 1943, completing his basic training at Ft. Benning, Georgia. He continued with Army Specialized Training Program at Northeastern University in Boston before joining the 17th Airborne Division in February of 1944 and earning his paratroop wings that June.

Next came “the greatest land battle ever to be fought and won by the United States Army,” and what would be a defining moment for Ed and our entire country: The Battle of the Bulge. Ed entered the Bulge via Operation Plunder, Airborne’s invasion of Germany at the Rhine crossing, and saw the campaign through to its victory in January of 1945. A gifted athlete (he’d tell you he mighta been a Chicago Cub if not for the War), he joined the Armed Forces Baseball League in playing morale-raising games across Europe before being honorably discharged in October from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, and finally returning home.

On August 12 of 1946, Ed married his hometown sweetheart Phyllis Jean Holley at Waverly’s United Methodist Church. He enrolled at local Wartburg College in 1947, then transferred to Iowa State University where in addition to his studies he competed on the golf team, famously hosting the 1949 NCAA National Championship and a young Wake Forest player named Arnold Palmer. Ed would later reunite with Arnie 50 years later at the 1999 TPC tournament pro-am in Tampa.

Ed graduated from ISU in the summer of 1949 and accepted a teaching and coaching position at New Hampton (Iowa) High School. He continued to play competitive golf in tournaments throughout the Midwest while nurturing the beginnings of his growing family, daughters Linda and Sally, and son Eddie. In 1954 Ed joined his father’s publishing company. He rose to VP/GM in 1961, becoming president and co-owner in 1975, and retiring in 1986.

Ed endeavored to make a constant contribution to his Waverly community. He was a teacher, coach, small business owner and employer. He served for 16 years on the Waverly Planning and Zoning Commission, 12 years as Wartburg Alumni Treasurer, president of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Council, member of the Waverly Chamber of Commerce, the Development Commission, the Parks and Recreation Commission, Kids Kingdom and was awarded the Wartburg Alumni Citation Award. He was also a leading member Waverly Golf and Country Club, maintaining a lifelong love of golf that included seven hole-in-one scores.

A constant spring of enthusiasm, Ed (who by the early 70’s would become “Bumpa,” courtesy of his mumble-mouthed first grandchild) loved dancing with his wife, as well as card games, especially his decades-long gin rummy match with Phyllis (now known as “Boom Boom”…see aforementioned grandchild mumblings). In what spare time she allowed him, he cheered proudly for the Waverly HS Go-Hawks (he was a four-sport letterman), the ISU Cyclones (also a letterman), his dear Green Bay Packers (he would finally become a one-share team owner!), and of course the Chicago Cubs. Ed was heartbroken at 7-years-old when he witnessed the Cubs 1932 World Series loss, later made every effort to help the team by throwing out a first pitch at Wrigley in 1993 and — legend has it — powered through his 94 years and multiple cancer battles just to see the Cubs reclaim the Series title.

Ed also managed to find a little time for fishing, duck hunting, mushroom hunting, painting, more golf, international cruising with the family, and keeping up with Phyl’s social schedule, which didn’t slow the least as retirement brought the couple more frequently to the Tampa Bay area where their son Eddie was working on a new restaurant idea called Hooters. “Bumpa and Boom Boom” ultimately made their permanent home in Largo, Florida, in the vibrant Royal Palms community. Together they proudly supported (and were graciously supported by) Clearwater Beach’s Chapel by the Sea, Morton Plant Hospital, and Moffitt Cancer Center.

Ed’s memory is honored by his loving wife, Phyllis Droste of Largo, Florida; one son, Edward C. (Marsha) Droste of Clearwater, Florida; two daughters, Linda Moon of Ankeny, Iowa and Sally (David) Pitts of Centennial, Colorado; three grandchildren, Ryan, Brian (Robyn) and Kylie (EJ), two step-grandchildren, Stephanie and Mike; three step great grandchildren, Emily, Jack, and Nick; a newly born great grandson James; and a sister, Dorothy Hertel of Waverly. Ed was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur and Marion Droste, and step-mother Elizabeth; a sister and her husband, Margaret (Rev. Ronald) Braulick; a brother in law, Dr. Elmer Hertel, and a son-in-law, Steve Moon.

A faithful servant of God, “Big Ed” was kind to, and loved by so many. He will be missed dearly by many…until we all meet again…

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Donald William Leisinger

Donald William Leisinger, 91, of Waverly, died Sunday, April 14, 2019, at the Waverly Health Center in Waverly.

Don was born September 23, 1927, in Waverly, Iowa, the son of Gustav and Marie (Mueller) Leisinger. He was baptized and confirmed in Waverly. Don attended St. Paul’s Lutheran School and Waverly High School, both in Waverly. He entered the United States Army on January 10, 1946 and served in the Philippines. His honorable discharge came on March 22, 1947. On January 15, 1950, he was united in marriage to Wanda Lageschulte at Faith United Brethren Church in Waverly. The couple made their home in Waverly where Don would own and operate Niewohner Hardware for 30 years. He then worked at GMT in Waverly until his retirement.

Don was a longtime member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Waverly where he served as Elder on the church council and chairperson of the Christian/Lutheran School. He served as Commander of the Waverly Amvets and was a member of the State Rose Society. He was very active as a Cub Scout Master, proudly seeing his sons through to the rank of Eagle Scout. He also enjoyed attending his sons’ school activities and going on family camping trips. Working on his acreage was one of his top past times.

Don is survived by four sons, Gene (Patti) of Eagan, Minnesota, Rich (Sandy) of Denver, Iowa, Ron of Waverly and Jim (Jenny) of Salem, South Carolina, 10 grandchildren, Brittany (Charlie) Metzig, Blake (Stephanie), Matthew (Felisa), Michael (Erin), Ryan (Mahren), Nicole (Pete) McCleary, Andy (Mindy), Jason (Elizabeth), Jonathon (Audrey) and James, and one brother, Eldon (Bev) Leisinger of Independence, Iowa. He is preceded in death by his parents, wife Wanda, sister Wilma Westendorf and a brother, Wilbert Leisinger.

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Lester Lavern Zelle

Lester L. “Les” Zelle, 95, of Waverly, Iowa, passed away on Thursday, March 21, 2019, at the Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community in Waverly, Iowa.

Lester was born on March 29, 1923, on a farm West of Waverly, Iowa, the son of Arthur and Emma (Mueller) Zelle. Lester attended St. Paul’s Lutheran School and Waverly High School graduating in 1941. He attended Iowa State College in Ames, until his induction into the U.S. Army on January 26, 1943 and then at University of Idaho while in the service. While stationed at Camp Butner in North Carolina he met his future wife, V. Frances Gooch during WWII. Lester served in the European Theatre of Operation as a truck driver for a 105 mm Howitzer and gun crew with Patton’s Third Army. He returned to the states in 1946 and was discharged at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin on April 2nd of that year. Lester and Frances where married on May 26, 1946, at Bullock’s Methodist Church, Hester, North Carolina. The couple made their home in Waverly, Iowa, where Les continued his education at Wartburg College, graduating in 1948 with a degree in Mathematics and Physics. Following his graduation, he became employed by the Schield Bantam Company and was a project engineer, responsible for many of the design features found on the highly successful Bantam cranes and excavators. Lester retired January 1986. On October 7, 2001, Frances passed away and in 2015 Lester made his home at Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community.

Lester was an active member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, where he served on Church Council. He was also a member of the Waverly Lions Club, American Legion and V.F.W. posts, and served for twenty years on the Bremer County Selective Service Board as a member and as chairman. Lester served twenty years on the Waverly City Council, twelve years on the Waverly Electric Utility Board, and was Mayor of Waverly from 1994 through 1997. He was also active in Waverly’s Sister City program and enjoyed several trips to Eisenach, Germany where he made long lasting friendships. In 2001, Lester and Frances were honored as Grand Marshals for the Waverly Heritage Days.

Lester is survived by three children and their spouses; Bruce Zelle and his wife, Candace (Carter) of Naperville, Illinois, Carolyn Zelle and her husband, Don Otto of Portland, Oregon, Lorraine Whitney and her husband, Dan of West Des Moines, Iowa; four grandchildren, Sarah (Zelle) Beckman, Brian Zelle, Lauren Whitney, and Daniel Whitney and his wife Danielle; three great granddaughters; Evelyn Beckman, Quinn Whitney, and Riley Whitney; and one brother, Rev. Edgar (Verona) Zelle of Waverly. Lester was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur and Emma; his wife, Frances; and a brother, Marvin Zelle.

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Eldon Eugene Kratchmer

Eldon Eugene Kratchmer, 88, of Waverly, Iowa, passed away on March 6, 2019, at his home with Sheba by his side.

Eldon was born on March 22, 1930, on the family farm in Butler County, Iowa, the son of Martin L. and Edna P. (Wright) Kratchmer. Eldon was baptized at the United Methodist Church in Waverly, Iowa. He attended country school at Butler #9 rural Clarksville, Iowa, and graduated in 1948 from the Waverly High School. Following his schooling he helped his parents on the farm and on January 7, 1952, he entered the U.S. Army and served during the Korean War. In June of 1952, he was wounded while serving with the 176th Armored Artillery and received the Purple Heart. He was honorably discharged on October 7, 1953 and returned to Waverly where he went to work for Carnation Dairy and also continued to farm. On March 20, 1955, Eldon was united in marriage to Joan I. Juhl at the United Methodist Church in Nashua. To this union two children were born, Keith and Kelly. The couple later divorced in 1988. Eldon farmed his entire working life and also worked at Standard Oil as a Route Salesman and was an insurance agent for 30 years with Danish Mutual Insurance Company, retiring in 2006.

Eldon was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Waverly. He was a lifetime member of the Amvets Post #79 and Farm Bureau. He had a very strong, independent German personality, and was extremely hardworking. He loved being outside and on his John Deere tractor. He took great pride in mowing his large lawn last summer, and rode in the combine while harvesting crops on his farm last fall. In his spare time, he enjoyed fishing, and woodworking, but most of all, spending time with his family, especially his grandkids.

Eldon is survived by his son, Keith E. (Rachel) Kratchmer of Clarksville, Iowa; his daughter, Kelly J. (Greg) Meyer of Sumner, Iowa; three grandchildren, Jordan (Cody) Brown, Jared (Emily) Skillen, and Jessica Skillen; two great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Margaret Kratchmer of Spooner, Wisconsin; and his canine German Shepherd companion, Sheba. He was preceded in death by his parents, Edna in 1975 and Martin in 1984; brother, Merlin; and sister, Donna (Harold) Willson.

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Vernon Harold Arthur

Vernon H. Arthur, 68, of Waverly, Iowa, passed away suddenly on Thursday evening, February 21, 2019 at his home, of natural causes.

Vern was born on December 15, 1950 in Oelwein, Iowa, the son of Donna (Meyer) and Earl Arthur. He grew up on the Arthur family dairy farm near Maynard, Iowa. He was confirmed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Maynard and was active in 4-H, FFA, football, basketball and baseball. Following graduation from West Central High School, in 1969, Vern attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha where he received a baseball scholarship as a pitcher. Following his education, Vern began his lifelong career in the concrete construction industry. He worked for Hawkins and Kiewit in Omaha before moving to Waverly Iowa in 1989. In Waverly, Vern worked for Cedar Valley Corp., Rainbow Concrete and finally Croell Redi-Mix, where he was employed at the time of his passing.

On October 6, 1979, Vern was united in marriage to his college sweetheart, Jo Ellen TeKrony in Omaha, Nebraska. The couple was blessed with four sons.

Vern grew up in a family of dairy farmers and never lost his love for the occupation. Throughout his life he assisted, attended and was forever involved with dairy farming activities. Vern was a master of concrete and a jack of all other trades. As the master of concrete, Vern was superintendent for many major projects over the years that included airport runways, wind turbine foundations and interstate highways in Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri. As a jack of other trades, Vern’s talents included woodworking and landscaping for himself and any one needing advice or assistance. Vern loved coaching youth sports and watching his sons in their many sporting events. He also enjoyed spending time with his family and grandchildren.

Vern is survived by his wife, Jo, four sons, Aaron (Danielle) of Charleston, West Virginia, Andrew (Kristen) of Conroe, Texas, Austin of Naples, Florida and Alex (Rachel) of Baytown, Texas; nine grandchildren, Gavin, Houston, Rowen, Peytin, Greyson, Colton, Hannah, Logan and Aubree; four sisters, Lois Eggerth of Cherokee, Iowa, Betty (Ernie) Cox of Prescott, Arizona, Joyce Geistkemper of Fayette, Iowa and Eleanor (Jim) Miner Hageman of Calmar, Iowa; three brothers, Rodney (Becky) Arthur of Loveland, Colorado, Myron (Janet) Arthur of Oelwein, Iowa and Jerry (Florida) Arthur of Norwalk, Iowa; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jo’s parents; one sister, Eileen Arthur; and two brothers, Gene and Bernard; three brothers-in-law, Robert Eggerth, Jim Geistkemper and Brooks Miner; and one niece, Marcia Wilhelmi.

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Donald George Dietz

Donald G. Dietz, 86, of Waverly, Iowa passed away on Thursday, January 10, 2019 at the Waverly Health Center in Waverly.

Donald George Dietz was born on May 26, 1932, the son of Lewis Lyle and Mildred Lucille (White) Dietz in Plainfield, Iowa. He attended school in the Plainfield area. On February 15, 1953, he was united in marriage to Marjorie Ann Hirsch at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Nashua, Iowa. He entered the Army on June 5, 1953, serving during the Korean Conflict until his discharge on April 27, 1955. Don worked for the City of Waverly for 40 years and following his retirement he worked at Croell Redi-Mix for 10 years. He also had numerous other jobs including hauling milk and helping farmers.

He was a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Waverly, Amvets, VFW and the American Legion. He enjoyed doing woodworking, collecting Case tractors, watching “Old time Westerns, going to Antique Acres, but most especially spending time with his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Survivors are his wife, Marjorie Dietz of Waverly, Iowa; four sons, Steve (Julie) Dietz of Shell Rock, Iowa, Doug (Janet) Dietz of Clarksville, Iowa, Greg (Mary) Dietz of Clarksville, Iowa and Mike Dietz of Shell Rock, Iowa; three daughters, Sandy Dietz of Waverly, Iowa, Lisa Hess (Jim Wessels) of Clarksville, Iowa and Susan (Dave) Suhr of Oran, Iowa; 8 grandchildren; 15 great grandchildren; brother, Merlin (Janice) Dietz of Plainfield, Iowa; two sisters, Marge Reeves of Nashua, Iowa and Sally Vowell of Charles City, Iowa and sister-in-law, Sandy Dietz. He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Richard and Leon “Buzz” Dietz, brother and sister in infancy and brother-in-law, Richard Reeves.

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Paul D. Hogue


Paul D. Hogue, 77 of Allison, Iowa and formerly of Waverly, Iowa, died on Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Paul was born on July 26, 1941, in Los Angeles, California, the son of Paul Dean Hogue Sr. and Irma (Johnson) Hogue. He graduated from Compton High School in 1959 and entered the United States Air Force in 1961. He was stationed in Waverly at the Air Force base and was honorably discharged in 1964. Following his discharge, Paul was united in marriage to Rosemary Briner which later ended in divorce. He worked for Northwestern Bell (now Century Link) for over 40 years, retiring in 2007. Paul was united in marriage to Brenda Lee (Koll) Nichols on December 9, 2002 in Nashua, Iowa.

In his younger years, Paul discovered his passion for cars and enjoyed rebuilding engines. He spent many enjoyable weekends drag racing at the Cedar Falls Raceway and following NASCAR. Paul developed a lifelong interest for music and was knowledgeable in rebuilding stereos, radios and T.V’s. He was a longtime member of the Waverly AMVETS, where he also used to DJ.

Paul is survived by his wife, Brenda Hogue of Waverly; a daughter, Kelly M. Hogue of Marshall, Michigan; a son, Ryan P. Hogue of Waverly; Brenda’s children, Brian (Sherry) Nichols of La Crosse, Wisconsin; Kent (Jennifer) Nichols of Shell Rock; Gary (Jeana) Nichols of Greene; Kirk (Yin) Nichols of Wellsburg and Michelle Jones of Waverly; three grandchildren, Dakota Schneider, Elijah Swenson, and Trenton Hogue; eleven step grandchildren, Luke Nichols, Samantha Nichols, Andrew Nichols, Anthony Nichols, Hannah Nichols, Tyler Nichols, Evan Jones and Mckenna, Spencer, Alexandria and Menah Morgan; two step great grandchildren, Mason Nichols and Wyatt Kramer; brothers-in-law, Tom Siladi of California and Randall (Debbie) Koll of Citrus Heights, CA; and sisters-in-law, Beverly (Jim) Ryan of Santa Nella, CA and Vivian (Salam) Koll of Elk Grove, CA and several nieces and nephews all of California. He was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters, Joyce Siladi and Beverly Albers.

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Sharon Kay Sebilsky

Sharon K. Sebilsky, 77, of Waverly, Iowa passed away on Saturday, September 22, 2018 at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo, Iowa.

Sharon Kay Sebilsky was born on May 5, 1941, the daughter of Lawrence William and Caroline Winona (Rewerts) Moeller in Waverly, Iowa. She was baptized on June 29, 1941 and confirmed on March 25, 1956, both at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Waverly. She attended Wapsie Valley Community Schools and graduated from Readlyn High School on May 19, 1959. On July 28, 1962, she was united in marriage to Leon “Bob” Sebilsky at St. Mary Catholic Church in Waverly, Iowa. Sharon was employed at Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community, Shell Rock Care Center and then for the City of Waverly from 1979 until retiring on March 28, 1997. Following her retirement, she worked at Frontline Gear & Specialties and at WalMart.

She was a member of St. Mary Catholic Church. Sharon enjoyed baking chocolate chip cookies, attending Waterloo Black Hawks Hockey games, but most especially, spending time with her family and friends.

Survivors are her daughter, Kimberly (Jeffry) Traeger of Waverly, Iowa; son, Brian Sebilsky of Waverly, Iowa; two granddaughters, Katie Traeger and Samantha (Donnie) Soash; great grandson, Bentley Soash; two sisters, Carol (Jim) Kattelman of Cedar Falls, Iowa and Pam (Howard) Simonds of Oelwein, Iowa; brother, David Moeller of Cedar Falls, Iowa and faithful companion, Chloe. She was preceded in death by her parents; and husband, Leon “Bob” Sebilsky on May 5, 2005.

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