Obituaries for past members

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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Roger William Metzger

Roger William Metzger, 80, of Waverly, Iowa, and formerly of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, passed away on Sunday evening, 11 November 2018 (Veterans Day) at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics following a brief illness.

Roger was born on 7 September 1938, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of William B. and Emma (Wiederhold) Metzger. He attended the Boys Technical High School in Milwaukee and in December of 1955, while a student he joined the U.S. Marine reserves. Roger graduated from high school in January of 1957 and on 14 September 1957, he was united in marriage to Judith D. Reinke in Milwaukee. With Roger’s military career the family lived in California, Virginia, Arizona, moving to Waverly in 1973. In February of 1957, Roger went to boot camp in MCRD, California and in April of 1957, Roger was discharged from the reserves and enlisted as a regular Marine, serving on the U.S.S. Shangri-La Aircraft Carrier in 1957-58, served overseas and a tour and a half in Vietnam. Roger transferred to the Fleet Marine Corps Reserves based in Waterloo, Iowa, where he retired from the service on 31 August 1976. Following his 21 years of service to his country in the U.S. Marine Corps, Roger then worked for Dales DX Service Station in Waverly from 1976 until he retired in 2001.

Roger was baptized in October of 2014 in Waverly and is currently a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. He was a longtime member of the Marine Corps League, American Legion Post #176 and V.F.W. Post #2208 (now known as the Waverly Area Veterans Post) where he held several offices, currently was on the Board of Directors and responsible for all honor and color guards. In his spare time Roger enjoyed reading, shooting, and spending time with his family and friends. Roger was a very faithful member of the Waverly Area Veterans Honor Guard – helping pay respect to many many veterans that have gone before us.

Roger is survived by his loving wife, Judy Metzger of Waverly, Iowa; two sons, William (Deb) Metzger of Waterloo, Iowa, Douglas (Tammy) Metzger of Norwalk, Iowa; one daughter, Sherri (Mike) Boomgarden of Allison, Iowa; 11 grandchildren; 11 great grandchildren; 1 great great grandchild; and a sister, Ruth Metzger of Milwaukee. He was preceded in death by his parents; a grandson William; granddaughter Ashleigh; a brother and his wife, Bernie and Deanne; a sister and her husband, Irene and Bob Zuback; his mother and father-in-law; 1 brother-in-law and a sister-in-law.

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Richard Paul Oberheu

Richard “Dick” Paul Oberheu, 81, of Janesville, died Thursday, October 25, 2018, at the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown.

Dick was born April 4, 1937, in Waverly, Iowa, the son of Arnold and Hilda (Roloff) Oberheu. He was baptized April 25, 1937 and confirmed May 18, 1951, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Waverly. He graduated from Waverly High School with the class of 1955. He served in the United States Navy from January 16, 1961 until his honorable discharge on January 14, 1963. On June 12, 1965, he was united in marriage to Marilyn J. Walther at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Waverly. He worked for Ramker Construction in Waverly until starting his own construction company, R.P. Oberheu Construction Inc, which he ran until 1993. He then switched careers and became a realtor and started Dick Oberheu Realty, a company he ran from 1995 until 2014. Marilyn died December 3, 2013, and Dick continued to live in Janesville until entering the Iowa Veterans Home in 2016 due to declining health.

Dick was a longtime member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Waverly. He was also an active member of the Waverly Rotary Club, serving in many capacities over the years. He was an avid bird watcher, nature lover, and could fix about anything. Dick thoroughly enjoyed his group of friends, known to themselves as the “Steak Group”, that would gather each month for food and conversation. He cherished all the moments he had with friends and family.

Dick is survived by his son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren, Jason, Deveny, Logan and Locklynn Oberheu of Janesville, one sister, Norma DeLavergne of Cedar Falls, one brother, Howard Oberheu of Warrenton, Virginia. He is preceded in death by his parents, wife Marilyn, two brothers, Vernon (Donna Kay) Oberheu and Robert Oberheu, and one brother-in-law, Rex DeLavergne.

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Bernard E. “B.E.” Mick

Bernard “B.E.” Mick, 94, of Waverly, Iowa passed away on Thursday, August 30, 2018 at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa.

Bernard Eugene Mick was born on March 14, 1924 in Bussey, Iowa, the son of Fred Lyman and Sylvia L. (Olson) Mick. Bernie attended school and graduated in 1941 from Bussey High School. He then attended Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa for two years, followed by Northwest Missouri State, at Maryville, Missouri, in a Navy V12 unit. From there he was sent to Wellesly College in Massachusetts in a Navy Midshipman School. In September of 1944, he received his commission as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy Supply Corp., receiving orders to be Asst. Supply Officer on the U.S.S. Rigel AR 11, a repair ship. He went aboard ship on Thanksgiving 1944 in Hollandia, New Guinea and then moved up to Leyte Gulf in the Philippines. He spent 12 months there repairing landing craft that were damaged. At the end of WWII he spent six weeks in Manila and then returned to San Francisco. Following separation from the service in Sept. 1946, he attended the University of Iowa, graduating in 1947 with a B.S. in Commerce Degree.

On February 14, 1948 he was united in marriage to Patricia A. Wood in Diagonal, Iowa. He had met Patricia while at Simpson College.

Bernie became associated with Spurgeon Mercantile Co., a chain of ladies Jr. dept. stores in Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, and Wisconsin. He trained in stores at Fairfield and Marshalltown, Ia., and managed stores in Albia, Ia. and Portage, Wis. In 1952 he became a buyer in Chicago, living in Skokie, IL., for 10 years. In 1962, Bernie and Pat purchased the Schlutsmeyer Ladies Dept. Store in Waverly. Over the years they expanded to other stores in Waverly including Patricia Fashion Fabrics, Elegant Woman, The Denim Patch, The Bridal Gallery and Home at Heart, as well as stores in Cedar Falls and New Hampton. The stores have always been a family business with all of the family involved. To date, only the original store, B.E. Mick’s in Waverly is operating. It has been purchased and is operated by Robert and Ruth.

Bernie was Cub Scout Master in Skokie, Il., and a member of the American Legion and Amvets. He was a Rotarian for over 40 years, serving as president from 1981 to 1982, and received the Paul Harris Fellow recognition. He served 20 years as Rotary Goodfellows Chairman. He was also director of the Corwin Co. in Kansas City, Mo. Locally, Bernie was an active member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, the Waverly Community Symphony, and a member for the Bremwood Lutheran Children’s Home. He also served as a member and director for the Waverly Chamber of Commerce and the Waverly Public Library. Bernie was a big sports fan, supporting the Waverly-Shell Rock Go Hawks, Iowa Hawkeyes, Wartburg Knights, and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Bernie was a proud service man, accomplished businessman, and a good citizen, however, his number one priority was his family. Above all, he enjoyed spending time with his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Bernie is survived by his four sons, Stephen E. (Cynthia L.) Mick of Waverly, Ia., Gary L (Marie A.) Mick of Guttenberg, Ia., Robert C (Ruth A.) Mick of Waverly, Ia., and Jeffrey W. (Lore’ A.) Mick of Waverly, Ia.; and 12 grandchildren, Valerie and Dan Aguilera, Natalie and Colton Wears, Ryan & Verity Mick, Brandon & Abigail Mick, Laura & Samuel Rosa, Christina & John Erickson, Neil & Joy Mick, Elizabeth Mick and Alex Wyrick, Leah and Nate Edwards, Reed and Malinda Mick, Drew Mick, Hannah Mick; and nineteen great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Pat in 2007, and three brothers F. Wayne, E. Raymond and Harold L.

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Irene May Brinkman

Irene May Brinkman, age 90, of Waverly, Iowa, and formerly of Allison, Iowa, died on Tuesday, July 31, 2018, at University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa.

Irene was born on May 26, 1928, in Allison, Iowa, the daughter of Henry and Effie (Ahrens) Dickman. She attended country school in rural Allison and then attended and graduated from Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Irene then returned to Allison and taught country school. On October 17, 1947, Irene was united in marriage to Harvey Brinkman at the Little Brown Church in Nashua. In 1950, the couple moved to Waverly, Iowa. While living there Irene worked at State Bank of Waverly and in 1972, the couple bought the Waverly Bowl Inn. During their retirement, the couple spent winters in Arizona. They moved to Lake City, Minnesota in 1982, and later moved back to Waverly in 1998.

Irene was a member of Peace United Church of Christ in Waverly and the Waverly AMVETS Auxiliary. She enjoyed playing bridge with friends, fishing, golfing, and traveling, however, what Irene enjoyed most was time with family, especially her grandchildren.

Irene’s memory is honored by: a daughter, Joyce (Mike) Vermace of Coralville, Iowa; a son, Steve (Tammy) Brinkman of Mitchell, South Dakota; six grandchildren, Jennifer (Scott) Matthiesen, Johanna (Ryan) Wasileski, Andrew Brinkman, Ashley (Ryan) Carrison, Jennifer (Brandon) Goergen, and Valerie (Nathan) Ruml; nine great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; a sister, Faythe Fox of Allison, Iowa; and a brother-in-law; Dean (Marge) Brinkman of Ackley, Iowa. She was preceded in death by: her parents; her husband, Harvey on January 1, 2005; and a brother, Emery Dickman.

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