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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Commander’s Call

Just thinking out loud here, but maybe we have got winter behind us. Wasn’t Easter Sunday a great day?

We lost another member of the Amvets family, Past Commander Donald Leisinger. He will be missed.

May 8th at the Amvets meeting is the date to submit your name for one of the officers position on the Amvets board. My second term as Commander will be up in June. I will not be submitting my name nor will I except any position. It’s time to bring some new blood into the group with new ideas and take the Amvets into the future.

Let’s remember at the WAVP we have a Breakfast ( Second Saturday ), Fish Fry( Third Friday ), Steak fry (three Saturday’s a Month) and Thursday night meals.

There is a short order grill and special meals put on by Gail and Meredith. These meals are great. We can compete with anybody.

If there are any Question or concerns Call (319) 404-2311 or Email me at

Thank you.

Bob O’Hare

Military History – May 2019

Graves_at_Arlington_on_Memorial_DayMemorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.  The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service.  It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.
Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.Annual Decoration Days for particular cemeteries are held on a Sunday in late spring or early summer in some rural areas of the American South, notably in the mountain areas. In cases involving a family graveyard where remote ancestors as well as those who were deceased more recently are buried, this may take on the character of an extended family reunion to which some people travel hundreds of miles. People gather on the designated day and put flowers on graves and renew contacts with relatives and others. There often is a religious service and a picnic-like “dinner on the ground,” the traditional term for a potluck meal in which people used to spread the dishes out on sheets or tablecloths on the grass. It is believed that this practice began before the American Civil War and thus may reflect the real origin of the “memorial day” idea.

Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day; Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.



On Memorial Day, the flag of the United States is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon.[41] It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day.

Memorial Day observances in small New England towns are often marked by dedications and remarks by veterans, state legislators, and selectmen
The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon, their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.

The National Memorial Day Concert takes place on the west lawn of the United States Capitol. The concert is broadcast on PBS and NPR. Music is performed, and respect is paid to the men and women who gave their lives for their country.

For many Americans, the central event is attending one of the thousands of parades held on Memorial Day in large and small cities all over the country. Most of these feature marching bands and an overall military theme with the National Guard and other servicemen participating along with veterans and military vehicles from various wars.

Read more about this topic at Wikipedia: Memorial Day

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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James Warren Darrah

James W. Darrah (Jim) 87, of Waverly, Iowa, passed away peacefully Thursday morning, July 12, 2018, at his residence with his family by his side.
Jim was born on September 20, 1930, in Rochester, Minnesota, the son of Clarence and Aletta (Bronner) Darrah. Jim was the first and only son of this marriage. He started school in Rochester. When he was 7 years old his parents moved to a small inland town called Maple Leaf, Iowa. He attended grade school in a one room school house 1 mile from his home. He graduated from Elma High School in 1949. On August 31, 1950, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he served during the Korean War. On August 5, 1953, he was united in marriage to Zona Gale Stevens in Cresco, Iowa. Jim was honorably discharged from the Navy on June 1, 1954, in San Francisco, California. He served 18 months on the Island of Guam; and then came back to the states for Damage Control school for 4 months. On completion of his schooling he was assigned to the General J.C. Breckenridge TAP 176, where he finished his time in the Navy.
When Jim and Zona returned to Iowa, he followed in his father’s footsteps, which being a creamery manager/butter maker. He managed 3 creameries before joining The Minnesota Chemical Company in St. Paul, Minnesota. Jim was a salesman for 35 years, selling dry cleaning chemicals and equipment, and was certainly a legend in this industry. He traveled Europe learning the equipment he was selling, along with what was being manufactured here in the U.S. Jim always would tell people he loved getting up in the morning and going to work. He loved not only his work, but he loved the people he serviced over the years. On March 5, 1986, he along with co-owner Charlie Dunlap and manager Sherri Dralle (Jim’s daughter) opened Classic Cleaners on Main Street in Waverly. This was his pride and joy as he showcased it by bringing prospective dry-cleaning customers to see a working cleaning business.
In January of 1999, they sold the business to Sherri and Steve Dralle where they continued operating until the devastating fire on December 27, 2017. Jim retained his title of V.P. of Foreign Affairs (jokingly & lovingly title) until his passing as he continued to advise in decisions.
In 1998 his loving wife of 44 years, Zona, passed away. On January 23, 1999, he was united in marriage to Velda Mae (Lampe) Schaefer in Mesa, Arizona, at the Velda Rose Methodist Church. They traveled to Germany, Ireland, and many other places. Velda passed away 8 years after marriage. In 2008, Jim married Deanna W. Stuart at Trinity United Methodist Church in Waverly.
Jim was a life member of Trinity United Methodist Church and a life member of American Legion, VFW, and Amvets. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge, Eastern Star, El Kahir Shrine and Kiwanis Club of Waverly.
Jim is survived by his wife, Deanna of Waverly, children, Steven (Dawn) Darrah, Sherri (Steve) Dralle, and Sandi Renner all of Waverly. Step-sons, Alan (Val) Schaefer, Kevin (Shannon) Stuart; step-daughters, Becky (Gene) Severson, Elaine (Jeff) Rasmussen, Kathy (Scott) Hamilton. Seven grandchildren, Steve James Darrah, Kiersten (Aaron) Foster, Lauren (Jarod) Peters, Crystal (Brian) Mennenga, Nicole Schneider, Andy (Stacy) Barber and Mandy (Ryan) Brumm. Step-grandchildren, Chad Renner, Robert (Renae) Renner, Ryan and Morgan Kuhrt, Chris Severson, Patrick (Melissa) Severson, Jared Severson, Andrea (Schaefer) McFarlane, Matt and Ryan Rasmussen, Danielle (Tyler) Stoppelmoor, Jon Hamilton, Ben, Anne and Derek Stuart; 23 great grandchildren and 1 great great granddaughter, Hadley. He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Zona, wife Velda, sister and brother-in-law, Marilyn and Francis Ott, brother-in-law, Gerald Stevens; grandchildren, Michael and John Darrah, Adam Schneider, and son-in-law, Rand E. Renner on August 7, 2017.

Military History – May 2018

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!

Commander’s News

Bob O’Hare

Bob O’Hare Commander

Phone   319-404-2311

Membership – We have 11 new members for 2018 to date! Thanks for supporting veteran causes both locally and nationally! The 2018 dues should be paid by Jan. 1 to maintain your membership status. According to our records, there are a few remaining to pay (Don Barr, Bev Besh, Burton Boevers, James Boyd, Al Conklin, Jeff Evarts, Noel Fry, Jeff Hay, Brian Killion, Brian LaRocque, Larry Swann, WilliamWestendorf, Nicholas Williams, Lester Zelle).

You can mail your $35 dues for 2018 to P.O. Box 93, Waverly, IA 50677, or jump to a life membership for $250.

Tribute – We are locating a new brick supplier. There are several new applications on file; we hope to have all installed this Spring. Applications can be found on the AMVETS Post 79 website, or call Bob (404-2311) or Carl (352-3012).

WAVP Finances – Here are a few interesting facts: Over 98% of all pledges have been made (there are a couple years remaining on some), We are approaching 1000 total donors, Over 66% of all funds raised have come from veterans and veteran families, more than $575,000 has been documented as “gifts-in-kind”. Although there is still an outstanding debt, the daily operations are “in the black”! As we approach the end of 2017, please consider an additional gift to WAVP. These gifts can be in the form of stocks, IRA distributions, insurance proceeds, cash, etc. Any questions can be directed to Chair Darrell Blasberg, Vice-chair Larry Buchholz, Vice-Chair Jim Brandau,

or Vice-chair Carl Benning. Thanks for all considerations!!

WAVP – As you are aware, Sara has resigned as general mgr. (yes, the decision was hers). Sara has done a great job in “getting this ship out of port” the past 16 months. Meredith is filling in as interim manager, while the Board is taking some time to reflect as to where we are and where we want to go.

I will be away from my Post December 27th until February 3rd . Any questions contact Steve V. 352-6763 or Carl B. 352-3012.

Thank you Bob O’Hare Commander 404-2311


I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to those of you who may not know me. I am Meredith Keelan. the General Manager for the WAVP. I was born and raised in Westchester, Il, a suburb of Chicago. I first came to Waverly in 1972 as a student at Wartburg. While there I was in the Wartburg Choir and was one of the 16 women who founded the Softball program- 1973. I graduated in 1976 with a BS in Biology and Education. Right after, as there were no teaching jobs, I worked as a Bartender at the late-great Red Fox Inn and also for Fred Jaspers, at the Waverly G&CC, also in the Pro shop. I served a short tour in the US Navy at OCS-NETC, Newport RI, before moving to Van Vleck, Texas a small (Janesville) town where I abused Junior High and HS students for 35 years, teaching Science, Biology and Anatomy and Physiology. I also coached JH and HS girls sports for 9 year. I served 6 years as the towns’ Fire Chief. Really! I returned to Waverly in 2016 after retiring and live in NW Waverly with Thelma and Louise my 2 Terriers. I have previously bar tended at Prairie Links G&CC (Centennial Oaks) and managed the bar there prior to coming to the Post. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve our Veterans and this Post as the General Manager and look forward to meeting you all, face to face.

Meredith Keelan


Military History – March 2017

Battle of Bismarck Sea

The Battle of the Bismarck Sea (2–4 March 1943) took place in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) during World War II when aircraft of the U.S. Fifth Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) attacked a Japanese convoy carrying troops to Lae, New Guinea. Most of the task force was destroyed, and Japanese troop losses were heavy.
The Japanese convoy was a result of a Japanese Imperial General Headquarters decision in December 1942 to reinforce their position in the South West Pacific. A plan was devised to move some 6,900 troops from Rabaul directly to Lae. The plan was understood to be risky, because Allied air power in the area was strong, but it was decided to proceed because otherwise the troops would have to be landed a considerable distance away and march through inhospitable swamp, mountain and jungle terrain without roads before reaching their destination. On 28 February 1943, the convoy – comprising eight destroyers and eight troop transports with an escort of approximately 100 fighters – set out from Simpson Harbour in Rabaul.
The Allies had detected preparations for the convoy, and naval codebreakers in Melbourne (FRUMEL) and Washington, D.C., had decrypted and translated messages indicating the convoy’s intended destination and date of arrival. The Allied Air Forces had developed new techniques they hoped would improve the chances of successful air attack on ships. They detected and shadowed the convoy, which came under sustained air attack on 2–3 March 1943. Follow-up attacks by PT boats and aircraft were made on 4 March. All eight transports and four of the escorting destroyers were sunk. Out of 6,900 troops who were badly needed in New Guinea, only about 1,200 made it to Lae. Another 2,700 were rescued by destroyers and submarines and returned to Rabaul. The Japanese made no further attempts to reinforce Lae by ship, greatly hindering their ultimately unsuccessful efforts to stop Allied offensives in New Guinea.
For more information on this topic, check out it’s page on