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Wesley Isenhower

wesley isenhower
Wesley Woodrow Isenhower, age 93, of Fredericksburg, Iowa died Thursday, March 5, 2020, at the New Hampton Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in New Hampton. Funeral service will be held 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 10, 2020, at Hillcrest Baptist and Brethren Church in Fredericksburg with Rev. Scott Smith celebrating the service. Interment will follow at Rose Hill Cemetery with Ryan O'Day, Darren O'Day, Mitch Grummitt, John Isenhower, Wesley Langfitt, Bill Pitz serving as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers will be Casey Ball, Marvin Grummitt, Nick Entwisle, Pat Hoffman, Scott Valvoda, Jeff Terbrock, Keith Benter, Brian Hamm, Dennis Martin and Billy Martin serving as honorary pallbearers. Friends may greet the family from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. on Monday, March 9, 2020, at Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in Fredericksburg. Visitation continues an hour prior to the service on Tuesday at the church. Wesley W. Isenhower was born on June 6, 1926, to Clarence and Ruth (Mathern) Isenhower in a tenant home on a farm near Beaman, Iowa. He was a child of the Great Depression, and tragedy struck his family when his mother passed away. Wes was just 3 years old, and he ended up staying with his Aunt Rena and Uncle Loren Murty before moving back to his father’s home when Clarence remarried. Like many people in that era, Wes attended school through the eighth grade, and although he had a chance to go to high school “in town” while working for his “room and board,” he decided if he was going to work, he might as well do so on his uncle’s farm, where he became adept at many jobs, including picking corn. Wes went into the U.S. Army on Nov. 18, 1945, and he was stationed in Germany, where he helped clean the “death camps” run by the Nazis and guarded trains that took “slave laborers” back to Poland and their homes. Wes rarely talked about his service days, but he did open up to one of his grandsons years later and the pain was still evident in his voice. When he was discharged from the Army, he returned to Garwin, and one night, he and his buddies went to a dance, where he met Iva Jean Uhlenberg. Iva had come to the dance with a date, but when she saw Wes she was smitten, found another girl for her date to take home and the rest was, well, history. Wes and Iva were married on March 9, 1947, in Garwin, and their first home was in a remodeled country school that Iva had attended for eight years. Their family steadily grew with the birth of their seven children — Virginia, Joyce, Janice, David, Barb, Dennis, and Brenda. Their children remember their father as a hard worker, one who taught them the importance of a work ethic. And they can still hear him singing around the house. Wes couldn’t read sheet music, but it didn’t matter, for he had an outstanding, beautiful voice. The family moved several times — from Garwin to New Hampton to Waucoma to Fredericksburg — to farm, but in 1962, they moved into Fredericksburg, where Wes hauled rock and drove a dump truck before being hired by Murphy and Eisele, an International implement dealer in Fredericksburg. He and Iva Jean still liked to dance, and they were active in their church; in fact, Wes was one of the leaders when it came to the 1975 merger of two churches to make Hillcrest Baptist Brethren Church. He sang in the church choir and performed in several cantatas along with being the church’s custodian for multiple years. Wes was also a longtime member of the Fredericksburg Fire Department and AMVETS Post #90 in Fredericksburg. In the early 1990s, Wes retired, although, honestly, “retirement” really wasn’t in his vocabulary. He worked for Champlain Service Station for several years and also at the local cooperative before becoming the caretaker at Rose Hill Cemetery in Fredericksburg. He was meticulous about the appearance of the cemetery, and truthfully, there was no more beautiful resting spot in Northeast Iowa. He gave the poles a fresh coat of silver paint every year, if they need it or not. Wes and Iva had 30 grandchildren, 39 great-grandchildren, and 24 great-great-grandchildren, and he was a “father figure” to them and he loved them with all his heart. His beloved wife of 69 years passed away in 2016, and the loss of Iva was difficult, to say the least. Save for his “every-10-year-heart-tuneup” — Wes suffered a heart attack at 45, had open-heart surgery at 55, another surgery at 65, a stint placed at 75 and another at 85 — he lived a robust, hard-working life. Wes had a strong faith, and his family and friends are comforted by the fact that he is now reunited with Iva and singing in Heaven’s choir. Wes is survived by one son David (Sharon) Isenhower of Fredericksburg, IA; four daughters, Virginia O’Day of St. Charles, MO, Joyce Langfitt of Windsor Heights, IA, Janice Grummitt of Allison, IA, Barb (Keith) Speicher of Fredericksburg, IA; 30 grandchildren; 42 great-grandchildren; 24 great-great-grandchildren; one sister-in-law, Phyllis Watson of Las Vegas NV; one brother-in-law Vernon (Marilyn) Uhlenberg of Fredericksburg, IA; one special cousin, Iva Vest of Albuquerque, NM. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Iva Jean on April 24, 2016; one son, Dennis Isenhower in 1975; one daughter, Brenda Wurzer in 2007; two grandchildren, Tammy Langfitt, Cori Isenhower; one great-grandson, Ryan Connell; one brother, LaBerlin (Alice) Isenhower; one sister-in-law, Bertha O’Connell; one brother-in-law, Frank Vest; two sons-in-law, Randy O’Day, Lurton Grummitt.

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  1. Isenhower family, you are all in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. He was an extraordinary man. Hold your memories close. Love, Dena and Zac Palmer and Dean Speicher

  2. Hard to loose the old neighborhood. What a good neighbor to my parents and family. Our sympathy to each of you.

  3. Sorry for your loss, Barb. You have my deepest sympathy. He will be missed. As will I miss seeing you. Prayers to you and your family.

  4. We were sad to learn of Wes’s passing. You guys all have our deepest sympathy. Theresa & Mick Urness

  5. To the family of Wes he was a good singer at church I got to know him because I was a foster child of Dave and Sharon Isenhower rest in peace Grandpa wes he will always be remembered Love Brittany Kuecker

  6. May the memories of your loved one console you at this time. All our prayers to his family. Jeanne and David Roder

  7. Our sympathies to the family of Wes. We have many good memories of him. God bless. Craig and Audrey Bravener and family

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