In Memory of Barbara Ann Bode Muller

Beloved mother, wife, sister and grandma, Barbara Ann Bode Muller died on April 17th, 2022, Minneapolis Minnesota.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri on 10/28/29 to Loretto and Clem Bode, Barb moved with her family to Cedar Rapids, Iowa where she attended Mount Mercy high school and college. After graduating from Mount Mercy in 1949, Barb taught fourth grade at Sacred Heart in Oelwein, Iowa.

On June 9, 1951, Barb married Thomas F. Muller in Cedar Rapids. They celebrated 53+ years together, also living in Iowa Falls, Anamosa and Manchester, Iowa. While raising her family she restarted her career as a librarian at Manchester Public Library during the late 60s. After moving to Coralville, Iowa in 1970 she worked for a short time at the Coralville Public Library and then at McGurk Myers as a payment clerk. Barbara retired as a Surgery Billing Clerk from University of Iowa Hospitals.

Barbara was an integral part of a loving marriage and a supportive partner. During time spent raising her family and working, indoors, Barbara was an avid reader and greatly enjoyed the New Yorker and Atlantic magazines. She followed politics closely and always had Iowa Public Radio on in the background. Outdoors, she loved gardening, and she had a special amazement for the great creations of nature and humankind. Her love of nature and especially birds was passed down to her children.

Another part of Barbara’s legacy was her excellent cooking. Honorable mentions are, Texas Sheet Cake, Brownies (no frosting necessary!) and Aunt Selma’s Best Oatmeal Cookies. Barbara was understanding and sympathetic to the underdog. Somewhat melancholy, humble almost to a fault, and always full of gratitude. If you were a “sweetheart”, “sweet pea”, “spirit” or a “rabbit” you were in her magic circle.

She will be missed greatly by her family and loved ones. Survivors include children: Tom Jr. (Tricia), Sara, John (Aida), and Paul. Sisters, Mary Ellen (Jim), Ginny (Tim), brothers Phillip (Jan), and Kevin. Sister-in-law, Nancy (David). Grandchildren: Ian, Laura, Brianna, Meggan and Evan. Special nieces: Julie Browning (Bruce) and Kim Newcomb (Steve), and favorite son-in-law, Doug Smith. Barbara was preceded in death by husband, Tom Muller, brother David Bode and Clem and Loretto Bode.

The family would like to express extra gratitude to Bonnie and Eric Weldon for their above and beyond care of Mom at her home in Iowa City. In Richfield, Minnesota we are grateful to the Pines and Havenwood facilities. We are especially grateful for the Memory Care staff at Havenwood for their loving attention to Barbara.

In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to the charity of your choice. Inurnment for Barbara and Tom is scheduled for 2pm, Saturday, October 8th, 2022, Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Judy and Dave’s Excellent Adventures

Judy (Becker) Bryant shared her reflections on her summer in Europe with us.

As classmates may recall, I taught a 6-week summer course as part of my university’s Study Abroad program in Florence, Italy. We added two weeks on the front end to visit London, Paris, and a couple places in Switzerland.

Sharp-eyed viewers will note that I’m wearing the same shirt in several photos. We packed light with one shared suitcase, so I wore a few outfits in rotation and washed clothes frequently. Nonetheless, we managed to bring home exotic pastas (e.g., some dyed black with squid ink) and bottles of limoncello for our sons.

We had the opportunity to take weekend trips to Rome, Pompeii, Pisa, Venice, and Seina. But mostly we explored some of the amazing museums, cathedrals/churches, and markets of Florence, despite record temperatures.

Favorite museums? The Archaeological Museum and the Galileo Museum. Favorite gelato flavors? Lavender and fig. Favorite meals? Pizza, various dishes with octopus, and pizza. Favorite religious items: shrines to Mary on almost every street and reliquaries in almost every church. Food was remarkably cheap and the produce was flavorful. Trains (including bullet trains) were easy to book and afforded views of fields of sunflowers, terraces with grapes and olives, mountains, and villages with Roman walls and homes in earth tones. Needless to say, we took a huge number of photos. 

The 2022 Kalona Bluegrass Festival

Our classmate Jackie (Dague) Nicholson attended the 2022 Kalona Bluegrass Festival, and shared quite a few videos of our beloved troubadour and banjoist Paul Roberts. Paul performed with the groups The McPunk Brothers, The Great Bluegrass Herons, and Banjoy.

Paul with The McPunk Brothers

The McPunk Brothers include Paul on Banjo, Keith Yoder on Mandolin and Guitar (Paul’s cousin), Daryl Yoder on Bass (Paul’s cousin and Keith’s brother), Mark Wilson (married to Paul’s cousin Janet Lackender Wilson).

Wade in the Water

Paul with The Great Bluegrass Herons

The Great Bluegrass Herons include Paul Roberts on banjo, Julie Roberts (Paul’s wife) on bass fiddle, Mark Wilson (on guitar) and Janet (Lackender) Wilson (vocals) from the West High Class of 1972.

Life is Like a Mountain Railway
Let the Light Shine Down on Me

Paul and The Great Bluegrass Herons playing songs Paul wrote

Cabin by the Roadside
Light on the Western Horizon
Moth and Rust

Paul Playing with Banjoy

Banjoy includes Paul Roberts on bass fiddle, Bob Black on banjo, Christi Black on guitar, Mark Wilson on guitar, and Tom Schaefer on fiddle.

Paul with Banjoy
Paul Swingin’ the Bass with Banjoy
Paul Singing with Banjoy
Banjoy: Instrumental Song
Banjoy: Home Sweet Home (There’s no place like home)

Sue Hansen Surgery

Classmate Sue Hansen shared this update with us. Please hold Sue in your thoughts in whatever way is right for you.

I have some news that I’ve shared with family and some friends.  Many of you know I’ve had a challenging year, losing my mom then my brother unexpectedly.  I’ve also had several other family deaths.  In May,  when my brother died,  I had a severe UTI that took many days to clear enough to further test. My great doctor further tested with a CT scan,  referring me to specialists in Iowa City.  After having a MRI and other tests, I learned I have a barely functioning kidney complicated by a mass on top. Is it cancer? We don’t know yet  

So this week on Tuesday I’ll have a Covid test, followed by removal of my kidney and mass on Wednesday July 27th at 12:30 PM. It’s a four hour surgery,  1 night in the hospital and no lifting for a month. My sister and I  have been working hard to finish  both estates prior to my surgery. I  doubt if that will happen but at least most of the lifting and hard work will be done. Please keep me in your thoughts as I  go through another challenge. Thank you and much love❤

Judy and Craig and David and Neptune

Judy (Becker) Bryant shared four pictures of her visit to two of the many spectacular sites in Florence Italy.

Judy invites us to step into her time machine during this visit, showing us photos of her visits in 2022 and in 1964, when she was just a wee lassie. Her photo of the Fountain of Neptune from 1964 includes her brother Craig (Class of ’74), then an even wee-er laddie. (You can find Craig and Judy peeking over the word “Neptune” in the caption).


Judy (Becker) Bryant and Dave Bryant in Europe


We enjoyed unusually great weather for our week in London and survived the transport strike with no issues. In addition to seeing the Tower of London and marching bands at Buckingham Palace, we attended a choral service at St James Cathedral, had dinner with a college friend at a posh club on Pall Mall, took a boat on the Thames, and had other adventures.

A short visit to Paris included the Louvre and a boat ride on the Seine. In Switzerland we stayed in Montreux on Lake Geneva and Zermatt with clear views of the Matterhorn. Arrived in Florence yesterday afternoon. Faculty and students have orientation today and classes begin tomorrow.


John Kaelber 3 Day Golf Reunion

Thought I’d share a photo with you taken recently on a 3-day golf weekend/reunion spent at Eagle Ridge in Galena, Illinois, with West High graduates, two from class of “73” and three from “72”. Care to make any guesses to identities?

Four of us grew up together, living in the same neighborhood, since grade school at Lincoln elementary, and have been able to stay in touch all these years. So, from left to right…Dave Fomon, John Phelan, Chad Dore, Mike Paul, and myself. We rented a large house on the golf course, had a great time eating, drinking, and laughing until our sides ached about the “Old Days”. 

Ok, feel I’m starting to ramble on so I’ll wrap this up by saying have a great retirement, stay healthy, and enjoy every minute of it.


J. Kaelber

Judy (Becker) Bryant’s Summer Adventure

Classmate Judy (Becker) Bryant shared some exciting news about her plans with her husband Dave Bryant for the summer.

Dave and I head out June 14 for Europe, returning Aug 5. A week in London, a few days in Paris and Switzerland, and then on to Florence where I’m teaching in a University of South Florida (USF) Summer Abroad program. USF bought my airplane ticket, puts us up in an apartment, pays a meal allowance and even pays my summer salary.

I’m feeling anxious since I haven’t finished preparing the class which will cram 15 weeks of material into 6 weeks. Plus I have no information about the arrangement of my classroom, available technology, etc. Dave keeps assuring me that I’m a pro and can adapt! My class is M-Th so we’ll have long weekends to explore.

I asked Judy if the rest of us can “tag along” on her adventure, and she agreed to share her adventure with us as long as we “gently remind her occasionally” during her trip.

We wish Judy and Dave all the best on their journey, and we know Judy will do a great job with her classroom duties.

A Bluegrass Bonanza

Classmate Jackie (Dague) Nicholson has brought us all great joy this week, doing her “honorary press agent” thing for classmate Paul Roberts, our class’s Bluegrass Troubadour.

Paul will be appearing in the Sharon Center Bluegrass Festival on June 26, the Kalona Bluegrass Festival on July 22-24, and the Backbone Bluegrass Festival July 29 -31. See the gallery below for details.

  • Sharon Center Bluegrass Festival 2022
  • Kalona Bluegrass Festival 2022
  • Backbone Bluegrass Festival Flyer
  • Backbone Bluegrass Festival Schedule

Paul will appear in all of them as a member of The McPunk Brothers, The Great Bluegrass Herons, and Banjoy.

If you are in Eastern Iowa this summer, be sure and check out these events. You won’t be disappointed!