Story by Meg Eginton Illustrated by Mike Kanellis
Just a quick note! Patrick Vaughan and his wife Claudia Rojo visited us this week for the St. Paul Winter Carnival, ” The coolest celebration on the earth” as they say! We had a fun, fun time celebrating winter a birthday and carnival! We were in the parade and enjoyed many other activities, as we embraced winter and the cold!! Great to see them and still thawing out!!
Kevin and Lynne Megan
Berniece Ann “BC” Hansen, 94 passed away peacefully after a short illness on Monday, January 17, 2022 at Legacy Pointe senior living community in Iowa City.
Berniece was born in Madison County and grew up in Winterset, Iowa. Her mother died when she was a young teen and her father worked for Civilian Conservation Corps during the Depression as she and her siblings persevered through many of life’s challenges. She was tough yet kind, gentle and compassionate. She attended Winterset High School and played guard on the girls’ basketball team, was a cheerleader and named Homecoming Queen her senior year.
Berniece met the love of her life, Bud Hansen, in Winterset and after World War II they were married in 1947 and moved to Iowa City. She established an in-home daycare where she lovingly molded children’s’ lives for decades, including her two grandchildren. Berniece became known to many as “BC” which was a name created by her daycare children who had difficulty pronouncing her name, Berniece. Many of her daycare children and their families have continued to be an important part of her life long after going to “BC’s House”.
BC and Bud were avid Hawkeye fans and were season ticket holders for football and men’s basketball. One of their favorite Hawkeye events was attending the Rose Bowl in 1982. At the time when they gave up their season tickets for football, they enjoyed tailgate parties for every game at their daughter’s house. They remained season ticket holders for basketball until just a few short years ago. They were also loyal Little Hawk fans at City High following their grandsons’ sports of football, wrestling, and baseball.
BC and Bud were long-time members of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Iowa City where they once served as deacons and BC was active in the women’s ecumenical bible study group. The couple also looked forward to every Saturday morning to join their friends at Hy Vee for breakfast. BC continued this tradition after Bud passed away in 2018 up until the onset of the pandemic in 2020. They were also faithful patrons of Pagliai’s Pizza and Midtown Restaurant every week.
In 1985 and 1989, BC and Bud landed their dream job of becoming grandparents and were blessed with two grandsons. One of the highlights of their lives was being the ring bearer and flower girl at their youngest grandson, Drew and Sarah’s wedding in 2017 just nine days after becoming great grandparents to Brock and Heather’s daughter, Nora. BC and Bud celebrated 71 years of marriage in 2018 when Bud passed away just seven days later.
BC will be remembered as a great woman who cared and loved deeply. Those left to cherish her memory include her son Mike Hansen and daughter Soni Harney of Iowa City, and her daughter Sue Hansen (Tom Van Coillie) of Fairfield, Iowa, grandsons Brock (Heather) Harney of La Crosse, WI and Drew (Sarah) Harney of Tiffin, IA, great grandchildren Nora Claire and Conor Vincent Harney of La Crosse and Jack Philip and Cole Michael Harney of Tiffin, sisters-in-law Ruth Dorrell of Winterset, IA, Darlene (Graham) Crow of San Antonio, TX, and Shirlee Hansen of Portland, OR and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Bud; her parents, Warren and Rachel Dorrell, sister Margaret and brother-in-law Lenard Binns, brother Rex Dorrell all of Winterset; son-in-law Phil Harney of Iowa City, sister-in-law Arlene and brother-in-law Carroll Troyer of Iowa City, brothers and sisters-in-law Melvin and Viva Hansen and Vona and Jack Willis all of Des Moines, IA; and brother-in-law Jack Hansen of Portland, OR.
The family wishes to express its sincere appreciation to the medical team of doctors and nurses and the palliative care team at UIHC, and the care team at Legacy Pointe and Iowa City Hospice during BC’s final days. We are beyond grateful. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Iowa City Hospice and because of BC’s love of children and the Hawkeyes, the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
Rodica’s memory is of a University of Iowa faculty member who meant a lot to her.
Don Gurnett was a professor and scientist at University of Iowa and he made huge contributions to space plasma wave physics.
UI had a plasma instrument on every single JPL spacecraft and Don and Bill Kurth came to JPL on a regular basis to attend project science group meetings. It was always heartwarming to see how University of Iowa, where I had received my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Physics and Astronomy, were both present in my life. Don and Bill always stopped to say hello and chat with me. Perhaps there are other West High alumni who knew Gurnett or had him as a professor at UI.
Martin Andersen shared this email with us recently:
Dear David, I am grateful to you for your industry in keeping the West High class better connected. To that end, for some reason I woke up this morning thinking about my 8th Grade West Jr High and 12th Grade West High orchestra director and chamber music coach, Dr. Raymond Comstock, with whom I was also a colleague in the Cedar Rapids Symphony for several years. I looked him up today on the internet, and was saddened to find that he had just passed away on December 14, at age 85. I have always had fond memories of his gentle, positive approach to nurturing students in the love of music.
We have shared Ray’s obituary on our In Loving Memory page as a tribute to this fine man.
Ronald “Ron” Olinger, of Cedar Rapids, passed away on Jan. 4, 2022, at the age of 66. His two-year battle with ALS showed his courage and faith in living life to its fullest. Despite the pain, Ron came out a hero and stayed strong until the end. The smile for which he was well known, never dimmed.
Growing up, Ron helped on the family farm, and worked alongside his father in the carpentry and home building trades. He went on to start Olinger Construction and Design which he operated for 20 years. In later years, he worked as the construction director for Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity until his retirement in 2018. Ron was a member of Antioch Christian Church in Marion.
Ron met the love of his life, Nancy, in 1995, and they were married in 1998. Between them, children include Jennifer, Matthew, Krysta, Kelsey, honorary daughter Tierra, and puggle companion Izzy. Grandchildren include Miranda, Phoenix, Audrey, Trevor, Blake, Patrick, Wyatt, Kennady and Kingston.
Ron was a sports enthusiast, whether it was coaching his children’s youth leagues or cheering on the Hawkeyes, Cubs and Bears. He and his wife enjoyed travel and camping, especially to Colorado. Their final vacation was a trip of a lifetime to Yellowstone National Park this past July.
A heartfelt thanks to the staff of Hiawatha Care Center and Dr. Mary Anne Nelson for their compassionate care in his final three months.
A Celebration of Life will be held in the spring.
Memorials in Ron’s memory may be directed to the family.
I don’t know about you, but Christmas in 2020 seems like it was a very long time ago – maybe two or three years ago. And for that matter, all of 2020 seems but a distant memory – that is, those parts of it I can remember. Does this sound at all familiar? I refer to it as “Pandemic Time Dilation/Displacement Syndrome” (PTDDS).
During 2021, we kept soldiering on, no matter the circumstances. We sought out our three doses of Moderna as soon as each became available. And flu shots. Life was slowly returning to the familiar, but lately there have been some setbacks. That can feel demoralizing. For us, the only possible antidote is practicing-mustering-realizing thankfulness for all the blessings we have experienced: not just in the past, but every day. So easy to forget…
Is it possible that Omicron will prove to be an important turning point – for the better – in the pandemic? It is too early to know, but there is a hope that higher infection rates, coupled with milder symptoms, might spell a transition of COVID-19 to an endemic disease, with a much more manageable, and less dangerous, future.
Christina Andersen Floral Design is now 23, with all but the first year at the Monroe Center (a former Levolor Blinds factory) in Hoboken. After essentially coming to a halt in 2020, business has substantially recovered. In June, Chris received a Hoboken Green Business Award from the Mayor at an outdoor ceremony, a part of the Hoboken Green Fair, spotlighting businesses that follow sustainable practices, as a positive example to the rest of the business and general community. This is the sixth year in a row that CAFD has been so honored. In October she decided to throw herself a “boosted birthday bash”. In an effort to stay physically and emotionally fit, she continues yoga and has restarted almost daily walking. A wonderful year-end distraction was the baking of family-tradition Christmas cookies, especially Pepparkakor, to which Martin was introduced as part of the marriage pact.
Most of his musical activities have remained virtual: private lessons and NJSO youth orchestra coaching via Skype and Zoom, plus symphony home recording projects. The Symphony’s virtual gala in April spotlighted the 30th anniversary of the NJSO youth orchestras: Martin was feted as one of two musicians who have coached in the program from its inception. At long last, the full orchestra resumed live performances in October. The elaborate safety protocols for musicians, staff, and audiences are a pain, but of course necessary. Also this fall, Martin was invited to teach part-time at nearby Stevens Institute of Technology. He remains active as chair of the NJSO musician committee; and was just re-elected to a three-year term on the Executive Board of the music union Local. He will finish his final term on the Vestry of All Saints Episcopal Church next June. In June Martin risked flying, making a (long-overdue) visit to his mom in Palm Springs, remaining there 22 days. There was a lot to do, and he and mom had a fine time together. Her health, at 91, is good; she continues to live independently, with help from her friends and neighbors, particularly Anita Vavere and Emil Oana. On Christmas Eve, Martin played viola at All Saints in a string quartet along with five singers (vaccinated, distanced, masked), live-streamed instead of having live church attendance. The next day, participants received a message that our priest had tested positive for COVID-19. Thankfully no one else involved in the service caught the virus, and our priest has recovered fully, after mild symptoms.
For a second year in a row, we did not travel to Wyoming in August for Grand Teton Music Festival/vacation. The festival did resume this year, but we were not confident about our safety. Really missing our friends, the music, and the mountains, we’re hoping to return next season.
In July we enjoyed attending two outdoor-vaccinated-socially-distanced chamber music concerts, performed by NJSO colleagues in the gardens of the Newark Museum. Good music, beautiful weather, a real breath of fresh air.
In September we decided to repeat last year’s vacation destination – Salem County in upstate New York – since it was derivable and because we had such a good time being there last year. Once again, we stayed at Bunker Hill Inn, spending time with our innkeeper and friend Laura Coldwell, with whom Martin played some flute/violin duets. We were able to explore the area in greater depth, and also had several visits with Pat Lamb and Jack Isgro, whom we had met the year before through our Hoboken friend Jane Kober. Jane actually came up to Salem for a few days while we were there. We definitely see ourselves returning to the area often. September saw the 20th anniversary remembrance of the 9/11 tragedy. As eyewitnesses to those events and their aftermath, it brought back vivid memories and strong feelings of those poignant times.
Christmas holiday in-person get-togethers had to be scrapped because of a few positive (mild) cases amongst our friends and family, but we have been kee ping in touch on the computer screen, on the telephone, and via email (like this one). We were able to meet outdoors with friends on New Year’s Eve around Susan Copeland and Brian Mynard’s fire pit; and spent New Year’s Day in Brooklyn with Chris’s sister and brother-in-law Melinda and Peter (rapid testing all around). On January 5th dared a meal at Halifax restaurant (they are one of Chris’ flower accounts; had 20 feet of space to the next table that night) as we reflected on 31 years of marriage, having a great meal as we enjoyed our own private game of “name that classical tune/music trivia” while listening to the piped-in sound system.
Hoping your holiday season has been at least pretty good; and wishing us all a better 2022.
Martin and Christina
Judy has shared two photos from her very busy and event filled year. Here they are, described by Judy in her own words.
One photo is from Ben’s May graduation (from L-R Sam who is currently a law student, Ben who is currently in a master’s program to become a high school physics teacher, me, and my husband Dave)
The other photo is from Thanksgiving, showing the four Bryants,, plus the boys’ girlfriends and our dog, Ranger.
Javon Akil Rogers Stovall, 27, passed away while attending graduate school at Florida International University in Miami, Florida due to complications with epilepsy.
As a graduate assistant at FIU, he was focused on social justice and inclusion. Javon wanted to better not only himself, but his community, and the world. He quickly connected with faculty and students showing support, kindness, and compassion to everyone he met. He actively encouraged others to find their passion and strived to make others feel accepted, included, and valued no matter what which inspired everyone around him.
Javon was born to Julie Kay Rogers and Joseph Stovall in Iowa City, Iowa where he grew up. Javon attended West High School where he started growing his passion of all things music. After graduating high school in 2012, Javon first pursued his passion in music at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He later left Luther to attend Kirkwood Community College and eventually the University of Iowa, where he earned degrees at both institutions in May of 2020. Javon was then accepted to graduate school at FIU.
While a student at Iowa, Javon was highly involved with many groups and organizations. Javon was president of the Old Gold Acapella group, an Asst Program Coordinator with Leadershape through the Center for UI Student Involvement and Leadership, was a member of the Human Rights Student Collective, participated in student government and several others.
Javon’s love of coffee was a staple of his personality. He will be remembered for exchanges over coffee and wine with either lots of humor, deep discussion, or fun conversation. Javon’s laughter was infectious. He was an extraordinary listener. His big personality matched his big bear hugs which were always warm and sincere. Javon touched many lives with his caring and unique energy, he will always be an inspiration to many.
Javon is survived by his parents, maternal grandmother Francine Rogers, sisters Jordan Rogers and Carrie Evans, brother Tony Wai, aunts, uncles, nephews, many cousins, and many friends.
Alan Huey shared a memory from Janelle (Gibson) Huey’s trove of West Side Story newspapers. This one is athletic, showing classmate Jeff Hartzler leading the pack at a track meet in Anamosa, Iowa.
This photo is from the edition dated 28 April 1972!