Ruth Jurgens Noth’s Howdy

Hello everyone. 50 years sure has gone by in a hurry.

After graduating in ’73, I started working in the fabric industry after trying and leaving college after a year at SUI, Ames. I entered management training with Fabs Fashion Fabrics in 1975 and was shipped off early to Decatur, Illinois before training ended to close a store there. I could see the handwriting on the wall and left them after the closing and moved over to Northwest Fabrics and Crafts. I moved sight unseen to Marshfield, WI and opened a new store there in time. While there I surprisingly met Paul Maxwell’s sister in the store – small world. After a few years I knew I wanted to move back to Iowa, but they claimed they had no openings here, so I left and came back to Iowa in other employment.

In 1981 I met my husband while working at the Cedar Rapids Water Department. He was in charge of the lab and water quality. We married in 1984 and started our family right away – Chris being born in 1985 and Mike in 1986. Chris and wife have a family of two and live in Marion, Iowa. My grandchildren are 2 and nearly 4, a boy and girl respectively Mike lives in Houston, TX and is engaged but no date set yet.

After Mike was born, we had him checked by the Grant Wood Area Education Agency for a speech impairment to find out if it was one he would outgrow or if he would need therapy to tackle it. The evaluator then told me about her learning disability and I found myself very emotional over it, as it was mirroring my life almost perfectly. Since then I have to come realize that I don’t read because I don’t retain what I read. I have to hear things to retain them, so I’ve always been a visual and audio learner. I also don’t recall many memories throughout my life, but remember numbers well and most of them useless. LOL

When the boys were 4 and 5, I started volunteering for their school – Linn-Mar. After several years of volunteering, sometimes 500 hours or more a year, they asked me to hire on as a teachers’ associate.  For 3 years I worked in first grade. Then the building added another grade level, 5th grade, and they needed someone highly organized to get the teachers off the ground and going. Knowing it would be more computer work than first graders, I took on the challenge I had also written a study to the district as to why they should computerize their lunch system – meal tickets in particular. Children were losing them and they were like cash. The district agreed and then told me I would be managing the system for them part time, I could keep my associate position part time and I’d have enough hours to be considered a full time employee now with benefits. I said I’d stay 5 years and I stayed 23.

In 2009 I lost my beloved husband, Tom to cancer on Feb. 5th. On Feb 5th of 2016 I lost my beloved best friend, Janet Riley Morton, one of our classmates. She married one of my cousins. On Feb. 5th of 2021, my grandson was born. So Feb. 5th is quite the day and I’m so glad we have a birthday to celebrate.

Life has been good. After retiring in 2017, I moved both my parents into my large ranch home with me. Dad had dementia and was getting to be a lot for mom to handle. We lost dad a year and a half later, and mom is still living with me at 89. It will be 6 years come Thanksgiving and she’s doing fairly well.  

Ulrike Kubiska, aka Uli, our AFS student who lived with us in 1972-73, has gone off radar. We haven’t communicated for a few decades and I’ve never been able to find her. We still have beautiful  Christmas tree ornaments from her and her family from Austria that grace our tree each year yet.

I wish everyone a wonderful reunion. I won’t be able to attend, but will be thinking of you all.

In Memory of Patricia M. Hanson

Patricia M. Hanson

Patricia M. Hanson (Pat) passed away May 21, 2023 at her home in Williamsburg, Iowa.  She was 93 years old.

Pat was born August 1st, 1929 in Albia, Iowa, the daughter of William and Dorothy (Lawson) Ford.  She married Raymond Hanson on June 25, 1954 and they had 4 children together, eventually settling in Coralville. Pat enjoyed helping others and worked as a registered nurse throughout her life.  She loved sewing and would make beautiful and elaborate dresses for her daughters when they were young and later her granddaughters as well.  She was an artist and enjoyed creating paintings and also decorating ceramic buildings for her Christmas Village.  She had a flair for interior design and assisted each of her daughters with their own home decor. Pat also loved to travel and spend time with family. Being raised during the depression gave Pat a healthy appreciation for the value of hard work and being frugal; traits that she passed on to each of her children.

Pat is survived by her beloved children, Annette Hanson, Dr. Paula (Bruce) Hanson-Garver, Dr. Laura (Dave Gustafson) Hanson, and Craig (Carol) Hanson; grandchildren, Brooke Hanson, Carter (Sarah Hooper) Hanson, Bethany Garver, Ben Garver and Dayne (Megan) Gustafson.  She was preceded in death by her husband, Raymond Hanson; grandson, Dominick Gustafson; siblings, Helen Clark and Velma Trussell.

Pat will be laid to rest next to her husband at Oak Hill Cemetery in Coralville. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Pat’s honor to St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Williamsburg, IA or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

Please continue to keep Patricia’s family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

In Memory of Howard Haigh

Howard Junior Haigh

Howard Haigh, 78, of Asbury died Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in Dubuque. The visitation will be held Monday, April 10 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Hoffmann Schneider & Kitchen Funeral Home, 3860 Asbury Road, Dubuque, Iowa.  A Celebration of Life and burial at Oakland Cemetery in Iowa City, IA will take place at a later date. 

Howard was born in Manchester, Iowa on March 21,1945 to Howard Lain Haigh and Ula Juanita (Bacon) Haigh. He graduated from West Delaware High School in 1963 where he participated in football, wrestling, golf, and theater. 

Howard attended the University of Iowa. In 1967, he entered the workforce and then enrolled in the United States Army. He spent six months training in Ft. Holabird in Baltimore, Maryland at the military intelligence school. He served in Vietnam from 1968-1969 as military intelligence officer with the 525th military intelligence group, followed by a year in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina with the Continental Intelligence Command. 

Howard earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa, in 1971. He earned his graduate degree from the University of Northern Iowa in 1972. He worked for one year at Ft. Dodge Community College. In 1973, he began his career with the Iowa Department of Human Services in Cedar Rapids, IA. He was employed as a social worker, youth service worker, supervisor, and Family Therapist. 

Howard married Susan Davison on April 28,1979 in Iowa City. Following their time living in North Carolina and  Mount Vernon, Iowa, they moved to Dubuque where Howard started his career with Hillcrest Family Services.There he served as a social worker, supervisor, and eventually Director of Adult Mental Health Services where he developed and administered clinics and facilities in Eastern Iowa. 

Howard was a skilled therapist, a strong and gentle leader; and appreciated by staff and administration. He received two awards for leadership: The Iowa Association of Community Providers and the Nancy Hill Award for Service and Leadership. Following retirement, he continued his work with Hillcrest in mission advancement until 2020. 

He also served as the President and member of the Dubuque Mental Health Association; received training for family therapy from Mental Health Institute in Palo Alto, California. He was a member of the Phi Delta Kappa and a member of the state Mental Health Advisory Board with Magellan. 

Howard had many interests and hobbies and was known for his lifelong love of sailing. Whether he was boating on Lake McBride with family and friends, navigating destroyers with the United States Navy Reserve, chartering on the Great lakes, or steering a retired America’s cup ship in Australia, he had a delighted smile with each adventure. His joy extended to teaching Sue, his daughters, and grandchildren these skills. 

Woodworking was another passion, he and a childhood friend built two wooden sailboats together. They also were working on a larger version of their original, but probably most enjoyed the planning aspects. Howard, his father, and brothers worked together to help build Howard and Sue’s first home. Later Howard could be found teaching his grandchildren how to build wooden cars, boats, airplanes, or anything else that they could imagine. 

Building and testing model rockets was another interest. The only rule was to make sure that the Federal Aviation Administration knew when they were set off. His goal was to build a rocket that would reach the speed of sound. 

Howard was an avid reader, on topics of history, economics, Egyptology, opera or other eclectic interests. He could discuss anything  and was truly a “renaissance man” in his learning and conversations especially with his coffee groups. He loved a good discussion, and one could see that twinkle in his eye when he was about to make a point. 

Howard was a strong liberal and good Democrat; he served as a delegate at county conventions and often served on the Democratic platform committee.  He was Sue’s dear partner in promoting the Palestinian cause and he was proud of that heritage and culture. The annual Palestinian dinners for family and friends were filled with Middle Eastern food, music, comradery, and all looked forward to his special preparation of the roast lamb. 

He and Sue took many wonderful trips across the world. One of his greatest joys was watching his daughters as they explored Europe for the first time. Other favorite trips included, a month living in Paris, Russia, trips to meet Sue’s family in Palestine, and meeting his new grandchildren in Korea. The annual family time in Florida, Door County, and the Smoky Mountains, offered time to be with Sue, his beloved daughters, wonderful son- in-laws and delightful grandchildren. After retirement they would winter in Gulf Shores, Alabama along with many good friends and family. Watching his entire family playing on the beach were such special memories for him. 

His true love was for his family. He was the most beloved and best friend to Sue, his wife of nearly 44 years. He was adored by his two daughters Sara and Shannon, and he was so proud of them. He was a gentle, safe, and caring influence and had a delightful and creative sense of humor. He taught his daughters and grandchildren to play chess, to sail, the joy of exploring the world, as well as the important lessons of life.  He was a good friend to his family, to his sons-in-law and to all who knew him. His quiet gentleness, wisdom and unconditional love will be so missed. 

Howard is survived by wife Sue Davison, daughters, Sara (Mike) Wiedemann, Shannon (John) Davison-Wiese, four grandchildren, Nicholas and Addison Wiedemann, Alex and Madelyn Wiese; a brother, Hartsel (Kitty) Haigh; sister, Ulaine (Harry) Delancey, sister- in-law, Anne Davison; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Howard and Ula (Bacon) Haigh and his brother, Hubert (Lynn) Haigh. 

Thank you to so many people for the supportive care of Howard during his illness. To our amazing family and lifelong friends;  our dear personal health staff of Chloe, Rachel, Abby, Steph, Caitlin, Avery and also to Lisa, Susan, Mary, Rosa, Gretchen, Alex, John, Tammi, Tori, Theresa and the many others that made this difficult journey easier. 

Sail gently on, our sweet Howard… 

In Memory of Melanie Kay Tappan

Bonnie (Tappan) Weldon gave us permission to share the obituary of her sister Melanie.

Melanie Kay Tappan

Melanie Kay Tappan left to fly with the angels on Feb 8th, 2023. She passed peacefully at the Solace House hospice in Joplin, MO due to a sudden illness.

Melanie was the fifth of six children to be born to Sheldon and Connie (Hastings) Tappan on Oct 31, 1964. She grew up on the Century family farm west of Iowa City as the 5th generation to be raised there. She attended West High in Iowa City.

Mel was a free spirit, caring, loved anything from the ‘70’s (especially music), lived life on her own terms and had a kind loving heart. Her family, friends and all animals big and small were very important and dear to her heart. Everyone she met was considered a friend and she would do anything for anyone. Melanie loved to travel and one of her favorite places was Estes Park, Co where she lived for many years. Melanie married Kenny Westcott and they later divorced.

Melanie is survived by her siblings: Bonnie Weldon of Iowa City, Becky (Craig) Tubandt of CA, Kevin (Carolyn) Tappan of Riverside and Wendy (Tom) Strabala of Ainsworth. Nephews and niece: Eric Weldon, Matt Weldon, Andy Tappan, James Tappan, Mike Tappan, Travis Tubandt, Tyler Tubandt, Trent Tappan and Carly Tappan and great nephews and nieces. She is also survived by many cousins, friends and her very special friend, Steve Porter of Joplin, Mo.

She was preceded in death by her parents, brother Mark, brother-in-law Larry Weldon, Grandparents, Carl and Rose (Bayer) Hastings and Oscar and Bessie (Westfall) Tappan, special aunt Karleen (Bob) Ferguson, many aunts and uncles, cousins and friends. We know she was happy to be reunited with her dogs, Sniffles and Tessie, whom she dearly loved. There was a wonderful reunion on the other side when Melanie arrived.

We love and will miss you, Mel. We are thankful you are now at peace and out of pain.

Our family would like to especially thank Dr. Memon and the ICU staff at Mercy hospital and the Solace House hospice, in Joplin, MO for their wonderful loving care. There are no services planned at this time. Private family services will be held in the summer.

In Memory of Fran Rogers

Bonnie (Tappan) Weldon let us know that Julie Rogers’ mom Fran Rogers passed away recently. Julie has given us permission to share the obituary of this remarkable woman

Middle aged woman with silver hair and glasses looking at the camera over her right shoulder
Opal Francis (Fran) Wenman Rogers

Opal Frances (Fran) Wenman was born January 30, 1925, in Harrisburg, Illinois, and died February 16, 2023. She was the third child of Charles and Lora Fulkerson Wenman. She graduated from University High School in Iowa City and the Iowa City Business College.

Fran had many accomplishments in her life. She loved to read and felt that a library was essential in a growing town. Her Girl Scout troop decided to have some bake sales to earn money to start a library in Coralville, and many private book donations were accepted. On September 13, 1965 the library opened at 405 2nd Avenue, which was the Coralville City Hall. They grew fast and expanded to larger quarters at 806 5th Street in January, 1967, then built a new library at 1401 5th Street which opened in March 1987. Fran volunteered and worked at the Coralville Library from 1965 to 1991, when she retired.

Fran and her husband Bob moved to Wellman, Iowa in 1986. She worked at the Wellman Public Library until retiring in 2009.

Fran and her husband Bob moved to Wellman, Iowa in 1986. She worked at the Wellman Public Library until retiring in 2009.

Fran was a beautiful soul whose kindness, grace, and mercy will be long remembered by all who knew her.

In 1947 she married Robert Rogers at the Little Brown Church in Nashua, Iowa. She is survived by five children: Karen Ackerman (Bill), Debbie, Carole, Julie, and Teri Rogers; eight grandchildren: Allison Buschy (Doug), Anne Ackerman, Clint Ackerman, Chris Fry, Sara Fry (Isaiah Matthews), Carrie Evans (Chris), Tony Wai, and Jordan Rogers; eleven great-grandchildren: Abbey and Dade Buschy, Wyatt and Kolt Ackerman, Rowa Anderson, Will, Dylan, Tom, Joe, and Matt Evans, David Davis, brother Richard Wenman (Mary), and brother-in-law John Rogers.

She was preceded in death by her husband Bob, granddaughter-in-law Beth Shapcott Fry, grandchild Javon Stovall, great-grandchild Kindrey Ackerman, and siblings Roy Wenman, Laverne Flansburg, Stasha Jones, Art Wenman, Jim Wenman, Lynn Wenman, Della Hartvigsen, Bob Wenman, Dale, Bonnie, Donnie, Lloyd, and Floyd Wenman.

Paul Roberts Update

On Monday January 23, 2023 Paul had surgery at the University of Iowa Hospital for colorectal cancer which had been diagnosed in 2022.  The surgeon said the procedure went as planned.  She removed the section of bowel where the tumor was and stitched the ends together.  They had also seen some cancerous spots on the liver but after four rounds of chemo infusions followed by 25 days of radiation/oral chemo, they could no longer visualize any of those spots on ultrasound at the time of surgery!!   He is happy to be home now, 6 days post surgery and on the road to recovery.  He still needs 8 rounds of chemo infusion later in the year to finish out that treatment.

Julie Roberts, Paul’s wife

Class Reunions – What We Have that Counts


In anticipation of our 50-year reunion, we’re sharing this article written by the late Lynn Wisman of Mason City, Iowa. Lynn gave us a lot to think about this year.

Months later, when nothing remained but the memories and the expensive black dress I couldn’t afford, it came to me. The thought had surfaced more than once and I turned away from it, told myself it wasn’t true.

But truth doesn’t die and the truth then and now is that high school reunions do not begin as an opportunity to see old classmates. That is how they end.

Ten years after graduation, it’s about what we “have.” I have this estate … this boat … this degree … this job … this six-figure income … live in this suburb … have this membership . . have great abs … children in private schools … have a Porsche … a great handicap in golf … a personal trainer … this summer cottage … this girlfriend. Say, by the way, do you fool around? Hey, just joking. But seriously, did you come alone?

A 20-year reunion is when the Haves still have it, but . . . still have most of my hair . . . worried about the company downsizing … but she’s fat now … he’s an alcoholic … going broke paying alimony to three wives … but can’t change horses in the middle of the stream … had this operation … but they’re implants … they live so far away … but saving for retirement now … lost out to a younger exec. Say, you look great! Always had this crush on you. Did you say you’re here alone?

The 30-year reunion is when it starts to shine: It’s the year the Haves check it at the door. What we have isn’t important anymore. It’s important to be here, to see you, to see him, to see her. To remember the fun … Hi- Dive … Senior Week … the tug of war … the prom … the beer parties … the broken curfews … the souped-up cars … Senior Skip Day … the night Buddy Holly died. To remember pleated skirts and saddle shoes and the hangout where we smoked our first cigarette and felt sophisticated.

We were doing head counts long before the 40th reunion. Many of our classmates are gone now, never to attend a reunion again. Some of the Haves are now Have-Nots: wear a pacemaker … use a walker … can’t golf like I used to … doctor said it was too much steak and booze . . . have a new heart … the bank foreclosed when the company folded … look too bad in my workout gear … sure miss some of the guys that are gone now … plan to retire soon if I live that long. Say, aren’t you in the room next to me? Didn’t see your husband. Oh, he’s gone now? Sorry about that but have I got a deal for you. I take Viagra now … .

Now comes the summer of the 50th. A bittersweet time in our lives, perhaps the last time we’ll all be together again.

It may be the last reunion, the last time we’ll see our high school friends, the last time we’ll dance to the music of Buddy Holly. It may be the first time that it doesn’t matter to anyone who has what or who never had it to begin with.

The joy of having material things loses ground as the years evaporate like a silent and unwelcome ghost in the night, leaving changes that far overshadow what we have.

For it was with those once tender young hearts that we learned one of the most valued lessons in life: Friends, and the memory of what once was, are priceless possessions. It’s the one thing we all have.

You may not remember me but I remember you. And it’s good to see you. I only care that you’re here and that you seem happy. I don’t care that we are fat or thin or rich or poor. I care only about the years that are gone and the friendships we once had.

It took nearly a lifetime for all of us to understand the real value of yesterday.

Perhaps now we will better cherish the promise of tomorrow.

So, did you say you’re here alone?

Lynne Wisman is a freelance writer and photographer living in Mason City. She is the author of newspaper columns, published essays, and she writes for business and trade journals.

Holiday Letter 2022 From Chris and Martin Andersen

Woman and man standing in formal attire
Martin and Chris Andersen New Year’s Eve 2022

Dear Family and Friends,

In March of 2020, COVID-19 changed all our lives. The pandemic manifested in stages, from uncertainty and fear with lockdowns, respites, up and down infection rates; to the hope brought by vaccines and treatments; later transitioning in many peoples’ minds into an annoyance, of increasing apathy. Through diligence and luck, both Chris and I were able to avoid contracting the virus. That changed on December 13, when Chris woke up with the first “cold” symptoms she had experienced in over two years (those masks keep out all kinds of viruses). The next day’s positive test confirmed her suspicions. She finally tested negative 14 days later, having joined the estimated 90% of our fellow citizens who have been caught by COVID at least once. Thankfully her case was mild. The demoralizing part was having to spend Christmas apart from friends and family. But isolation, the annoyance of wearing masks at home, eating in separate rooms, and Martin sleeping on our living room couch for two weeks has come to an end:  it feels a little like being released from jail. Stay healthy!

We continue to ply our respective trades. Christina Andersen Floral Design is in its 23rd year; Chris has fully recovered her weekly accounts that were put on hiatus during the pandemic, and had very successful Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day traffic. Martin abides in his 44th season with New Jersey Symphony, has been teaching at Stevens Institute of Technology, and continues instructing private students. He spent a half-year as NJSO musician committee chair helping hammer out a new five-year labor agreement, ratified by his colleagues short of a strike on the cusp of the orchestra’s 100th anniversary season Gala. In July Martin played (literally) a bit part in a Leonard Bernstein biopic film entitled Maestro, starring and directed by Bradley Cooper, produced by Martin Scorsese. It should be released later this year. 

In June we took a nice mini-vacation to Ithaca, in the New York Finger Lakes region, living for a few days at Eco Village. We hiked trails skirting its gorgeous gorges and waterfalls, and explored the Cornell University campus, as well as attractive shops, restaurants, and a big, fun farmer’s market. We had never experienced that area together – and will surely return.  

We visited Martin’s mom Ruth in Palm Springs in March; followed by Martin making his usual solo trip to visit her in July. Then in October, when mom had a fainting spell, ended up in the hospital, and was counseled that she needed an aortic heart valve replacement, Martin flew out again to be at her side for several weeks through the process of prep, surgery and recovery. It was a bit of a blow to see mom so vulnerable, considering that in her 92 years, she had seen no life-threatening health issues. She is doing well now, is still living in her own home, and has resumed her normal activities.  

In August we traveled west, first visiting Chris’ hometown of Rockford, Illinois to visit her brother Jim and wife Jeanne, sister Janet, and goddaughter Megan, husband Jake, sons Sam and Ben; also attending part of Chris’ 50th High School reunion (postponed by two years). Next, we enjoyed three weeks in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where Martin resumed performing at Grand Teton Music Festival, having skipped the previous year. 

Chris celebrated achieving the age of 70 on October 18. Actually, we had two parties, one for local friends, the other for Brooklyn relatives. For the former we had a catered affair at our apartment – yummy food, great company (everyone testing before arrival).  For the second fete, Chris cooked her mom’s Cowboy Chili recipe – really casual. Champagne at both!

We hope your Christmas and holiday season was a good one. Wishing a Happy New Year to all. 


Martin and Chris

Paul Roberts’ Christmas program at Sharon Center United Methodist Church

Jackie (Dague) Nicholson attended the Christmas Concert on December 11, 2022 at Paul’s church.

The Great Bluegrass Herons played consisting of Paul and Julie Roberts, Janet Lackender Wilson (class of 72) and Mark Wilson.

Great Bluegrass Herons

Banjoy played- Bob and Christi Black, Paul on bass and Joy Ward on fiddle.


Paul’s sister Mary (West High class of ‘75, I think) and wow can she sing! There was also an excellent cellist who performed (didn’t get her name).

Paul was in his prime form and the church was packed with folks from all over. They have this concert every year in December at this church.