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Alumni Obituaries

  • Robert Wayne Verhille


    Robert W. Verhille, 83, of Marion, Iowa, and Rio Verde, Arizona, passed away on October 3, 2017.

    Bob was born on November 20, 1933, in Ames, Iowa, to Walter and Gwendolyn (Graves) Verhille. He spent his childhood in Ottumwa, Iowa. Bob graduated from the University of Iowa in 1955, with a Bachelor’s degree in Business. On June 21, 1958, he married Betty (Boyer) Verhille in Creston, Iowa. They had two sons, James and David, and one daughter, Elisa.

    Bob was an inspiring example of a successful businessman who generously gave his time and talents for the benefit of others. Through his career in the insurance industry, to his beloved University of Iowa to Mercy Medical Center, to his community and to his family, he made a difference in many lives. His awards and positions show the diversity of his interests and causes. 

    He served on the Board of Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, as a member of The Archdiocese of Dubuque Finance Committee, Priority One Economic Development Past Chairman, Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce Past Chairman, University of Iowa Foundation Past Chairman, Regis High School Board of Education Past President, Junior Achievement Past President, Family Service Agency Past Chairman, United Way of East Central Iowa Past Director, and Hawkeye Area Boy Scouts Past Board Member.

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  • Antonette De Ryke


    Antonette “Toni” (Blankers) De Ryke, 84, passed away peacefully, into eternal rest on May 9, 2017. Toni possessed a strong personal faith which found expression in every aspect of her life, and supported her through her final transition.

    Memorial services will be held at 3pm, Sunday, May 21 2017, at the First Presbyterian Church in Iowa City. Funeral services and burial took place this past week in Sanborn and Sheldon, Iowa.

    She was born on a farm near Sheldon, Iowa, on February 23, 1933, attended a country school, graduated from Sheldon High School in 1951, and received a Diploma in Nursing from the University of Iowa School of Nursing in August, 1954. Toni and JJ “Jake” De Ryke (a native of Sioux Center, Iowa) were married on October 8, 1955, at First Presbyterian Church (Old Brick) in Iowa City.

    Her nursing career, spanning 50 years, began in Obstetrics and culminated into her national certification as a Gerontological Nurse. She served in a variety of medical areas in various locations before a ten year stint, as Director of Nursing in Dakota Hospital in Vermillion, South Dakota, where she was a member of the area Child Protection Team, and was instrumental in initiating both a Hospice and a Home Health program.

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  • Ellen L. Anderson


    Ellen Anderson passed away at Ramsey Village (Des Moines, Iowa) on her 91st birthday, January 26, 2017. She left this world peacefully after a long and happy life.

    Ellen was born in Kent, Iowa, the only child of Harvey B. and Florence “Flossy” George. She graduated from Creston High School and went on to study nursing at the University of Iowa. She has been a resident of the Des Moines area since August of 1950. While working at Ford Motor Company, she met her husband, Walter and they were married on August 10, 1957. Ellen was a very active person and loved to be busy. She loved gardening, watching the birds and wildlife in her yard, bowling with friends, going to the Playhouse and Comedy Club, going out to eat, and taking care of her pets. She spent her life helping and supporting other people.

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  • Collyn Franzenburg Schmidt


    Collyn Franzenburg Schmidt, long-time resident of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, and a founder of Covenant College, died on Saturday, October 15, 2016. She was 92.

    Collyn, a native of Iowa where her immigrant father operated several meat markets, began her relationship with the college in 1959 when Covenant was still located in St. Louis, Mo. She then played a variety of roles with Covenant over the next 40 years.

    With a degree in nursing from the University of Iowa and a degree in theology from Faith Theological Seminary in Delaware—where she graduated in 1951 as the only woman in a class of 17—Collyn served for seven years as head of nursing at Berakah Tuberculosis Sanitorium, a mission hospital just outside Bethlehem in Jordan. 

    Collyn Franzenburg returned to the U.S. to earn a master’s degree in nursing education from Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, where she renewed acquaintance with and married a family friend, Rudolph Schmidt. She also joined the administration of the fledgling Covenant College—focusing over the next few years on the coordination of the college’s nursing education program. When the college in 1964 moved from St. Louis to Lookout Mountain, Collyn’s duties included the merger of Covenant’s nursing program with that of Erlanger Hospital. 

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  • Shirley Ann Cutright


    Shirley Ann Cutright, age 81, passed away at her home in Carmichael, California surrounded by her loving family. She was born on February 7, 1935 in Ames, Iowa, to Oluf and Anna Petersen, and was the youngest of six sisters and one brother. Shirley was raised on the family farm and attended schools in Gilbert, Iowa, and was a Gilbert High School graduate. Shirley went on to attend the University of Iowa where she met—and on August 24, 1957 married—James Richard Cutright of Davenport, Iowa. In 1960, Shirley and James moved to San Francisco, California, and in 1964 settled permanently in the Sacramento area. Shirley spent her entire career serving others, initially as a public health nurse and then as a school nurse in the San Juan Unified and Natomas school districts.

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  • Lila J. Miller


    Lila J. Miller, 84, a resident of Colorado Springs and Monument, Colorado for more than 60 years, passed away surrounded by family in Georgetown, Texas on April 30, 2016. She had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma just six months earlier.

    Lila was born into the family of Viola Seydel on January 6, 1932 in Iowa City, Iowa. She had two older brothers, Heartly and Donald. At age 20, she married Ervin S. Miller Jr. just before graduating from the University of Iowa as a Registered Nurse. A job opportunity brought them to Colorado Springs in 1961.

    Lila worked as a nurse for more than 30 years in the OB department at Memorial Hospital balancing work and family with love and skill. Lila formed lasting relationships throughout the years, including belonging to a book club and several bridge clubs. She was an avid reader and awesome bridge player, and played without sorting her cards to reduce the chance of giving away the strength of her hand. 

    She loved the mountains of Colorado and climbed 14 of its 14’ers with her husband Erv. 

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  • Dorothy J. Zapf


    Dorothy J. Zapf, 96, of Littleport, passed away Sunday, June 5, 2016, at Central Community Hospital in Elkader.

    Dorothy was born February 29, 1920, in Alden, Iowa, to Wayne and Cecile Hunter. She graduated from the University of Iowa as a Registered Nurse in 1941.

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  • Mary Katherine DeJong Gantz


    Mary Katherine DeJong Gantz died on April 14, 2016 from complications of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), surrounded by her loving family and lots of sunlight. Mary was a respected community leader and volunteer, and a beloved wife, mother, grandmother and loyal friend to many.

    Mary was born on April 4, 1949 in Dallas, Texas to Bernard and Winifred DeJong. She spent her early years in Northwest Iowa, but the family moved to Des Moines during her teenage years. Her fondness for Iowa City began during college at the University of Iowa (BSN ‘71, MS ‘78). This is where she met her husband, Bruce. A whirlwind courtship of two weeks resulted in 44 wonderful years of marriage. Mary and Bruce lived in Iowa City for that duration, with the exception of one year in Salt Lake City, UT, and a year in Zurich, Switzerland during Bruce’s medical training. Over the years, Mary and Bruce travelled around the world, but always came home to Iowa City.

    Mary celebrated education. While earning a master’s degree in nursing, she taught at the University of Iowa College of Nursing for twelve years, all the while supporting her husband’s training and children’s schooling. During this time she also worked at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics as a nurse in the intensive care unit. Mary also taught nursing students while working at the University of Utah College of Nursing. Later in life, Mary’s educational development continued as an active a member of the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council; and the Nineteenth Century Club, a historical local women’s club.

    Mary’s participation in the Iowa City community was far reaching in the areas of education, the arts, and grant making.

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  • Lucile Mae Roberts


    Lucile Mae Roberts, Colonel retired, 94, of Bella Vista, Arkansas died Sunday, January 24, 2016 at Highlands Health & Rehab in Bella Vista, Arkansas.  She was born on May 7, 1921 in Independence, Iowa to Thomas R. Roberts and Mrs. Bertha B. (Beal) Roberts.

    She graduated as valedictorian of her class at the Decorah, Iowa High School. Lucile attended Luther College, Decorah, Iowa for 2 years then transferred to the University of Iowa, School of Nursing in Iowa City, Iowa where she received her baccalaureate degree. Based upon her student academic records and her performance in the clinical education phase of this program, which were outstanding, she was admitted to membership in Sigma Theta Tau Honorary Nursing Sorority.

    Seventeen years later, she earned her Master’s Degree in Nursing Education at the University of Minnesota. She served 30 years of active duty in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps during World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam War.

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  • Janet M. Connolly


    Janet M. Connolly, Colonel, USAF (Retired), a dear friend to all she met, passed away on December 30, 2015. To know her was to love her, and her passing leaves those of us remaining to celebrate her life.

    Janny was born on August 12, 1933 in Cresco, Iowa, to William (Irish) and Frances (Tatty) Barth Connolly. She attended Cresco schools, graduating from Cresco High School in 1951. In 1955, she graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree and that September she started her nursing career as a school nurse in Galesburg, IL. In November 1957 she joined the U.S. Air Force, initially working as an obstetrical nurse before enrolling in the USAF School of Anesthesia in San Antonio, TX.

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