You are here

Alumni Obituaries

  • Janice A. "Jan" Denehy


    Janice Ann Denehy, 74, of Iowa City, died Friday, April 20, 2018, at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics from complications following a heart attack.

    Jan was born February 28, 1944, in Chicago, Illinois, to Jack and Ruth (Ruppenthal) Cessford and grew up with three siblings: Cheryl, John, and Joan. She attended college at Andrews University in Michigan and earned her nursing degree at Loma Linda University in California, She married her husband, Jerry, during his training in dental school. After moving to Iowa City in 1968, she completed her MA in the Nursing of Children, followed by her PhD in Educational Psychology at the University of Iowa. She retired as an Associate Professor after teaching in the College of Nursing for thirty-four years. Following retirement, she served as the executive editor of the Journal of School Nursing for fourteen years, during which time she wrote over fifty editorials.

    Jan’s nursing research was varied though her primary focus involved the classification and identification of nursing taxonomy. Her research projects resulted in scholarly production of twenty articles, six books, and fifteen book chapters. She was in demand as a speaker at state, national, and international nursing meetings. Jan received numerous honors throughout her professional career including awards in writing and teaching at both the university and national level.

    Click here to read the full obituary

  • Jane Harp


    Jane A. Harp, 60, of Iowa City, died Saturday, March 10, 2018 at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. 

    Jane had been working at UIHC since 1979 and held various roles including nursing assistant, LPN, RN, supervisor, advanced practice nurse, and nurse practice leader in ICU, PACU, and most recently the NCEC. She graduated with a BSN from University of Iowa in 1979 and a MA in Nursing in 1991.

    Click here to read the full obituary

  • Ruth Roberts


    Ruth Roberts, the Master of the Roses, passed away peacefully at her home in the memory care facility at Sunrise Assisted Living Center in Boulder Monday, February 12, 2018 at age 90.

    Ruth was born in Okmulgee, OK on November 13, 1927 to Edward and Evelyn Opfell. The dustbowl and depression era necessitated their move to the family-owned farm on the Iowa River near Iowa City, IA. It was there where Ruth developed her lifelong love of gardening while helping her mother tend to their large vegetable and fruit garden. While attending high school in the midst of WWII, she was awarded first place by the 4H Club for her Victory Garden. Ruth graduated from the University of Iowa (UI) School of Nursing in 1949. She met Morris O. "Shorty" Roberts while at UI and married in June of 1949. Sons Jeff and Barry were born in Iowa and the family subsequently migrated west to Granby, CO. 

    Click here to read the full obituary


  • Dianne L. Naumann


    Dianne L. Naumann, 74, of La Crosse passed away Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, at her home after a six-year battle with lymphoma and leukemia.

    She was born in Sacramento, Calif., Sept. 26, 1943, to Richard and Colleen (Kralik) Lewis, but grew up in Iowa. On May 26, 1984, Dianne married Dennis Naumann.

    Dianne graduated from the University of Iowa College of Nursing with a BSN in nursing in 1965. She worked at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Ill., for 21 years. She enjoyed playing tennis, playing the piano, and traveling with Dennis. She was an active member of English Lutheran Church and was a member of the La Crosse Area Synod Middle East Subcommittee.

    The full obituary as well as the ability to leave online condolences is available at

  • 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.

    To read the obituary in its entirety, please click here

  • 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.

    To read the obituary in its entirety, please click here

  • 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.

    To read the obituary in its entirety, please click here

  • 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. 

    To read the obituary in its entirety, please click here

  • 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.

    To read the obituary in its entirety, please click here

  • 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. 

    To read the obituary in its entirety, please click here