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In Memoriam



We sadly miss the following members of the SCS/NRCS family who have passed away.

Our sympathy and prayers are with their families and friends.

Please email Ron Marlow at to report recent In Memoriam notices.

Last updated 1/21/2019

This page shows RECENT remembrances only.

For a listing of ALL notices collected by YEAR, click here.

To see a listing of ALL notices ALPHABETICALLY, click here.





Manley “Joe” Hibbert Bailey Jr. (90) passed away at home on November 7, 2018 at his home in Lincolnville, Maine.  He was born in Oakland, ME. He was a graduate the University of Maine where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture. Joe served in the U.S. Air Force for four years. He completed soil surveys for Scott Paper Company before working 26 years as a soil conservationist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Joe enjoyed collecting antique tractors and building model airplanes in his spare time. Joe was a member of the Chestnut Street Baptist Church in Camden, the Masonic Lodge in Sidney, and Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity.  He was predeceased by his first wife, Roberta Ackley Bailey and their infant son; his second wife, Lucille Bailey; stepson, Stephen Lidstone; three brothers; and two sisters.  Surviving is his dear friend and companion, Edith Brown of Camden; a daughter and three sons, one grandson, and one great-grandchild. Memorial gifts may be made to the Chestnut Street Baptist Church.  Interment will be held later in Riverside Cemetery in Farmington.  Condolences may be shared with the family at  


Robert Jack Benn (82) of Smith Center, Kansas passed away peacefully November 10, 2018 at Smith County Memorial Hospital. He was born in Troy, KS. He attended Highland Community College where he played football and then attended the University of Kansas. He was employed by the Soil Conservation Service in Doniphan Co. and was transferred to Smith Center in 1958. He had a 30-year career and retired in 1986. Jack and Arlene loved to travel and spent their winters in Rockport, Texas and many summers in Canada. He loved to cook and entertain his friends and family. Jack was a member of Ducks Unlimited, the Soil Conservation Society of America, and served on the Library Board. Jack is survived by his wife Arlene of 58 years, and one son Dirk (Sarah) of Adel, IA, and two grandchildren. He is also survived by 13 nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and his two sisters.


Thomas "Tom" D. Berger (69) of Westerville, Ohio, passed peacefully, at home, on November 8, 2018, after battling Lewy Body Dementia. He is survived by beloved wife of 45 years, Patricia, his three children, and four grandchildren. Tom served his country in the Marine Corp Reserves. He was retired from Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry. He also worked with NRCS for a time in the state office, following his retirement with ODNR.  In lieu of flowers, please consider planting a tree to honor Tom's love of forestry. Condolences may be left at


Honorary Member Charles D. Cheek (91) formerly of Tonkawa and Ponca City, resident of Kansas City, Missouri passed away November 22, 2018. Charles was born in Sterling, Colorado. He attended Tonkawa (Oklahoma) grade school and graduated from Tonkawa High School in 1945. He attended Northern Oklahoma College in 1946, then Oklahoma State University where he graduated with his Bachelor's degree in civil engineering in 1951. Charles served in Korea as a combat engineer from October 1, 1952 to May 29, 1954. Charles married Joan Schug in Tonkawa, Oklahoma on August 25, 1948 and was married to her until her death August 2, 2002. They had one son Randy who was born in 1955. Charles worked as an engineer for the US Soil Conservation Service from the summer of 1951 until his retirement in May of 1986, with a break for military service 1951-1954. Survivors include his son Randy Cheek and wife Kathryn of Kansas City, MO, a granddaughter and two great grandchildren. Charles was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, a sister, and a brother.


Verna F. Van Cleave (88) of Eureka, Kansas, and a longtime former resident of Galesburg, Kansas, passed away on November 1, 2018 at Greenwood County Hospital in Eureka, Kansas. She was born in rural Chase County. She worked in the Kansas State University agricultural office.  Following his graduation from college while living in Eureka, Verna worked for the Greenwood County Health Department as a secretary until retiring.  She was a member of the Galesburg United Methodist Church.  Verna loved to quilt.  Through the years, she had made 157 quilts, many of which were gifted to her family and friends.  Survivors include her loving husband of 69 years, Kenneth Van Cleave, of the home. Kenneth retired from SCS in 1983.  Also surviving are two sons, a daughter, six granddaughters, five great grandchildren, a brother, and two sisters.  Online condolences may be left at


"Dottie" Davis (95), formerly of Silver Spring, Maryland passed away peacefully at Luther Crest Diakon Senior Living Center on October 26th in Allentown, PA. She was born in Superior, Wisconsin. She married Howie Davis in 1945, taught school and raised their two daughters. Howie died in 1985.  She was married to Wesley Hofstad (the best man at her first marriage) from 2003 until his death in 2015. Wesley retired from SCS in 1982 as an  Economist at the NENTC.  He and Dottie were regular attendees to the retiree luncheons.  Dottie enjoyed his children and their families: David, Joy, Alan and Mark. Dottie is survived by her two daughters: Jane (married to Ted Zimmerman living in Allentown) and Mary Lou (married to Bob Rosen living in Savannah, Georgia), four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Luther Crest Care Fund, 800 Hausman Rd., Allentown PA 18104 or St. Luke's Lutheran Church, 417 N. 7th St, Allentown PA 18102.


Albert Ray Dawson (78) of the Claymour Community, passed away on December 27, 2018 at St. Thomas West Hospital in Nashville, TN of natural causes. Albert was born in Todd County, KY. He was a farmer and retired in 2004 from Natural Resources Conservation Service as an Engineering Technician. He was ordained as a Deacon and was a member of Green Ridge Baptist Church. Albert was survived by his wife of 58 Years, Bettie Boley Dawson; his son, Rev. Gary (Debi) Dawson of Trenton, KY; a brother, a sister, two grandchildren, and a great grandson. The family asks that donations be given to the Sunrise Children’s Home, P.O. Box 1429, Mt. Washington, KY 40047.


L. Robert "Bob" Dean (73) of Rio, Illinois passed away on October 28, 2018, at home. He was born in Port Huron, Michigan. Bob married Faith M. Kenyon on July 2, 1988, in Halfmoon Township, New York. She preceded him in death on July 21, 2018 after 30 years of marriage. He is survived by children, Justin (Brittany) Dean of Dahinda, Zack (Melanie) Dean of Latham, New York, Dr. Victoria "Vicki" Callagan of Troy, New York, Amy (Dan) Mahoney of Voorheesville, New York, and Josh (Lis) Cinelli of Fort Worth, Texas; six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; a brother and a sister. Bob worked for the United States Department of Agriculture for many years. After moving from California to Rio in 1996, he was assistant state conservationist at Galesburg until his retiring in 2012. He earned his bachelor's degree from Michigan State University. Bob was a member of the Rio Masonic Lodge 685 and Oneida American Legion Post 727. Bob was of Christian faith. He served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. He was the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with Two Campaign Stars, and the Purple Heart. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Online condolences may be made at


Mabel Elizabeth "Betty" Densmore (102) a long time resident of Madison, Wisconsin passed away on November 23, 2018. Betty was born in West Salem, WI. Following graduation from West Salem High School in 1934, Betty attended Miss Woods Kindergarten and Primary Teacher Training School in Minneapolis, MN. Subsequently, Betty taught kindergarten from 1936-1941 in Viola and Viroqua, WI. Betty met Jack Densmore at a community dance in 1940 and they were married in 1941 in Bangor, WI.  Jack was the first State Resource Conservationist in Wisconsin with the Soil conservation Service and former Regional Forester in the Lincoln, Nebraska technical center. They enjoyed 71 years of marriage and had three children and one granddaughter. Betty was preceded in death by husband Jack in 2012, her parents, and brother. Betty is survived by her two daughters, a son, granddaughter, a sister-in-law, and many nieces and nephews. Memorial donations may be made to Covenant Presbyterian Church, Oakwood Foundation or a charity of your choice.


Bill “Larry” Doerr (60) of Fairmont, West Virginia passed away on December 11, 2018 with his wife at his side. He was born in Detroit, Michigan. Bill graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Montana University. He was a retired Contracting Specialist with USDA/NCRS.  Bill is survived by his loving wife, Cheryl Diana (Dunlap) Doerr; daughters, Jessica (Jeff) Powers of Valley Grove, and Paula Dunlap, of Fairmont, two sisters, and four grandchildren as well as several loving nieces and nephews.


Mason Dollar (73) of Auburn, Alabama passed away on February 5, 2016 at UAB Medical Center as a result of cancer. He retired as the Water Resources Staff Leader on the Alabama state office staff. Mason retired with approximately 35 years of Federal service and later had a very successful career as a real estate salesman, specializing in forest and recreation/wildlife land. Mason was an attorney and member of the Alabama bar.


Verne Irvin Dvorak (93) of Lincoln, Nebraska passed away on December 16, 2018 after recurrent battles with pneumonia. Verne was born at home near Barneston, Nebraska.  Verne graduated from Barneston High School in 1943 and served in the U.S. Navy on USS LST 952 (an invasion hospital evacuation ship), seeing action in the battle of Okinawa. After farming with his father for the next few years, Verne enrolled at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  In 1954, he met the love of his life, Helen, at a Sunday evening Methodist church supper in Scottsbluff, while assisting with research at the Panhandle Research & Extension Center.  They were married at Centenary UMC in Beatrice on Feb. 5, 1956.  He earned a B.S. and M.S. in Agricultural Engineering from UNL. Verne first worked as a hydrologist and later as a computer programmer for the Soil Conservation Service between 1950 and 1991. After retirement, he enjoyed gardening, woodworking, helping his children with home renovation projects, and spending time with his grandchildren, avidly following their activities.  Verne was preceded in death by:  wife, Helen; parents, and a brother.  He is survived by:  his sister, Audre (Dvorak) Ferrier (Ankeny, IA); children, Carla (Ed) Lash (Gallup, NM), Dennis (Leah) Dvorak (Manhattan, IL), and Bruce (Karrie) Dvorak (Lincoln); seven grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter. Memorial contributions may be made to Christ UMC Bus Fund or Tabitha Meals on Wheels.


Larry Dale Farris (66) of Okemah, Oklahoma passed away on November 25, 2018. He was born in Okemah. Larry received a bachelor’s degree in Agronomy from Oklahoma State University. He retired from the USDA NRCS (formerly the Soil Conservation Service) after more than 20 years of employment. He enjoyed his work and also liked gardening, hunting, fishing and reading. Larry attended the Skyview Baptist Church of Okemah. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Robin Farris of the home in Okemah; one son, David (Melissa) Farris of Okemah; one daughter, Michelle Oxley of Okemah; four brothers, one sister, and five grandchildren.


Howard Garner (83) of Newport, North Carolina, passed away on November 23, 2018. He was born to Fernie and Mildred Garner at their home next to the Hill Hardware Store. He lived at his current home on Nine Foot Road since 1963. Howard had a long career as a Soil Conservation Technician serving Carteret, Craven, Pamlico and Onslow Counties. Some of the achievements during his life he was most proud of are: President of Newport Woodmen of the World, Charter President of Newport Jaycees, Governor of Newport Moose Lodge, Vice President of NC Jaycees, Board of Directors of US Jaycees, Honorary Jr Chamber International, Pilgrim Degree with Moose and served as Administrator of Newport Moose Lodge for 18 years during which time the lodge was named #1 out of 2200 lodges by Moose International. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Peggy Garner; daughter, Beth Tufts and her husband; son, Ward Garner; five grandchildren, and a special great granddaughter, and a sister, Brenda Smith. He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, and a sister.


Edward Robert Gelnar (82) of Mangum, Oklahoma passed away on November 22, 2018 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He was born in Brinkman, Oklahoma. He graduated from Mangum High School in 1956. He served his country in the Air Force. He spent his life as a rancher and retired from the Soil Conservation Service. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus. He was a member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Mangum. He enjoyed camping, working with his cattle and especially spending time with his grandchildren. Edward is preceded in death by his parents, a brother, a sister, and a great grandson. He is survived by his wife Darlene of the home; a son, Junior (Susan) Gelnar of Mangum; a daughter, Stephanie (Calvin) Yocham of Mangum; seven grandchildren, and 14 great grandchildren.


Gerald Lee Gregory (80) of Baker City, Oregon, passed away from a heart attack on  November 7, 2018.  Gerald was elk hunting with his son-in-law, when he experienced some chest discomfort.  After a triple bypass surgery at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho, Gerald had two more heart attacks, the second one was fatal.  Gerald grew up in Sweet Home. Gerald was an Army Veteran, a woodworker, a gardener, a hunter, an artist, and a cowboy action shooter.  Before retiring, Gerald worked as a Civil Engineering Technician for the Natural Resources Conservation Service. He is survived by his wife of 58 years Dorothy; son Brian; daughter Becky and son-in- law Bill Manix; and two brothers . Online condolences may be shared at


Gladston “G. H.” Hall (90) of Auburn, Alabama passed away on July 28, 2018. G. H. was a retired hydrologist on the Alabama River Basin Staff. He retired with 33 years of Federal service with SCS. Other work experience included area engineer in Alabama Area 1 and Assistant State Engineer in New York. G. H. was a professional civil engineer and continued work as a pond designer after retirement from SCS. He received the Purple Heart and Silver Star for injuries received in the Korean War. G. H. was an ordained deacon in the Baptist Church and a member of the Gideon’s.


John Douglas Helms (73) of Arlington, Virginia passed away on September 5, 2018, at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, VA. Doug was born in Union County, NC.  He was a 1967 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Arts in History. He continued his education at Florida State University, earning a Master of Arts Degree in 1970 as well as a Doctorate in American history in 1977.  Following his education, Doug moved to the areas of Arlington, VA, and Washington, DC, where he worked at the Smithsonian Institute and at the National Archives. He later became employed with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service as Historian. At the time of his retirement, he had worked for more than 30 years with the department. He was the first Historian for NRCS. To see Doug’s full obituary, see a “Bit of History” on page 5 in the ARCSE November/December 2018 newsletter. 


Valda Jaunzemis (73) of Lincoln, Nebraska passed away on September 9, 2018.  Born April 8, 1945 in Ravensburg, Germany, she came to the United States in 1950, with her mother and brother Janis. She graduated from Lincoln High School and took a job with the Mills Insurance Agency. For many years she was employed by the USDA Soil Conservation Service as a Cartographer at the Midwest Regional Cartographic Unit in Lincoln and later as an administrative assistance at the National Soil Survey Center, Lincoln. Valda was a member of the United Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lincoln and life member of Daugavas Vangis Inc.


Esther L. Johnson (68) of Decatur, Illinois departed this life on October 20, 2018 at Decatur Memorial Hospital. Esther was born in Fayette County, Tennessee. She united in holy matrimony to James B. Johnson, Jr. in 1971. James was a retired Soil Scientist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Esther received a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Millikin University, Decatur. She also completed a post master’s program Family Nurse Practitioner at Mennonite College of Nursing Bloomington, 1997. She retired in 2012. Esther leaves to cherish her loving memories: her husband James B. Johnson of 47 years; a son and a daughter; two grandchildren, two sisters, and three brothers. Professional Services Entrusted to Walker Funeral Service.


Donald Glen Kauffman (86) of Ida Grove, Iowa passed away on October 22, 2018, at his residence in Ida Grove. Condolences may be sent online at Don was born in Parnell, IA (Iowa County. He graduated from Wellman High School in 1950. Don went on to further his education at Iowa State College graduating in 1956. His college experience was interrupted by a two-year period in the U.S. Army, including serving overseas in Korea. Upon graduation Don taught Vocational Agriculture in Dunlap and Grundy Center, IA. While in Dunlap he met his future life mate Wanda Andersen. After leaving teaching, Don joined the Soil Conservation Service in Rocky Ford, CO. He also worked in Holly, CO and Council Bluffs, IA, before being promoted to District Conservationist in Ida County in 1968, where he worked until his retirement in January of 1994. While employed, he started planting Christmas trees on their acreage and upon retirement started Grandpa’s Christmas Tree Farm. Don and Wanda loved meeting and helping families celebrate a traditional Christmas for 14 years. Don loved trees and nature and was active in Trees Forever and was a Master Gardener. He was a charter member of the Ida Grove Ambulance squad for 18 years and an American Legion member. He was also a member of the First United Methodist Church. Don is survived by his wife of 62 years Wanda Kauffman of Ida Grove, IA; sons Jeffrey Kauffman of Cambridge, WI and Craig Kauffman of Shawnee, KS; seven treasured grandchildren, three sisters-in-law; four brothers-in-law; numerous nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.


Senior Conservationist Robert Owen Charles Koerner (“Rock”) (91) of Lincoln, Nebraska passed away on October 26, 2018.  He passed peacefully at home surrounded by his family.  Robert spent his career as a biologist with the Soil Conservation Service, retiring in 1988.  His greatest joys in life were spending time with family, his faith community, photography and time outdoors.  Robert was preceded in death by his wife Mary Ann and eight siblings.  Robert is survived by his seven children, Paul (Jan), Dan (Janet), Colette (Bill Bohl), Roberta (Ty Westover), Patty (Dan Drozda), Kathy (Dan Steinmeyer), Tom (Shelley), 21 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. Memorials to the family for later designation.


Member Richard "Dick" William Kover (82) a resident of the Forest Grove, Oregon passed away on November 13, 2018 at the Tuality Community Hospital in Hillsboro. Dick was born in Inglewood, CA. Dick attended Cal Poly and received a Bachelor's Degree in Soil Science in 1958. He met his future wife, Delphine Kitch, while on summer break from college, Delphine and her family moved next door and they soon began dating.  After living in several location in CA, Dick and family  moved to Oregon settling in Beaverton in 1977. Upon his retirement in 1993 Dick and his wife moved to Forest Grove.  Dick had worked all his life for USDA Soil Conservation Service. Having been a Soil Scientist he used his skills in California and Oregon. In his later years Dick was an Administrator in charge of fourteen western states and had to travel to each one. He retired in 1987. He enjoyed working puzzles and BBQ's. When he was in high school Dick belonged to the FFA and showed beef cattle. He is preceded in death by his parents and two siblings. He is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, Delphine, a daughter; Pamela "Pam" Kover of Aloha, three grandchildren, and two great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.


Norbert Kay Lerch (90) of Hamilton, Ohio peacefully passed away on December 22, 2018 at UC West Chester Hospital in Liberty Township. He was born in Norwalk, Ohio. Norbert received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the Ohio State University in 1950. He retired from USDA Soil Conservation Service after working for 35 years. He was a member of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees and a Member of The Nature Conservancy. He was a member of First Baptist Church of Hamilton and at one time served as a Deacon. He is survived by two nieces and a nephew. Norbert is preceded in death his wife of 52 years, Luella Lerch, two brothers, and a sister. Memorials may be made to the First Baptist Church of Hamilton or to the charity of one's choice. Condolences may be offered to the family by visiting


David Michael Petefish (67) of Plano, Texas passed away on December 8, 2018 of a sudden heart attack. He was born in Dallas, Texas.  David graduated from McKinney High School and continued his education at SMU where he obtained his Master’s Degree in Geology. He was the State Geologist in Texas with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. He enjoyed rock collecting, camping and had a love of history. David is survived by his loving wife of 37 years, Rose Marie Nagel Petefish of Plano, Texas; son, William Petefish of McKinney, Texas; a sister, two nieces, a nephew, and numerous other loving family and friends. Memorial donations may be made to the SPCA of North Texas or the Abandoned Pet Project.


Peggy Rich (80) of Protection, Kansas passed away on Wednesday, October 17, 2018. She is survived by her husband of 56 years, Billy J. Rich who retired from SCS in 2005 as a Soil Conservation Technician. Also surviving are four children, five grandchildren, and two sisters. Peggy received a bachelor's degree in home economics from Kansas State University in 1960. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Pat Rich Children in Need Fund (Protection First Baptist Church) in care of Hatfield-Prusa Funeral Home, P.O. Box 417, Coldwater, KS 67029.


Life Member Irvin F. Ross (90) of Pinellas Park, Florida passed away on October 2, 2018. A true gentleman, he is survived by his wife of 68 years, Betty Jo, and his loving family. Irvin retired in 1989 as a Management Analyst for the Soil Conservation Service, having previously served as a State Administrative Officer.


Life Member William “Bill” Edward Roth (84) of Salina, Kansas passed away November 8, 2018. Bill was born in Holyrood, Kan. He worked as a soil scientist for the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service for 40 years. Throughout that time he provided service in Dodge City, Kinsley, Larned, and Salina. His work even took him to Parkersburg, W.Va.; Lincoln, Neb.; and Washington D.C. In 2011, Bill received the ARCSE President’s Award for Outstanding Community Service. He is survived by his wife of 62 years Deniece (Kohls) Roth, two daughters, Amy Swann (Larry), of Charleston, W. Va.; Sara Rowe (Merle), of Abilene; a son, Thomas Roth (Terri) of Clay Center; three sisters, a brother, six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his sister, Donna Roth. Memorials may be made to Kindred Hospice or Lutheran Hour Ministries, sent in care of Carlson-Geisendorf Funeral Home, 500 S. Ohio Street, Salina, KS.


Judy C. Stewart (63) of Beckley, West Virginia passed away on October 16, 2009 at the Roanoke Memorial Hospital in Roanoke, Virginia. She retired from the Natural Resources Conservation Service as the Area Clerk in the Beckley office. She was born in Jesse. She was a member of the Jordan Christian Fellowship in Sophia. She was preceded in death by one daughter Andrea Lynn Stewart. Survivors in addition to her parents include her husband Bob Stewart, two sons and four precious grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. 


Lyle F. Westerman (93) of Lincoln, Nebraska passed away on September 10, 2018. He was born in DuBois, Nebraska. He retired as a Soil Conservation Technician with the Soil Conservation Service in April, 1984. He as a World War II Army veteran serving in Italy. Lyle was a member of Southern Heights Presbyterian Church, charter member VFW Post 4626, Lincoln, and member of American Legion Post 371, Valparaiso. Survivors: Wife Kathryn (Kay) Westerman, daughter Susan (Ken) Mayberry, York, NE., son David (Terri Tobias) Westerman Cooper Landing, Alaska, daughter Joan Kennedy, Cypress, TX, son Jim Westerman, Rapid City, SD, seven grandchildren, three great grandchildren, a sister and a brother, nieces and nephews. Memorials in lieu of flowers to Southern Heights Presbyterian Church or Multiple Sclerosis Society. Condolences


Russell Wilson (86) of Coalgate, Oklahoma passed away on December 19, 2018. He attended and graduated from Atoka Schools, and then attended Murray State. Russell worked for the USDA Soil Conservation Service, retiring after 30 years as a Soil Conservation Technician. He was born at Wardville, OK. Russell proudly served his country in the United States Navy, serving in the Korean War. Russell was a member of the Coalgate VFW, Penn & A Church of Christ. He loved to read & watch rodeos. He is survived by his wife of 54 years Mary Judith Wilson of the home, two sons, and two granddaughters. Russell was preceded in death by his parents, a sister, and two brothers. A link to the funeral home website:


Mountain reflected in pond

Reflection Pond, Denali National Park, Alaska.