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In Memoriam


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 01/03/2018


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.







Myrtle "Myrt" Aho (95) passed away at Fairview Ridges Hospital in Burnsville, Minnesota, on September 6, 2017. Myrt and Don resided in Bismarck, ND, where they raised their family from 1952 until 2007 when they moved to Prior Lake, MN. Don was the State Resource Conservationist in Bismarck for many years. Myrt is survived by her four daughters, Sharon (Wayne) Anderson, Rockville, MD; Gayle (Steve) Potas, Prior Lake, MN; Vicki Werve, Langley, WA; and Marti (Loren) Fazio, Mariposa, CA; and five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Don, and son Richard (Rik).



Judith Ann Hill Bivens (86) of Brentwood, Tennessee passed away peacefully with family by her side on October 25, 2017. She was born in Cookeville, TN. She met her husband Don at the Soil Conservation Service office where they worked while attending TN Tech. Don, the former SCS State Conservationist in Tennessee, preceded her in death in December 2015 after 64 years of marriage. She is survived by four daughters, seven grandchildren, and nine great- grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Friends of Warner Parks, 50 Vaughn Rd. Nashville, TN 37221 or Abe's Garden, 115 Woodmont Blvd, Nashville, TN 37205.



Steve Allan Boone (65) of Hamlin, West Virginia passed away on November 5, 2017 in St. Mary's Medical Center. Surviving is his spouse, Virginia Boone. Steve retired from the Natural Resources Conservation Service as the District Conservationist in the Hamlin Field Office.



Marvin Kimzy Burgess (89) of Columbia, South Carolina passed away October 27, 2017 at home with family by his side. He was born in Big Lick, TN. Marvin was a BS graduate of Tennessee Tech with a Master’s degree from Indiana University. He was employed with the USDA Soil Conservation Service for 35 years, winning many awards including the National Award for Superior Service. He retired in 1985 as the State Resource Conservationist. He served in the Korean War and was a member of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Columbia. Surviving are his loving wife of 66 years, Dorothy Yowell Burgess, four children, Kim Burgess (Barbara) of Roanoke, VA, Steve Burgess (Teresa) of McDonough, GA, Brent Burgess (Debbie) of Carrollton, GA and Cindy Burgess McGougan (Joe) of Mt Pleasant, SC; seven grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, seven nieces and two nephews. Memorials may be made to Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, 5637 Bush River Road, Columbia, SC 29212.



Joey Brent Dykes (63) of Campton, Kentucky passed away on December 13, 2017. He was born in Liberty, Kentucky. He is survived by one daughter, Andrea “Andie” Nicole Dykes Owens (Josh) of Russell Springs, Kentucky. In August 1976, he began working as a Civil Engineering Technician for the USDA-NRCS. His career spanned over 41 years. In 1987, Governor Wallace Wilkinson named him a Kentucky Colonel. He also won numerous awards and accolades during his employment with USDA-NRCS. If he wasn’t working outdoors he could be found on the lake doing his favorite hobby, fishing.



Perry Felkins (79) of Okmulgee, Oklahoma passed away on August 10, 2017. He retired from the Soil Conservation Service as a Watershed Inspector in Morris, Oklahoma.



Hazel Lou (Rethorst) Herron (92) of Spearville, Kansas passed away on November 9, 2017. She was born in Hutchinson, KS. She was the spouse of Cecil Herron who retired in 1988 as a Soil Conservation Technician for the SCS Dodge City Field Office. He preceded her in death in 2014. Hazel attended College at Emporia, graduating in 1947 with a Home Economics degree. She then taught for two years in Lyons. After raising their six children, she went back to teaching in the Windthorst and Spearville school districts. Hazel was a member of the Spearville Federated Church. Hazel was also a pianist and organist for many years. Hazel leaves as survivors her six children, 16 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, nieces and nephews and many friends. She was preceded in death by her husband of 65 years, Cecil and their daughter Nancy Schroeder. Memorials in Hazel’s name are suggested to the Spearville Federated Church in care of the funeral home. Thoughts and memories may be shared in the online guest book at 



Ernest A. Hintz (84) of Bethany, Missouri passed away November 24, 2017 at a nursing home. He was born near Clarinda, Iowa. He served in the U.S. Army for three years during the Korean War. After serving his country, he attended school at Clarinda Junior College and Iowa State University. He taught Vocational Agriculture at Elk Horn, Iowa for five years, worked for a fertilizer company for another five years and then started his career with the USDA Soil Conservation Service. He was an SCS District Conservationist, the Iowa State Agronomist and finally Regional Conservationist based in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 1993, he retired and started a new life he loved, farming and raising livestock in Harrison County. Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Julia; sons, Richard (Darcie) Hintz and Alan (Diane) Hintz; two grandsons; and a sister Laura Loveland, Moravia, Iowa. Memorials may be made to the American Legion Post #216 and/or Harrison County Hospice in care of Roberson Funeral Home, P.O. Box 46, Bethany, MO 64424. Online condolences may be left at



ARCSE Life Member Michael Franklin King (74) of Spencer, West Virginia departed this life November 28, 2017, at the Camden Clark Medical Center in Parkersburg, after a brief illness. He is survived by two children, Doug (Cristy) King of Greenville, IN, and Kelli King of Huntsville, AL; and two grandchildren, both of Greenville, IN. He is also survived by a sister, Kim (David Cox) King. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife of nearly 54 years, Mary Virginia Freshwater King. A graduate of West Virginia University and honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy, Mike dedicated 29 years of service to the USDA Soil Conservation Service, retiring as Director of the Administrative Services Division. Retiring from federal service to fulfill his dream of becoming an ordained minister, Mike served several local churches including Clover Community Church, Meadow Dale Baptist, Gilboa Baptist, and First Baptist Church of Spencer. Finally retiring for good, Mike was honored to be named Pastor Emeritus in 2016, by First Baptist Church. A proud parent, grandparent, and former pilot, Mike loved flying and enjoyed even more that his son and grandson share his love of planes. A small grave-side service will be scheduled at a later date. In honor of Pastor Mike standing by Miss Ginn throughout her battle with MS, memorial donations may be made to the National MS Society, Virginia-West Virginia Chapter, P.O. Box 27326, Richmond, VA 23261-7326. Condolences may be shared at



Russell Gene Kurth (63) of Logan, Iowa passed away on November 7, 2017 as the result of a farm accident. He was born and raised in LeMars, Iowa. He graduated from Iowa State University in 1977 with a degree in animal science. He worked as a SCS trainee in May 1975 in LeMars. From 1977-1979 he worked in Logan as a soil conservationist. He retired from the Natural Resources Conservation Service as the Harrison County District Conservationist after 34 years of service. Russ started farming the family farm in the 1990s. Russ was a member of St. Anne's Catholic Church, where he served as a trustee. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, a 4th Degree Knight, and served as Grand Knight. He was an active member of the Logan Kiwanis. Russ was currently a Harrison County REC board member and had been serving on the Harrison County Board of Supervisors since 2014. Russ was very proud of being from LeMars, the "ICE CREAM CAPITOL OF THE WORLD!" He is survived by his wife of nearly 39 years, Peggy Kurth of Logan, Iowa; three sons, and eight grandchildren.



John Francis Mall (86) of Shenandoah, Iowa passed away on November 29, 2017 with his family by his side. He was born in Wichita, KS. John attended Friends University for two years and then transferred to Fort Hayes State College, where he majored in Agronomy. In 1952, he received his draft notice to the U.S. Army. While serving in the U.S. Army, John became a Combat Infantryman serving during the Korean War, achieving the rank of Corporal. After receiving an Honorable Discharge, John returned to Fort Hayes State College, where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Agronomy. He started working for the USDA Soil Conservation Service in Slayton, Minnesota. John served in several capacities and locations in Minnesota as a District Conservationist. John retired from the SCS in Shenandoah, Iowa. He was a Boy Scouts of America Troop Master. In 2016, John and Linda were honored to be a part of The Honor Flight for Veterans to Washington D.C. to tour many of the War Memorials. He was a member of the Guiding Light Community Church, Fort Myers, Florida, American Legion Posts in both Slayton and Morris, Minnesota and in Shenandoah Iowa. In 2012, John was very proud to receive his 50 year membership certificate with the American Legion. Preceding him in death, was a son Jeff. He is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Lorraine; daughter LuAnn (Alan) Armstrong; son Jerry (Julie) Mall; daughter Linda (James) Christiansen; five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed to the family.



ARCSE Member and Senior Conservationist Kenneth Walter Meyer (90) of Denison, Iowa passed away on November 27, 2017. He was raised on a farm near Buck Grove, IA. After high school, Ken farmed near Buck Grove. After several years, he began his career with the Soil Conservation Service. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture from Northwest Missouri State University in 1972. He became the district conservationist for Webster County, a position he held until he retired in 1987. He farmed until 2000. Ken and Marge shared a love of gardening, cribbage, dancing and travel. They traveled to polka dances throughout the upper Midwest. Ken is preceded in death by his son, James Meyer; and granddaughter, Kenna Haglan. Those left to cherish his memory are his loving wife, Marge; daughter, Kay (Rusty) Martin; five grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter. The Pauley Jones Pfannebecker Funeral Home,, Denison, was in charge of arrangements.



Marilyn Mitchel (90) of Spokane, Washington passed away peacefully on October 26, 2017. Marilyn was the wife of Robert Mitchel, State Soil Scientist with the Soil Conservation Service in Washington and then retired after two years in the Soils Division in DC. She was born Marilyn Mae Getzelman in Hampshire, Illinois. She was the second child and grew up on a farm with six brothers. Farm life was never her choice, so she trained to be a nurse in Madison, WI and practiced nursing for several years. She met Robert on a blind date while in school in Madison and they married on August 25, 1950 in Hampshire. They moved to Riverton, WY, then to The Dalles, OR, Walnut Creek, CA and finally to Spokane, WA in 1963. Marilyn was very creative and was a master at quilting, knitting, crocheting, counted cross, gardening, sewing and painting. If something needed to be fixed around the house, Marilyn was a better choice than Robert! They raised three children Mike, Dan and Jane. She is survived by her children, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Please sign Marilyn's guestbook at



Wilma Newman passed away on November 1, 2017. She was predeceased in 2010 by her husband of 46 years, James B. Newman who retired in 1994 as the Director of the Ecological Sciences Division for NRCS. Survivors include three children and several grandchildren. You may honor her by supporting her caretakers (where she lived for the last three years) and/or other organizations that carry on this spirit of looking out for those in need. You may write and send checks to: Betty's Place, 13656 Van Doren Road, Manassas, VA 20112. 



Darlene Ross (82) of Ottawa, Kansas passed away on October 8, 2017, at Olathe Medical Center. Darlene was born in Ottawa County, Kansas. She lived in Pleasanton, Kansas, moving in the early 1960s to Ottawa. She graduated from Garnett High School with the class of 1953. Her husband of 56 years, Marvin E. Ross, preceded her in death on May 1, 2013. Survivors include her three children, four grandchildren, and a great granddaughter. Darlene was employed as an administrative assistant with Lake Region RC&D Ottawa, in the late 1970s, retiring in 1997. She was an active member of the First Christian Church and life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5901 Auxiliary. The family suggests memorial contributions to the First Christian Church or the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5901 Auxiliary c/o Dengel & Son Mortuary, 235 S. Hickory, Ottawa, Kansas 66067. Condolences and memories on Darlene’s Tribute Wall at



Catherine Sloan (92) of Alexandria, Louisiana passed away on August 30, 2017. She retired from the USDA Soil Conservation Service in 1985 after 20 years of service. She is survived by two nieces and two nephews and many great and great-great nieces and nephews. She was a 1942 graduate of St. Francis Xavier Parochial School; a member of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral Parish where she was a member of the choir a total of 60 years, served as Librarian of Music, and a 30-year member of the Cathedral Altar Society. She was elected to the International Bowling Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Louisiana Women’s Bowling Hall of Fame in 1987, both for Meritorious Service. Memorials may be made to the St. Francis Restoration Fund.



Henry L. Staubus (93) passed away at The Village in Indianola, Iowa on November 15, 2017. He was born in Douds, Iowa. Henry graduated from Mingo High School, served two years in the army, and then graduated from Iowa State College, now Iowa State University. Henry worked as a District Conservationist for the USDA Soil Conservation Service in Humboldt County for 20 years and in Warren County for 10 years. He enjoyed membership in the Indianola Garden Club, Lions’ Club, and the United Methodist Church. He married Mary Lou Braley in 1947. They recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary surrounded by family. Henry was a wonderful father to daughter Diane Staubus of Atlanta, GA and to son Tom Staubus (Sheila) of Duluth, MN. He is also survived by four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to a charity of your choice. 



Albert Eugene (Gene) Sullivan (81) of North Little Rock, Arkansas passed away on September 4, 2017, after months of battling cancer, and with all his family home. He was born in Lonoke, Arkansas, the fifth of nine children. As a young teenager he met and fell in love with the beautiful Carrie Sue Kelly and married her on May 29, 1955. Gene and Carrie had three children, and after 62 years of marriage they had seven grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren and one on the way. Gene was a member of Lakewood United Methodist Church in North Little Rock, Arkansas. He was an active member of Gideons International and was a godly man who was consistently generous, patient, and kind. After earning a degree in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Arkansas, Gene was employed with the USDA Soil Conservation Service. In 1990, Gene retired after having served as the Deputy State Conservationist in California, and State Conservationist in Nebraska, Mississippi, and Arkansas. During his tenure, he also served on numerous state and regional water resource committees and task forces. Gene was a registered licensed professional engineer and land surveyor. Following his retirement from the USDA, Gene began a second career, founding the engineering consulting business, Sullivan & Associates, P.A. and actively managed various water resource projects, including the White River and Bayou Meto Regional Irrigation Water Districts. He provided consulting services on water issues in Argentina and Bolivia. Gene was active in developing state and national legislation concerning water resources. Gene’s volunteer activities included serving as president of Lakewood Property Owner’s Association Board of Directors and coaching various LPOA football, softball, water polo, and track teams. He taught Sunday school and regularly ministered to the sick and the elderly.



Alvin "Al" G. Surmeier (68) of Ellis, Kansas passed away on November 14, 2017 at the Good Samaritan Society in Ellis after battling Parkinson’s for many years. He was born in Colby, Kansas. Al attended Colby Community College. He had worked as a Certified Federal Meat Inspector and a Soil Conservation Technician with SCS in the Mankato, KS field office, retiring in 2006. He was a member of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Mankato, Kansas. Al enjoyed playing the accordion, snow skiing, and bowling, and was an avid sports fan. He is survived by a step-son, two daughters, eleven grandchildren, and ten great grandchildren. Condolences may be left by guest book at          (cont’d)



Lane Thurman (82) of Springfield, Missouri passed away on November 24, 2017. He was born in Alexandria, LA. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Nancy Lay Thurman, sons Steve, Randy, Kevin, and Robert and their wives Anna, Beth, and Mikel. They also have seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. After graduating from LA Tech University, Lane began his career with USDA Soil Conservation Service. After 35 years of service, taking him from Louisiana to Colorado to Missouri, he retired as an Area Conservationist in 1994. Lane had a very active life and enjoyed traveling the world with Nancy in his plane and RV.


Mountain reflected in pond

Reflection Pond, Denali National Park, Alaska.