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In Memorium
Weighing in on Bettendorf Coach Merv Habenicht (1935-2012) PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - In Memorium
Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 10:12

Merv Habenicht (1935-2012)Our community lost one of its treasures, former Bettendorf football coach Merv Habenicht, on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, after a prolonged battle with pulmonary fibrosis. For many of us, we lost a surrogate father and/or lifelong friend.

Nearly 45 years ago, when I left private school to attend Bettendorf Middle School, I was befriended by its most popular cheerleader, Nan Habenicht – Merv’s and Eveyln’s firstborn – and was unconditionally inducted into the Habenicht family from day one. I wish I had a nickel for each time I bravely huffed out on my own family to brave the cold, cruel world for the several blocks to the Habenichts, where I nestled in until I wore out my welcome.

Most of the time, I had to get in line, literally, because Merv and Evelyn had an open-door policy for their children’s friends, and Merv’s students and team members. It has remained so until this day. They truly are like second parents to me and to many others who had the incredible good fortune to find their fold. I could not love them more, and losing Merv is a blow that no amount of time will ever completely heal.

Nora DeJohn, RIP (1940-2011) PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - In Memorium
Written by Karen Anderson   
Thursday, 05 May 2011 14:04

Nora DeJohnOn May 21, Nora DeJohn’s children will bring their mother back to Davenport for burial. Nora died in Pennsylvania on January 10 after a five-year battle with breast cancer. This will be a funeral to remember with a mass at St. Ambrose Chapel, Celtic bagpipers leading the way to the cemetery, and live Celtic music at an afternoon luncheon/reunion at the German American Heritage Center.

Her early career as a public-school teacher, community organizer for Eastside Development Corporation, and nutritional counselor for the Iowa State Extension service took her to all corners of the central city and familiarized her with many diverse public causes. Friends from a broad spectrum of community groups will be attending her Davenport memorial to help celebrate the indelible mark she left upon our town.

A Great Bandleader: Remembering Ray Voss (1928-2011) PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - In Memorium
Written by Leo Schubert   
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 08:29

Ray VossIt’s not just anyone who is able to manage an annual jazz festival. Ray Voss, as president of the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society, had a unique ability to ensure the continuing success of the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival.

He was a committed fan of the traditional jazz style of the 1920s and ’30s, and in particular the music of Leon “Bix” Beiderbecke. Starting with that musical interest, it was natural that Ray would join the volunteers responsible for bringing the annual festival to life on the banks of the Mississippi River. His first assignment, a modest one, was in the late 1980s, when he volunteered to coordinate the festival’s handicapped-parking area.

Ray volunteered each successive year in a variety of roles, willing to serve anywhere he was needed. In 1993, in recognition of his commitment to the festival, Ray was asked to join the Bix Society’s board of directors. For the 1994 festival, he served as assistant festival director. The following year, he was appointed festival director, a job in which he was responsible for managing four music venues, 25 festival committees, and 200-plus volunteers. Voss was elected president of the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society in 2002, a position he held until his death on February 22, at age 82.

William M. Johnson, RIP (1922-2010) PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - In Memorium
Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
Wednesday, 05 January 2011 05:48

William M. Johnson

William M. Johnson was my maternal uncle, who joined his wife of 62 years, Carm, when he passed quietly on December 30, 2010. He was 88 years old, and a treasure to me who, over these past four years, shared a rich and detailed view into my family’s history. His perspectives and memories of his generation’s era are invaluable.

Bill led a charmed life. He was a Depression-era child in Rock Island and fondly recalled how he used to join dozens of neighbors hunting worms at night in Longview Park so they could fish for their suppers from the Mississippi. Decades later he retired from Deere & Company, having served for 36 years as executive pilot, coming on board at the genesis of Deere’s aviation department after World War II. Bill is survived by two sons and daughters-in-laws – Bill and Neva, and Tom and Kathy – 16 grandchildren, and six great grandchildren. And me and my husband, Todd. We could not have loved him more.

Remembering John Kiley PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - In Memorium
Written by Cathy Bolkcom   
Wednesday, 04 March 2009 08:55

Cathy Bolkcom and John KileyEditor's note: John Kiley, a well-known community leader and lifelong Quad Citian, died of natural causes on February 15 at the age of 58. The eulogies that were read at his funeral are published in their entirety at

So many things have been said or written over the past two weeks about John Kiley and his huge role in the life of our community. Stories, snapshots in time, memories. "Remember" is from the Latin (so fitting) for "recall to mind." One of the things that weighs heavy on my heart is that John has become part of memory. I share what I remember, the mindfulness of John in my life and the lives of the friends who were so important to him.

John's life was like a Venn diagram of intersecting circles: lifelong friends from his days at Holy Family and Assumption, the Saint Ambrose mafia, the Youth Service Bureau (YSB) crowd, the running world, music and film lovers, the public-service circles, and above all Kathy, Joanne, and Julia.

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