Orville Keith Deardorff, 87, of Bagley, joined his wife, Rita, in heaven on Jan. 18.
Orville was born September 9, 1926 on a farm southwest of Bagley to Fred and Lucille Griffin Deardorff. He attended country school at Dodge #6 and graduated from Bagley High School in 1944. Orville joined the United States Army, serving in Korea and Camp Hood, Texas. He enjoyed touring Texas on his green Harley Davidson.
After returning from service in August 1947, he met the love of his life, Rita Rose Gruber, when she crossed the street to use the restroom while attending a dance. They were married on January 13, 1948 in the Annunciation Church Rectory in Coon Rapids. There were many fun trips on that motorcycle before the kids came. Four children were born to this union: Mike in 1949, Mickey in 1950, Cindy in 1953, and Chris in 1956.
Orville farmed with his Dad southwest of Bagley until 1957 when he took a job with Central Iowa Milling and the family moved into Bagley. The Herndon location needed a manager and Orville took that position. The elevator burned in May 1958, was rebuilt, and he managed that elevator for the Pillsbury Company then Continental Grain until he retired in August 1991. Orville was instrumental in getting a paved road through Herndon to make it easier for customers to bring their grain to town. Many friendships developed over so many years in business. Rita was later the office manager, and they worked together for 25 years.
After retirement, Orville kept busy volunteering in the town of Bagley. He was in charge of the water meters, reading and replacing, and served on town council for 16 years. He was also active in the Lions Club.
The years went by and Rita continued making afghans to give away, but not until Orville took a picture of every one of them. They found plenty of time to sit on the front porch and enjoy each other’s company. When Rita became ill, he cared for her for years at home. Orville showed us what true love really is. When Rita passed away in May 2013, he was never the same. His sun had quit shining.
Orville was a quiet, kind man with a big heart. We are so blessed to have had him for our Dad and to have had wonderful parents who really loved each other for 65 years and beyond. He was loved by all and will be missed.
Orville is survived by his children: Mike Deardorff (Carolyn) of Brighton, CO, Mickey Frantum (Duane) of Jamaica, Cindy Bartel (David) of Leawood, KS, and Chris Johnson (Steve) of Jefferson; 3 sisters: Dolores McNeill (Charlie) of Bagley, Charlotte Stanley of Elgin, IL, and Judy Knapp (George) of Panora; brother-in-law: Don Gruber (Katy) of Balsam Lake, WI; other relatives and friends; grandchildren: Laura Wining (Chris) and their children Peyton and Emily of Windsor, CO, Kimm Deardorff and her son Sage of Denver, CO, Chad Frantum of Bayard and his children Collin, and Cailey of Panora, Shane Frantum (Leslie) and their children Joe and Anna of Grimes, Tina Kafer and her children Colby and Makala of Jamaica, Devon Bartel of Lawrence, KS, Craig Johnson (Tiffany) and their children Noah, Gretah, and Bellah of Jefferson, and Jenn Aubrey (Eric) and their children Madisyn, Gage, and Hannah of Paton; other relatives and many friends.
Orville was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Rita; granddaughter Makenna Bartel Heaney; and a sister Sandy Hamlin.
Mass of the Christian Burial was celebrated at 11 a.m. Jan. 22 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Bayard with Father Michael Peters presiding. A Vigil service was held at 7 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Slininger Rossow Funeral Home in Jefferson with Father Michael Peters presiding. Lector was Mickey Frantum. Gift Bearers were Mike Deardorff, Mickey Frantum, Cindy Bartel and Chris Johnson. Casket Bearers were Duane Frantum, Chad Frantum, David Bartel, Shane Frantum, Steve Johnson and Craig Johnson. Accompanist was Monica McGregor and Soloist was Sheilah Pound. Musical selections were How Great Thou Art, Amazing Grace and On Eagles Wings. Interment was at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Greene County with Military Honors by the United States Army Honor Guard.
lininger Rossow Funeral Home of Jefferson assisted the family with arrangements, 515-386-2171, www.sliningerrossowfuneralhome.com