Vern Kowalke, age 83 of Sac City, IA, formerly of Early, IA, passed away peacefully with family by his side on Saturday, February 13, 2021, at the Paula J. Baber Hospice House in Fort Dodge, IA.
Vernon Alvin Kowalke was born June 26, 1937, in a farmhouse 3 miles east of Early, IA, to his parents Alvin and Etta (Kies) Kowalke. Vernon was baptized at the Wheatland Church near Breda, IA, and was an active member of the Presbyterian Church in Early for many years.
Vern graduated from Early Consolidated School in May 1955. He graduated in the spring of 1958 from Buena Vista College with a certification in teaching. His career began in the high school at Royal, IA, and he became a Missouri Synod Lutheran in 1959. Vern was united in marriage with Carlene Skinner and to this union, five children were born. This union ended in divorce in 1987.
He taught school in several communities in western Iowa, including Royal, Newell, Early, Carroll, and in southern Iowa at Bedford. In 1963, Vern purchased 80 acres of land 6 miles north of Early. This began his journey of being a part-time farmer. In 1965, a house was built on this property. The family moved from Newell and lived there until 1970 when tragedy struck. The farm was sold, and the family moved to Illinois for a short time. They returned to Carroll, IA, where Vern taught for two years. In 1973, Vern purchased the farm where he was born and raised east of Early.
On September 15, 1993, Vern married Sheri Lang at Faith Lutheran Church in Early. Between the two of them, they have 6 children, 17 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren. His love for the farm life kept him farming until 1999 when he decided to retire after 30+ years. His teaching certification expired in 2000. Vern was passionate about teaching and continued to teach part-time and as a substitute. Through the years he held offices with Faith Lutheran Church, was on the Sac County Thrivent Board and Early Co-op Board. He also sold promotional products with Newton Manufacturing from 1999 until 2015. Sheri retired in 2013 from Stille, Pierce and Pertzborn after 22 years as a bookkeeper.
Vern and Sheri loved the farm and lived there until 2015. They then moved to Sac City. Since retirement, Vern and Sheri enjoyed traveling and spending time with their children and grandchildren. Vern also had an interest in hunting, fishing, playing cards, fixing up the farm and their Sac City home.
He was proceeded in death by his son, Jason Vernon Kowalke; granddaughter Grace Tipton Kowalke; parents Alvin and Etta Kowalke; parents-in-law Clyde and Doris Potts; 3 sisters-in-law: Cindy Hand, Linda Thornhill, and Kathy Nuss; and brother-in-law Dennis Potts.
Survivors include his wife, Sheri Kowalke; children: Carmen (Jeff) Dorman, Margo (Jim) Augustine, Brenda (Jeff) Russell, Tyler (Brooke) Kowalke; stepchildren: Chad (Sara) Lang, Tracy Packingham; grandchildren: Chelsea (Jake) Bradley, Piper (Tyler) Halterman, TJ Augustine (fiancée Dani Wanninger), Andrew (Jenny) Augustine, Libby (Andrew) Leust, Jay (Julianna) Russell, Seth Russell, Miles and Greta Kowalke; step-grandchildren: Garrett, Hunter, T.K. and Levi Lang, Taylor Spiess, Paige and Cole Packingham; great-grandchildren: Bennett Augustine, Eleanor Halterman; sister Marlys (Craig) Knudson; nephews Jeff Knudson, Kurt (Tammy) Knudson; many other extended family members and friends.
A private service will take place on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, at 1:30 p.m. that will be live-streamed for the public at WWW.FARBEROTTEMAN.COM
. The committal service will also be available via live stream. Farber & Otteman Funeral Home of Sac City, IA, is in charge of arrangements.
In Lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be directed to either the Paula J. Baber Hospice House or to S.O.F.T. in Vern's memory.
Paula J. Baber Hospice House - 2630 9th Ave S, Fort Dodge, IA 50501
SOFT - Support Organization For Trisomy @ https://trisomy.org/donate/