Obituaries for Tuesday March 7th

Richard D. Miller, 73, of West Burlington, died Tuesday, February 28, 2023 at Danville Care Center.
Born September 14, 1949 in Burlington, he was the son of Carl E. and Pauline E. (Hanger) Miller.
Richard graduated with the class of 1968 from Danville High School. He attended two years at Southeastern Community College and attended Northwest Missouri State University.
He served his country in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam era where he was stationed at Norton Air Force Base in San Bernadino, CA.
Richard married Deborah Lynne “Debbie” Massey on March 11, 1983 in Burlington. She died October 12, 2006.
Richard worked for H & L Mack in Mediapolis as a parts specialist for 32 years. He was a member of Messiah Lutheran Church where he sang in the choir. He sang with the Silver Singers and toured with the Shoquoquon choir to Puerto Rico. He was past Exalted Ruler of Burlington Elks Lodge #84 and was a member for many years. Richard was an avid sportsman. He enjoyed shooting, fishing and hunting. He was a fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Chicago Cubs.
Survivors include three daughters Jamie (Shawn) Adam of Burlington, Mandy (Rob) Wilkerson of West Burlington and Megan (Ethan) Meigs of San Leandro, CA; six grandchildren Cody, Hunter, Parker, Dallas, Jaelyn and Kayden; two great grandchildren Drake and Amiyah; three brothers David Miller of West Burlington, Timothy (Debra) Miller of Humbolt and Paul (Sally) Miller of West Burlington.
He was preceded in death by his parents and wife Debbie.
The Celebration of life for Richard will be 1pm Sunday March 12th at the Elks Lodge #84 with military rites by the Burlington Veteran’s Honor Guard. Richard said “The first round is on him!”. Visitation will be 1-3pm Saturday March 11th at Lunning Chapel.
Cremation has been accorded and entrusted to the care of Lunning Chapel.
In lieu of flowers a memorial has been established for the education of his grandson Kayden.
Online condolences may be made by visiting

John Richard McPherson, 72, of Burlington, died Sunday, March 5, 2023, at his home in Burlington.

Born June 9, 1950, in Keokuk, IA, he was the son of George Montgomery and Bessie Lucille Phillips McPherson. On December 26, 1970, he married Kathie Sue Clark in Gorn Baptist Church in Gorin, Missouri.

John attended Memphis High School in Memphis, Missouri and graduated in 1968. Afterwards, he attended Southeastern Community College.

He worked for CNHi (JI Case) as an expert operator of construction equipment for 46 years before retiring.

He was a U.S. Air Force Veteran, serving from February 11, 1970 until February 8, 1974.

John was a member of Calvary Baptist Church. He was a very hard worker. John enjoyed watching football and baseball, especially the Kansas City Chiefs and the St. Louis Cardinals. He enjoyed watching westerns such as Gunsmoke and other old westerns. John loved spending time with his children and grandkids and never missed any of their activities.

Survivors include his wife, Kathie Sue McPherson of Burlington; son, Doug (Michelle) McPherson of Sperry; daughter, Kimberly (Tony) Madden of Kansas City, MO; four grandchildren, Conner and Taylor Brakeville, Riley and Andrew McPherson; three siblings, Bob (Dorothy) Hunolt of Rutledge, MO, Faye (Ronnie) Walker of Fort Madison and George (Becky) McPherson, Jr. of Tucson, AZ; mother-in-law, Dorothy Clark of Rutleddge, MO; two brother-in-laws, Les Clark and Larry Clark; sister-in-law, Kim Clark and several nieces and nephews.

Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Bill McPherson.

Visitation will be from 11:30 AM until 2:00 PM Saturday, March 11, 2023 at Prugh Funeral Service, 3940 Division Street.

The funeral service for Mr. McPherson will be 2:00 PM Saturday, March 11, 2023, at Prugh Funeral Service, 3940 Division Street with Pastor Mark Bell officiating. Full military honors will be rendered by the Burlington Area Veterans Honor Guard. Burial will be in Burlington Memorial Park Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established for ALS.

Prugh Funeral Service is in care of the arrangements.

Merlin Jon Van Zee, 45, of Danville, passed away Thursday, March 2, 2023, in Pella after he lost his battle with depression and mental illness.

Born October 3, 1977, in Pella, IA, he was the son of Arvan and Betty Fopma Van Zee. On December 12, 2007, he married Magon Burr in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

Merlin graduated from Pella Christian High School in 1996. After high school, he attended Iowa State University where he completed his undergraduate studies in 3 years and was early accepted to the school of veterinary medicine. He graduated in 2003 with his DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) with distinction. The Dean of his program said he’d never seen a brighter student.

Following graduation, Merlin began working for Summer Street Animal Clinic as a veterinarian and co-owner. He strived to make the clinic feel like a home and thought of his co-workers as family. He attended many seminars and continuing education, allowing him to be self taught in more advanced orthopedic procedures. Over the 20 years he spent as co-owner, he was able to use his expertise to grow the clinic into an invaluable asset of the community.

Merlin was a member of Crossroads Community Church, where he and his wife were youth group leaders for over 10 years. He taught biology classes for Great River Christian School and volunteered with Hetta Gilbert by helping move and deliver furniture to those in need. Merlin had a unique chuckle and was known for his “dad jokes”. He made everyone feel so special. He genuinely wanted to know how people were and would pray for them and with them. He loved the outdoors, going fishing locally and in Canada, camping with his family, and trap shooting. Merlin could be found tinkering in his shop or fixing something that was broken. These were skills he learned from watching his father over the years. He also enjoyed woodworking and liked the challenge of creating Magon’s “ideas”. Merlin loved planning trips from start to finish. Whether driving up to visit his parents and sister, spending time with his nieces and nephew, traveling with family, or taking adventurous trips with friends, he loved to plan fun experiences for everyone to enjoy. His love for his children was evident in how he spent as much time as he could snuggling Amos, bringing Meadow along as his personal assistant for after hours calls, and enjoying Iowa State sporting events with Ty.

As we grieve this unspeakable loss, we find peace in the fact that Merlin was a believer. He strongly believed God’s Word is the ultimate authority. Scripture teaches us that all who place their hope and faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ are eternally secure. The only sin that condemns a person to eternal suffering in hell is the rejection of Christ. We take great comfort in knowing that Merlin is with the Lord. Merlin was a child of God, loving husband and father, amazing son, loyal brother, outstanding uncle, and a cherished friend to many.

Survivors include his wife; his parents, Arvan and Betty Van Zee of Pella; three children, Ty Russell, Meadow Van Zee, and Amos Van Zee; sister, Julie (Kevin) DeZwarte of Kellogg; nieces and nephew, Miriam, Hannah, Alton, and Madeline; father-in-law, Rodney (Kay) Burr of Terre Haute, IL; brother-in-law, Matthew (Brianne) Burr of La Harpe, IL and their sons, Maddox and Jace.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Charles and Kathleen (Nikkel) Fopma, Alvin and Minnie (Wassink) Van Zee; and aunt, Margery DeGraaf.

Visitation will be from noon until 7:00 PM with the family present from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM Wednesday, March 8, 2023 at Prugh Funeral Service, 3940 Division Street.

The funeral service for Dr. Van Zee will be 10:00 AM Thursday, March 9, 2023, at Prugh Funeral Service, 3940 Division Street with Rev. Dr. Jason Unzicker officiating.

Memorials have been established for Crossroads Community Church and to the Merlin Van Zee memorial fund to be used to bring awareness of mental health services in our community.

Prugh Funeral Service is in care of the arrangements.

A photo tribute can be viewed and condolences can be sent to the family by visiting Merlin’s obituary at

Jeffrey Wyatt Peterson III, age 10, of Stronghurst, Illinois, passed away Sunday, March 5, 2023 at the Southeast Iowa Regional Medical Center in West Burlington, Iowa. He was born January 10, 2013 in Iowa City, Iowa, the son of Jeffery Wyatt Peterson Jr. and Holly Anne Gullberg.

Wyatt was currently in 4th Grade at the Carthage Primary School, Carthage, Illinois. He loved singing, dancing, doing artwork, playing in the park, swinging, help his dad mow the yard, riding his bike and power wheels, and watching cartoons. He especially enjoyed hanging out with his twin sister, Zella.

Survivors include his father: Jeff (Scarlett Stull) Peterson of Stronghurst; his mother: Holly (Traven Root) Gullberg of Galesburg, Illinois; five sisters: Zella Peterson of Stronghurst, Lexis Waddell of Iowa City, Harper Root and Ariya Root both of Galesburg, IL, and Mia Marsden of Ohio; two brothers: Jimmy Stevenson of Stronghurst and Matthew Marsden of Burlington; his grandparents: Debbie Peterson of Stronghurst, Jon and Diane Gullberg of Media and Steve and Jo Stull of Raritan, his great-grandparents: John and Mary Lou Nortrup of Stronghurst, and several aunts, uncles, and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his grandfather: Jeffrey Peterson Sr. and great-grandfather: William Gullberg Sr.

The family will receive friends Saturday , March 11, 2023, from 1:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m., followed by a sharing of memories at 2:00 p.m. at Banks & Beals Funeral Home in Stronghurst. Burial will follow in the Olena Cemetery, near Stronghurst.

Memorials have been established for the Ronald McDonald House, the West Central Illinois Special Education Cooperative, and the Family Outreach Community Center. Please visit Wyatt’s obituary at to sign the guest book and leave a condolence.

Connie Christofferson, 77, of West Burlington, died Friday, March 3, 2023 at her home.
Born July 21, 1945 in Monmouth, IL, she was the daughter of James Willis and Mildred Beatrice (Yeager) Romine Sr.
Connie graduated from Monmouth High School in 1963. On May 3, 1975 she married Otto “Ed” Christofferson JR. in Oquawka, IL. He died November 23, 1998.
Connie was a sorter for Sterzing’s Potato Chips in Burlington. She enjoyed volunteer work at Tolson’s Community Action in Mt. Pleasant. For her volunteer work she was honored as Volunteer of the Year for State of Iowa and was recognized by Governor Terry Branstad. Connie was of the Presbyterian Faith. She liked to go camping, work crossword puzzles, watch the weather channel and listen to the family music tapes. Connie always gave to others first and she loved her family dearly.
Survivors include her children Kathy Jo Reynolds of Kirkwood, IL, Roy Emery Bundy of Cedar Rapids, Stanley Earl Christofferson of Burlington, Scott Edward Christofferson of Mt. Union, Otto Edward Christofferson III of Burlington, Ernest Lee Christofferson of Burlington and DaFawn Orduno of Burlington; numerous grandchildren, many great grandchildren; brother James Willis Romine Jr of Davenport, IA and significant other John D. Porter of West Burlington.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, two brothers Jerry Romine and Ronnie Romine; four sisters Sheryl Lucas, Carole Stein, Pam Lehmann and Nancy Wicks.
The funeral service for Connie will be 2:00 PM Tuesday, March 14th at Lunning Chapel with Pastor Betty Moede officiating. Family will receive friends from 12:30 until the time of service. Inurnment will be in Carman Cemetery Carman, IL.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established to help the family with funeral expenses.

Shirley Marilyn Hester, 86, of Burlington died Sunday, March 5, 2023 at Oakview Nursing Home.
Born August 21, 1936 she was the daughter of Arthur Melvin and Meta Catherine (Wiele) Miller.
On September 27, 1952 she married Raymond W. Hester in Burlington.
Shirley was a Home Health Aid and worked for Midwest Biscuit. She enjoyed going south in the winter and spending a lot time on their pontoon boat on the Mississippi River.
Survivors include her husband, Raymond; six children, Debra Sue Schwenker of Burlington, IA, Daniel Hester of Cedar Rapids, IA, Denise Anderson of West Point, IA, Dennis and Derek Hester both of Burlington, IA, and Devin Hester of Danville, IA; several grandchildren; one sister, Carol Miller; and two brothers, Donnie and Arthur Miller.
She was preceded in death by her parents.
A graveside service for Shirley will be held at a later date in Aspen Grove Cemetery.
A memorial has been established for the Southeast Iowa Hospice House in memory of Shirley.
Online condolences may be made by visiting

Ruth V. Kerr, 106, of Wapello, passed away on Friday, March 3, 2023, at Southeast Iowa Regional Hospice House in West Burlington. Visitation will be held on Thursday, March 9, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at the Snyder and Hollenbaugh Funeral and Cremation Services of Wapello. Funeral services will follow at 11:00 a.m. at the funeral home. Burial will be in the Wapello Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to the Wapello Fire Department or the Wapello United Methodist Church in memory of Ruth. Online condolences may be left for the family at
Ruth Verlee Hartsock was born on May 17, 1916, in Louisa County, Iowa the daughter of James and Lillie Pearl (Hank) Hartsock. She was united in marriage to Lawrence Charles Kerr on May 19, 1934, in Wapello. Ruth was a homemaker. She was a member of the United Methodist Church, Long Creek Homemakers Club and the Red Hat Club. Ruth enjoyed quilting, fishing, playing cards and traveling.
Ruth will be deeply missed by her children: Lawrence M. (Judy) Kerr of Macomb, Illinois, Keith (Deanna) Kerr of Toolsboro and Ronald (Shirley) Kerr of Wapello; eight grandchildren and many great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.
Ruth was preceded in death by her parents; husband; daughter, Shirley Fletcher; son, Merwin Kerr; three grandchildren; one sister and six brothers.

Dawn Marie Bennink, 55, of Burlington, died Sunday, March 5, 2023 at Southeast Iowa Regional Hospice House in West Burlington.
Born April 1, 1967 in Burlington, she was the daughter of Dean and Betty (Standard) Weinreich. On December 29, 1989 she married James Michael Bennink. They later divorced.
Dawn was of Christian faith. She worked for headstart and bartended at several places.
Dawn was a people person who was friends with everyone and had a huge heart. She was an avid collector of all things especially rocks and loved the color green.
Survivors include two sons, James Michael (Samantha) Weinreich of Burlington, IA, and Jordan Matthew (Des) Bennink of Crest Hill, IL; three step-children, Brie and Andrew Bennink and Tabitha Rechers; two grandchildren, Sydney and Jace; parents Dean and Betty Weinreich; one sister, Dana Crews; one niece, Marissa Crews; and one great niece, Lennon Crews.
She was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents; her husband James Bennink; father-in-law Ivan Bennink and her dog, Hope.
The memorial funeral service for Mrs. Bennink will be held at 2:30 p.m. March 9, 2023 at Lunning Chapel with Pastor Dan Baker officiating. The family will receive friends from 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Cremation has been accorded to Lunning Chapel.
Online condolences may be made by visiting