Winter 2020 Class travels, wedding days, baby Peacocks and other notes

Al Wilson ’65, Vista, California, traveled with family to Alaska where they learned to mush dogs, went halibut fishing and landed on a glacier — all with their copy of The Bridge!

Special achievements and memories shared by alumni in the 2020 winter edition of The Bridge are posted below. Don’t miss the photos of recent weddings and newborn Peacocks below the class notes.


Roger Bowen ’55

Roger Bowen ’55, West Branch, Iowa, and his son, Scott Bowen, were honored with participation in the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to showing heroes the appreciation they deserve by sending them to various historical sites. Roger’s daughter, Jane (Bowen) Knipper, traveled with them for the celebration.

Darla (Garner) Fagenbaum ’67, Sumner, Iowa, checked studying abroad off her bucket list in April 2019. After spending 33 years teaching in Sumner, Iowa, Darla was able to travel to Paris and Holland. She made sure to remember her copy of The Bridge.

William “Bill” Wright ’67, Savanna, Illinois, and Charles “Brad” Pettit ’67, Sun City, Arizona, traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in July 2019. They are pictured with their copy of The Bridge in front of the Christ the Redeemer statue.

Tony DiCecco ’71, Bonita Springs, Florida, was inducted into the University of Northern Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame for his achievements as the women’s basketball coach. DiCecco is also a member of the UIU Athletics Hall of Fame.

Kurt Gunther ’71, Anamosa, Iowa, placed first in his trap shooting division at Otter Creek Sportsmen’s Club in September 2019. Gunther has been a competitive shooter in several disciplines — handgun, shotgun and rifle — for over 50 years. He and his wife, Cynthia “Cindy” (Dierks) Gunther ’72, will be celebrating 47 years of marriage in April 2020.

Amy Tucker, Jane (Wilwert) Tucker ’74, Sumner, Iowa, Jean (Wilwert) ’76 and Robert Krueger ’77, West Des Moines, Iowa, traveled through the New England states in the fall 2019. During their travels, they pulled up the UIU Bridge Online and snapped this photo in Ogunkin, Maine.

Darla (Garner) Fagenbaum ’67

Tom Petsche ’75, Solon, Iowa, was recognized as the winner of the “W. Harold Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award” for the International DI Society, which is the highest honor in the industry. Tom currently works for Brokerage Solutions, Inc.

Tom Bruess ’76, Montgomery, Minnesota, was inducted into the Federal League 35+ Baseball Hall of Fame. The Federal League was founded in 1985, and is in their 30th season of 35+ amateur baseball. Proudly displaying the award is Tom and his wife, Lynn, following the ceremony.

Ezekiel “Zeke” Morris ’76, Willowbrook, Illinois, was installed as treasurer of Illinois Realtors. Morris has been in the real estate business since 1989 and is currently the owner and managing broker of EMA Realty and Management in Chicago.

Ron Bergfeld ’77, Clive, Iowa, took his copy of The Bridge with him on his Mediterranean cruise in May 2019. This particular stop was while touring Santorini, Greece.

James Foth ’78, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was inducted into the Vinton–Shellsburg (Iowa) Community School District Athletic Hall of Fame on September 27, 2019. During his time at UIU, he was a three-year varsity letter winner in men’s basketball 1976-1978, team captain in 1978 and an assistant men’s basketball coach for the Peacocks from 1983 to 1986.

Kevin “George” Parker ’78, Live Oak, Texas, retired from teaching after 40 years. He taught at Iowa’s Orient-Macksburg, MFL, Algona and Vinton-Shellsburg schools. Kevin finished up his career with 17 years at North East Independent Schools in San Antonio, Texas.

Dan Hovden ’87, West Union, Iowa, celebrated his 700th win as the baseball coach for North Fayette Valley in West Union, Iowa. Hovden recorded 62 of these wins during his five years at Mount Ayr, Iowa, prior to NFV. With the milestone, Hovden is 22nd on the career win list in Iowa baseball history.

Jim Schnaedter ’89, Whitewater, Wisconsin, published his second fictional book titled, “Trains, Dreams, Jesus, and Terminal Diseases” in June 2019.


William “Bill” Wright ’67 and Charles “Brad” Pettit ’67

Tom Conley ’92, Urbandale, Iowa, was awarded the Bill Zalud Memorial Award for Professional Excellence. This honor represents the best of the best in the security profession.

Aimee Sue (Jensen) Larson ’92, Hayfield, Minnesota, joined Riverland Community College in Austin, Minnesota, as a human resources business partner.

Andrew Oberbreckling ’96, ’13, Mechanicsville, Iowa, is currently working as quality manager at Collins Aerospace, a United Technologies Company, responsible for the quality audit program at all Mission Systems locations.

Clinton Poock ’96, Cedar Falls, Iowa, joined the Courier and Amplified Digital company as an advertising consultant. He has over 15 years of experience in the newspaper and marketing industry.

Dan Anderson ’00, McGregor, Iowa, was named Ed Thomas Coach of the Week by CBS2 and FOX28 News. Anderson is a science teacher and football coach for the MFL-Mar Mac (Iowa) School District. The football team’s 2019 season was a record-breaking one, with their first winning season in years.

Dan Leete ’00, Sumner, Iowa, was named Iowa Class 1A Assistant Coach of the Year for football. Dan teaches and coaches in the Sumner-Fredericksburg School District.

Dianna Leftridge ’00, Lithonia, Georgia, was named to the University of Northern Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame for her success as a track and field athlete.

Julie (Smith) Hinders ’01, Cedar Falls, Iowa, was hired as the assistant professor of health service administration for UIU’s School of Business and Professional Studies.

Pete Caspers ’02, Peosta, Iowa, won second place in the Heaviest Pumpkin (698 pounds) contest at the Iowa State Fair.

Bobby (Morden) Willms ’04, Hampton, Iowa, is the PK-1, 9-12 principal at West Fork Schools in Sheffield, Iowa. The 201920 school year is Willms’ second year as principal.

Mike Augustine ’06, Strawberry Point, Iowa, was named Ed Thomas Coach of the Week by CBS2 and FOX28 News. Augustine is a science teacher and football coach for Starmont High School.

Amy Tucker, Jane (Wilwert) Tucker ’74, Sumner, Iowa, Jean (Wilwert) ’76 and Robert Krueger ’77

Natasha (Rochford) Boettger ’07, West Des Moines, Iowa, began teaching SPED English at Hoover High School in August 2019.

Bryan Duggan ’09, Waterloo, Iowa, joined the TCF Capital Solutions team as a sales associate in their healthcare finance department.

Elaine Tan ’09, Ames, Iowa, started as an international student advisor at Iowa State University in August 2019.

Erin (Kelley) Fjelland ’10, Rockford, Illinois, was named Teacher of the Week in Belvidere, Illinois. She has been working to bridge the communication gap between parents, students and teachers.

John Brooks ’11, Cedar Falls, Iowa, joined Iowa Securities Investment Corp in Waterloo, Iowa, as director of marketing. He was previously marketing manager for Lockard Companies and has held various operational management roles in the marketing, manufacturing and customer service industries.

Nicole Henry ’11, Denver, Colorado, was promoted to regional property manager at Granite Management Group.

Alison (Nesteby) Parmer ’12, Manchester, Iowa, recently opened a new animal rescue organization in Delaware County, Iowa, called “Hero’s Haven.” She took action after fostering animals from other shelters and realized there was an ever-growing need.

Jesse Pleggenkuhle ’12, Hawkeye, Iowa, was promoted to UIU’s director of facilities.

Jesse (Waller) ’12 and Taylor Volker ’12, Fayette, Iowa, both accepted teaching positions in the Sumner-Fredericksburg (Iowa) School District. Jesse will be teaching kindergarten and Taylor is teaching special education and physical education.

Lyndsay (Westgaard) Ampe ’13, Belgrade, Minnesota, was hired as an agribusiness instructor at Ridgewater College in Willmar, Minnesota.

Tom Bruess ’76

Carrie Lembke ’13 ’15, Adel, Iowa, was promoted from associate project manager to project manager for Wellmark. She has been with Wellmark for a year and a half.

Olivia Schnur ’13, West Union, Iowa, is a new counselor in the UIU Office of Student Life at Fayette Campus.

Sandy (Johnson) Fowler ’14, Madison, Wisconsin, began as the assistant dean of the Business Services unit in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Kelly McQueen ’14, Shenandoah, Iowa, is now teaching preschool at Clarinda Community Schools in Clarinda, Iowa. She previously taught first grade at Riverside Community Schools.

Amy Burroughs ’15, Waukon, Iowa, signed a contract to teach preschool at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Rochester, Minnesota.

Eric Cottrell ’16, Rosemount, Minnesota, was hired to teach middle school social studies and coach JV baseball and 10th grade football at Rosemount Middle School and High School in Rosemount, Minnesota.

Aric Bishop ’16, Creston, Iowa, was promoted to library director at the Osceola Public Library. He is currently pursuing his Masters of Library and Information Science.

Marica Funke ’17, Manchester, Iowa, was hired as the SBA servicing specialist for Vital Financial Services in Waterloo, Iowa.

Tina Katzenburger ’17, Davenport, Iowa, received a promotion at Genesis Systems, IPG, a leader in robotics automation integration. She now serves as compliance analyst and handles international trade and DOT compliance.

Riley Kruel ’17, Horicon, Wisconsin, accepted a position as a certified anesthesiologist assistant with Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center of Aurora Health Care Metro. Riley is a third-year student at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Ron Bergfeld ’77

Jeremy Parrish ’17, North Liberty, Iowa, graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law in May 2018. He then accepted a teaching position at the University of Iowa in the Sport and Recreation Management program and continues to serve as assistant Director for the National Iowa Varsity Club within Iowa Hawkeye Athletics.

John “Nate” Roemer ’17, Fayette, Iowa, accepted UIU’s assistant football coaching position.

Tamara (Kerns) Andrews ’18, Windsor Heights, Iowa, was hired to teach third grade at Grand View Christian School in Des Moines, Iowa.

Jen (Blackburn) Apt ’18, Pleasant Hill, Iowa, began teaching seventh grade ELA at Southeast Polk (Iowa) Junior High.

Mariah (DeHeck) Cushion ’18, Randalia, Iowa, was hired to be a lecturer of exercise science and sports studies at Upper Iowa University. She was previously the UIU’s Masters of Education program.

Darian Davis ’18, La Porte City, Iowa, joined the VGM Group Inc. in Waterloo, Iowa, as their patient care coordinator with the Homelink division.

Amanda Dugan ’18, Davenport, Iowa, began teaching at the Camelot Day School of the Quad Cities. Camelot Day School serves school districts in Iowa and Illinois, providing academic and therapeutic services for children, adolescents and young adults with special needs, including those with emotional and behavioral disabilities.

Alexandra “Alex” (Butler) Roby ’18, Rosemount, Minnesota, recently switched positions from second grade teacher to Title I coordinator at New Century School in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Pete Caspers ’02

Jessie (Neverman) Studebaker ’18, Jesup, Iowa, has accepted a position with the Wapsie Valley (Iowa) School District as its transitional kindergarten teacher.

Jordan Sump ’18, Ankeny, Iowa, was hired to teach eighth grade social studies and as a reading interventionist with the DallasCenter Grimes (Iowa) School District.

Liz Warner ’18, Baxter, Iowa, was hired to teach fifth grade at Lenihan Middle School in Marshalltown, Iowa.

Vanessa Westen ’18, Washington, Iowa, accepted the first grade teaching position at Sacred Heart in Oelwein, Iowa.

Bobbie Jo (Whitaker) Yearous ’18, Quasqueton, Iowa, was hired to teach second grade at Sacred Heart in Oelwein, Iowa.

Wilson Amely ’19, Clinton, Iowa, accepted a fifth grade teaching position at Bluff Elementary in Clinton; he began in the fall of 2019.

Chris Even ’19, Jesup, Iowa, was elected Mayor of Jesup, Iowa, in the November 2019 elections.

Cassidy Fox ’19, Dallas Center, Iowa, accepted a position teaching SLC special education at Raymond Elementary in the Aldine Independent School District in Houston, Texas.

Dawn Laws ’19, Waterloo, Iowa, accepted a fourth grade teaching position at Fred Becker Elementary School in the Waterloo (Iowa) Community School District.

Bonnie (Husar) Lewison ’19, Eldridge, Iowa, accepted a position as a sixth grade ELA, social studies and reading intervention teacher at Williams Intermediate School in Davenport, Iowa.

Lia Passini ’19, Verona, Wisconsin, was hired to teach first grade at Wilson Elementary, beginning in the fall 2019.

Alex Schlue ’19, Davenport, Iowa, was hired to teach computer applications at Wood Intermediate within the Davenport Community School District.

Christine (Quario) Schwarz ’19, West Des Moines, Iowa, was hired to teach special education at Monroe Elementary with Des Moines Public Schools.

Jami Stutting ’19, Princeton, Iowa, accepted a junior high English position in the Calamus-Wheatland School District in Wheatland, Iowa.

Andrea Wonio ’19, Atlantic, Iowa, accepted the reading interventionist position at Inman Elementary School in Red Oak, Iowa.

Peacock wedding days

Montana (Van Sickle) ‘15 and Benjamin Fisher, West Des Moines, Iowa, were married in June 2019. Montana is in her fifth year of teaching English language learners in Des Moines Public Schools. She is currently serving the students and families at South Union Elementary. Ben is a logistical sales rep for TMC Transportation.

Chris and Hannah (Miller) ’16 Schveiger West Union, Iowa, were married on June 15, 2019, in Fayette, Iowa. Hannah currently teaches fifth grade at West Central in Maynard, Iowa.

Cameron and Cierra (Simon) ’17 Ryan , Waterloo, Iowa, were wed on June 15, 2019. The couple have one 4-year-old son, Callen

Gabby (King) and Christian Archer ’16, Ottumwa, Iowa, were united in marriage on Saturday, October 12, 2019.


Surrounded by members of the Peacock family, Matt ’16 and Casey (Musgrave) ’16 Paulus of New Hampton, Iowa, were wed on July 13, 2019. The newlyweds credit the former Cabo Blue Sports Bar in Fayette, Iowa, as the place where they first fell in love.

Welcome to the Peacock family

Laura (Guilford) ’99 and Eric Schmitt, Monticello, Iowa, welcomed daughter Addison Colleen to their family on July 12, 2019. Their little bundle of joy weighed 8 lbs., 3.6 oz. and was 21.5 inches long.

Jesse ’02 and Bethany Rawley, Renton, Washington, welcomed their first child, Isla Jeane Rawley, into the world on July 25, 2019.

Megan (Mueterthies) ’09 and Kelly Miller, Estherville, Iowa, welcomed their daughter, Mollie, on May 11, 2019. She was 6 lbs., 14 oz., and measured 19 3/4 inches long.

Kristy (Hinrichs) ’12 and Keaton Hosch, Atkins, Iowa, welcomed their second daughter, Kamdyn Sue, on May 14, 2019.

Regina “Gina” (Hoffman) ’14 and Ryan Panuska, Strawberry Point, Iowa, welcomed their first child, Waylon Harper Panuska in October 2019.

Nicholas “Nick” ’14 and Kasey (Uran) ’14 Linde, Lincoln, Nebraska, welcomed their first child on September 8, 2019. Henrik Michael Linde weighed 7 lbs., 3 oz. and was 19.5 inches long.

Luke ’18 and Jennifer Becker, Fort Dodge, Iowa, welcomed their son, Theo Edward Becker, in December 2018. Since graduation, Luke has also begun teaching online courses at various institutions.



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