The Telegraph Herald invited local residents to share stories of their loved ones who died of COVID-19.
Mike G. Schmitt, 64, of Rickardsville, Iowa
June 9, 1956, to Oct. 12, 2020
My husband, Mike Schmitt died as a result of COVID-19.
He had only been retired for a year and was in great shape. He was thriving after a kidney transplant seven years ago. Last year, he had both hips replaced and often said how he felt like he got his life back, that he felt better than he had in years. He had just finished a major project in the yard and helped his nephew on the farm when he suddenly felt ill. He tested positive for COVID-19, hospitalized, put on a ventilator and died.
Mike had a passion for life and learning. He had so much left to give. He always had a project in the works. He would research anything and do-it-himself. If someone needed a hand, Mike was there to help.
Mike loved to make people laugh with his quick-wit and sense of humor. He was always in a good mood, whistling or singing along with a song. He had a smile that was warm and sincere and also possessed a devilish grin.
Mike was a rural mail carrier in the Holy Cross area for over 20 years. He was proud of his job and did it well. His patrons will tell you that he went above and beyond to make sure they were taken care of. He always had time for them.
Some people may also remember him from his work at Key City Plating or from the many bands he played in over the course of his life. He loved music!
Most of all, Mike was a devoted husband, father, brother, uncle, friend ...
There will forever be a hole torn in our lives, a huge void left where this larger-than-life man lived in our hearts. If not for COVID, he would still be with us today.
Carrie Schmitt, Rickardsville, Iowa
Elizabeth Roth, 70, of Bellevue, Iowa
June 10, 1950, to Nov. 9, 2020
Liz Roth was a lifelong resident of Bellevue, Iowa. She was married to Mike for 51 years. She owned and operated The Hair Shanty in Bellevue for over 30 years, where she met hundreds of people and made hundreds of friends. She was known for her outgoing, smiling personality that welcomed all. …
Liz was admitted into Finley Hospital on Friday, Oct. 30, with COVID pneumonia. On Wednesday, Nov. 4, she was transferred to the University of Iowa’s ICU. We had confidence in her progress until Saturday, Nov. 7. Early that morning, the direction had changed, and she was intubated and forced into a medically induced coma. The medical team had done everything they could to keep Liz alive and comfortable.
She passed on Monday evening at 9:50. Her two daughters were by her side. During that time, I was battling COVID pneumonia myself. I was admitted into the Mercy Hospital COVID unit on Nov. 8 and spent the next four days recovering.
I had to say goodbye to my wife of 51 years over the phone in hospitals separated by 100 miles.
Mike Roth, Bellevue, Iowa
Dozens of obituaries printed in the Telegraph Herald over the past nine months have noted that the subjects died of COVID-19.
The families of those below gave the TH permission to use their photos and some information gleaned from their obituaries.
Sister Martha A. Luedtke, OSF, of Dubuque
Nov. 6, 1941, to Nov. 19, 2020
Deeply devoted Franciscan, teacher and EMT, who loved her family, Franciscan sisters, friends and God. Her teaching stops included Dyersville, and in Dubuque, she ministered at the Dubuque Community YMCA and Alverno Apartments.
JoAnn M. Behnke, of Dubuque
July 17, 1942, to May 22, 2020
A very hard worker, social butterfly and lover of flower gardens, long walks, porcelain dolls and four-legged creatures. Her faith was integral to her life. “The world is definitely a better place because we had JoAnn here with us for 77 wonderful years.”
David R. Phillips, of Zwingle, Iowa
Aug. 24, 1948, to Nov. 12, 2020
A lifelong, self-employed farmer who served in the Army National Guard and who enjoyed bowling, cutting and splitting wood, fishing and hunting. “He loved a social gathering and ‘never met a stranger.’”
Mary J. Long, of Dubuque
July 30, 1940, to May 17, 2020
A graduate of Prairie du Chien (Wis.) High School whose jobs included head bank cashier, transcriptionist and hostess. “Jill loved music and dancing of any kind!” She also enjoyed traveling, shopping and time with family and friends.
Pamela S. Schumacher, of Galena, Ill.
April 10, 1953, to Nov. 17, 2020
A loving wife, mother and grandmother who was both the “the best ‘Grammy’ to her four grandchildren” and the life of the party. “Pam had an infectious laugh and smile with such a kind heart. … She had a wonderful sense of humor and never shied away from showing off her exceptional dance moves.”
David A. Duda, of Hazel Green, Wis.
Feb. 9, 1935, to Nov. 13, 2020
A man shaped by the loss of two sisters in a fire that destroyed the family home at a young age. Nicknamed “Moose” during his high school football days and a U.S. Army veteran who served in Korea, he also climbed Mount Fuji in Japan. “His career took him from Ladish Company to Schlitz and Stroh breweries. You might want to thank David Duda, project director, if you enjoy wine coolers.”
Edna M. Wolter, of Dubuque
June 21, 1931, to Nov. 1, 2020
The longtime manager of World of Fabrics, she later worked as a bookkeeper and a tax assembler. “Edna enjoyed years of sewing and quilting, but her greatest joy was spending time with family and friends.”
Gerald A. Miller, of Dubuque
June 12, 1949, to Nov. 14, 2020
A Western Dubuque High School grad who worked various jobs before his retirement. Lover of bingo, country music, putting puzzles together and doing word-seek and sudoku puzzles.
Leonard V. McCarthy, of Bernard, Iowa
July 29, 1945, to Nov. 24, 2020
A U.S. Navy veteran who had lived on the family farm since 1948. “Leonard was proud of his Irish heritage, very patriotic, loved rural America, was devoted to his beloved animals, loved cowboy poetry, RFD-TV, the Cowboy Channel, Mecum Auctions, rodeos, a good meal at Pearl’s and was loyal to his family and friends. It was said he could strike up a conversation with anyone at any time. He was very knowledgeable on so many, many topics.”
Georgia C. Knuth, of Dubuque
June 29, 1935, to Nov. 27, 2020
A hospital nurse prior to her retirement who was an active volunteer at Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, Sunnycrest Manor and Camp Albrecht Acres, and she served on the board of Luther Manor. She loved to play euchre and cribbage.
Judith A. Siegert, of Dubuque
Aug. 22, 1942, to July 31, 2020
A “confident, accomplished RN who used her skills to travel the world.” She worked as a nurse in Colorado, Canada, Hawaii, Florida, Los Angeles, Germany, San Francisco and N.J., among other locations. “Judy’s compassion, empathy and pragmatic nature served her and her patients well as a nurse. ... Judy was an extremely thoughtful and generous person, who expected nothing in return.”
Lorraine E. Tegeler, of Dubuque
April 25, 1926, to Nov. 14, 2020
A woman who had a very strong faith in God and was devoted to her family. She loved to cook and can, as well as go to the casino when she could. “If she was having a winning streak, it was not uncommon to hear the words ‘hot dog’ come barreling out of her mouth. She was always there to effortlessly make everyone laugh with her hilarious one-liners.”
Norma A. Rubenbauer, of Dubuque
Dec. 3, 1922, to Oct. 26, 2020
A natural athlete and born educator who taught at a variety of schools and eventually served as principal. “She loved big and small adventures. She was filled with everyday surprises. She was a walking party, a sparkplug for fun.”
Robert J. Mai, of Dubuque
Sept. 5, 1931, to Oct. 26, 2020
A longtime cabinetmaker at Metz Manufacturing Co. and machine operator at John Deere Dubuque who also served as a Boy Scout leader. He enjoyed woodworking, growing roses and watching football.
Gene P. Gordon, of Dubuque
Feb. 17, 1930, to Oct. 27, 2020
A U.S. Air Force veteran and lover of skiing who collaborated with friends to create Sundown Mountain Resort in rural Dubuque and served as the longtime president of the corporation behind it. He spent most of his professional life working for a well-known local architectural firm. “He was a man who made things: totem poles, ski hills, geodesic domes, paper airplanes, models and wooden sculptures. ... A man whose impact will last beyond his passing. Many of the buildings he designed earned architectural awards; Hempstead High School and the Dubuque Museum of Art are well known locally. What he built will continue to give even after his death.”
James H. Schulz, of Dubuque
April 6, 1939, to Nov. 17, 2020
A man who proudly served 10 years in the National Guard and who, after he retired, golfed almost every day until his last three years. He loved the Iowa Hawkeyes football and basketball teams, country dancing, playing his guitar and reading the Bible. “He helped many people through troubled times in their lives.”