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Harold Joseph Churchill

Harold Joseph Churchill, 83, of Grinnell passed away Sunday morning, Aug. 18, 2013, at his home.

A funeral service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at the Grinnell First Friends Church with Rev. Todd Follette officiating. Music will be provided by Kathy Vander Ploeg and the men’s quartet. Pallbearers will be Chad and Matt Birkenholtz, Warren Blom, Daniel and Kevin Churchill, Frank Hawk and Dwain Holmes. Honorary bearers will be Bob Burnham, Dennis Churchill, Richard Ebert, Pat Gallagher, Jim Graham, Robin Gray, Mike Lanphier, Henry Terlouw and Elvyn Ver Dught. A private burial will be in Hazelwood Cemetery in Grinnell.

A celebration of life lunch and reception at the church will follow the interment.

Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Smith Funeral Home in Grinnell with the family present from 4 to 7 p.m.

Memorial contributions may be directed to the Harold J. Churchill Memorial Fund.

Harold was born Nov. 14, 1929, southeast of Prairie City. He was the son of Ralph and Nora Leader Churchill. He was raised around the Prairie City area and was a 1948 graduate of Prairie City High School. He was an outstanding athlete and active in sports and so named to the second team All-State Football Team as an offensive end.

In 1950, he was united in marriage with Gwendolyn Hawkins in Monroe and to this union were born one daughter, Linda and twin sons, Dennis and Daniel. They farmed in the Monroe-Prairie City area until moving to their present home southwest of Grinnell in 1959.

Harold was an exceptionally hard worker and accomplished farmer. He strived to preserve the soil and thoroughly enjoyed working with livestock. He raised prize winning hogs and later took great pride in his Black Angus cow/calf herd; at one time he had over 150 cows. His idea of working toward “retirement” at 78 years of age was selling 20 cows and keeping back 25 heifers.

Howard dearly loved his family and spending time with people. He enjoyed eating; especially potlucks and ice cream. He was a 4-H leader for many years including when his three children and three grandchildren showed at the county fair. He taught Sunday school at both Bethel and First Friends Church. He took great joy singing in choir and was proud to serve as church elder and a member of the Gideons. He was also janitor and superintendent at Bethel Church for many years. Harold abided by Christian values all his life and set high standards in all areas. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. More recently, he particularly enjoyed his young great-grandchildren.

Survivors include his wife, Gwen of 63 years; a daughter, Linda (Tom) Birkenholtz of Monroe; twin sons, Dennis and Daniel of Grinnell; three grandchildren, Sara (Frank) Hawk of St. Charles, Chad (Elisha) Birkenholtz and Matt (Jessica) Birkenholtz of Monroe; six great-grandchildren, Ira and Lincoln Hawk and Charlize, Olivia, Baili and Bentli Birkenholtz; two brothers, Doyle (Louise) Churchill and Hubert (Wilma) Churchill of Newton; several nieces and nephews and a host of friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Evelyn Churchill Brashear; and two brothers Dwight and Lester in infancy.


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