Richard Paul Whaley, 78

Richard Paul Whaley, 78, of Newton, Iowa, passed away on July 1, 2023. A funeral service will be held for Richard at Coburn Funeral Home in Colfax at 11:00 am on Saturday, July 8, 2023. The family will greet friends at the funeral home on Saturday prior to the service from 9:00 – 11:00 am. Following the funeral, a burial will take place at McKeever Cemetery. A luncheon will be served at the Colfax Historical Society building at 900 N. Walnut St., and all are welcome to attend. Online condolences may be left at www.coburnfuneralhomes.com.

The middle son of John Henry Whaley and Margaret Elizabeth Riemenschneider, Rich was born on January 10, 1945, in Marshalltown, Iowa, and grew up on the family farm in rural Marshall county. He graduated as valedictorian in the very last graduating class of Albion High School in 1963 where his dad, as president of the school board, was there to present him with his high school diploma. He also attended Marshalltown Community College. He was employed by Fisher Controls in Marshalltown until his retirement in 2002. He married Sandy Damerville on September 15, 1979. They had one daughter, Heidi, and resided on an acreage outside of Mingo up until their move to rural Newton in 2021. Over the years, he was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Albion along with First Federated Church in Des Moines.

From an early age, Rich took an interest in many things. He enjoyed helping his dad on the farm with his brothers (he even survived, mostly unscathed, being run over by a tractor as a child) and showing cattle through the local 4-H club. He spent many Sunday nights at the racetrack in Newton helping with his brother’s race car in his younger years, and continued to enjoy watching car races, especially Richard Petty and Jeff Gordon, over the years. Pigeons were a huge part of Rich’s life. His interest in pigeons started when he caught some wild pigeons from the rafters of the family barn, and then progressed into raising various breeds and varieties of purebred pigeons, especially his beloved English Trumpeter pigeons. He continued his pigeon hobby right up until his passing. He was a member of the Iowa State Pigeon Association, the Iowa State Racing Homer Association and the English Trumpeter Club of America. It was through these clubs and within the pigeon hobby that he made many lifelong friends. He also enjoyed his chickens, or really any sort of fowl. He spent many hours helping his daughter, and later his granddaughter, raise and care for their show chickens and other 4-H animals. He even brought home four bottle baby goats from an animal sale one time because Karly, his granddaughter, kept begging for “just one more” after the first goat, and he just couldn’t tell her no. He could often be found tinkering around in his shop, mowing the yard, and spending as much time as possible outside. He was also an avid listener of 60’s rock n roll music, especially The Beach Boys. More recently, he took a liking to watching Gunsmoke, The Andy Griffith Show and other old television programs and westerns while he recovered from multiple surgeries.

Those left to honor Rich’s memory include his wife, Sandy; daughter, Heidi (J.R.) Spear; granddaughter, Karly; grandsons, Brennan, Gavin and Hayden; and his two brothers, Johnny (Phyllis) Whaley and Jim (Brenda) Whaley.

Preceding Rich in death were his parents.

Memorial donations can be made to the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, in honor of Rich’s lifelong love of animals or to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), in honor of Rich’s 60+ year battle with Type 1 Diabetes. He was always hopeful that there would one day be a cure for future generations.

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