Jon Weston Church, 79, of Council Bluffs, Iowa, died Tuesday, November 2, 2021, at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
Jon was born on December 23, 1941, in Correctionville, Iowa, the son of Floyd Earnest and L. Nadine (Fowles) Church. Floyd and Nadine met in Holstein, Iowa, and were married on June 21, 1934, in Sioux City, Iowa. Jon grew up with his older brother, Jerry, in Glendale, California and Cherokee, Iowa, before the family settled in Atlantic, Iowa in 1948, when their dad took the position as Meat Market Manager at Swanson’s Grocery Store. It was said that Jon was a little ornery as a child. While in school he was active in choir and musicals and played the clarinet. Jon had fond memories of working alongside his dad on Saturdays at the grocery store. He graduated from Atlantic High School with the Class of 1960. Following graduation, he attended Buena Vista College in Storm Lake, Iowa, and received his Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education in 1964. Jon later continued his education, receiving his Masters in Elementary Administration in 1967 from Northeast Missouri State Teachers College, now Truman State University, in Kirksville, Missouri.
Little did Jon know that when he went to the weekly Wednesday night dance at the YMCA in Des Moines, Iowa on the night of March 21, 1965, he would meet his future wife. On May 27, 1966, he and Susan Ann Vitalis were united in marriage at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Des Moines. They attended many dances through the years in Des Moines and Omaha, literally dancing through life. Susan will always treasure him as a wonderful husband.
Jon began his teaching career teaching in the Griswold Community School District at the Grant Building. He later served as Principal at the Oran Elementary School in Oran, Iowa, but it was a short stint as he found himself better suited in the classroom. The family then moved to Marion, Iowa, and he took a position in the Cedar Rapids School District. Following the death of his father in 1970, the desire to be in the rolling hills of western Iowa called and the family moved to Council Bluffs. Jon started teaching elementary education in the Council Bluffs Community School District, a majority of this time at Hoover, retiring in 1998, after bettering the minds of his students for 34 years. He had a natural professional demeanor and was a very traditional teacher; finding a great deal of importance in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance daily and sticking to the basics of the 3 R’s, reading, writing and ‘rithmetic.
His love of learning not only led to guiding students but also his own, researching genealogy for countless hours and reading any book he could get his hands on about history and historical figures. Jon’s curiosity into this was even deeper due to him being a direct descendant of ten passengers who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620. Amongst those ancestors were seven signers of the Mayflower Compact, including Captain Myles Standish who was his eighth great-grandfather. He and Susan were members of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, Jon serving as Captain at one time of the Iowa society.
Jon was a very practical person and liked to keep things as uncomplicated as possible. He was able to relish and find great joy in what the simple things in life offered him. He loved the doo-wop style of music and the music of Mario Lanza. Jon looked forward to picnics and cookouts with his family. Jon connected with his grandchildren by reading to them when they came to visit and it is one of their treasured memories of their grandfather.
Do you remember the sound of Jon’s voice and his laugh? This was something he was known for, often hearing that he had a voice for radio because it was so rich in tone. His distinctive laugh would bring bountiful joy to a room.
Through all that life dealt Jon, the good and the bad, he was sustained by his faith in his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jon and Susan attended the New Horizon Presbyterian Church in Council Bluffs.
Jon is survived by his wife of 55 years, Susan of Council Bluffs, IA; sons, Peter (Denise) Church of Milan, IL and Mark Church of Council Bluffs, IA; grandchildren, Adam Weston (Alexis) Church of Hinesville, GA and Amy Louise (significant other, Trenton Thrap) Church of Brandon, FL; and nieces, Mary Elizabeth Stone and Stephanie Braun Church.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Floyd and L. Nadine Church and his brother, Jerry Church.
Per Jon’s wishes no service will be held. A private family inurnment will be held at the Atlantic Cemetery in Atlantic, Iowa.
Memorials may be directed to the New Horizon Presbyterian Church, 30 Valley View Drive, Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503 or to a charity of your choice.
Roland Funeral Service is caring for Jon’s family and his arrangements. Condolences may be left at www.rolandfuneralservice.com.