Pella Chronicle


April 10, 2014

Garth Bigbee

Pella — Garth C. Bigbee, 82, Marengo, died Friday, April 4, 2014, at the Marengo Memorial Hospital. Funeral services were held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, April 10, First Presbyterian Church, Burial was held in the Marengo Cemetery.

Memorials may be made by those who wish to First Presbyterian Church, Marengo Memorial Hospital Foundation, Iowa Valley School District Foundation, or the charity of donor’s choice.

Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Jane Ann; their children: G. Gregory (Verla) Bigbee, Pella; Ann (Charles Scott) Bigbee, Marengo; Janice (Bill) Bigbee-Hansen, Renton, WA; Jennifer (Ray) Storck, Scottsdale, AZ; and Jenny (David Weenink) Cals, AFS exchange student from The Netherlands; grandchildren: Morgan and Dakota Bigbee, Pella; Catherine Scott, New York City, NY; Jessica Scott, Des Moines; Will and Sam Bigbee-Hansen, Renton; Rebecca Storck, Pullman, WA; and Ryan Storck, Scottsdale; step-grandchildren: Dustyn (Molly) Menninga, Des Moines; LaCosta (Jeremy) Van Dyk, Pella; and Heather (Gary) Vander Heiden, Knoxville; and also Thomas and Louise Weenink, Amsterdam; great-grandchildren: Zarah, Ariana, Madyson, Alexander and Josiah Van Dyk, Pella; and Gage, Brady, Kjersten, and Jace Vander Heiden, Knoxville.

Also surviving are a brother-in-law, Dan (Sue) Steele, Westby, WI, and a sister-in-law, Bernice Steele, Spirit Lake.

Garth was preceded in death by his parents, Lon Bigbee (1984) and Erma Bigbee (1999); his parents-in-law, Richard and Catherine Steele; brother-in-law, Thomas Steele, and sister-in-law, Jane Steele.

Garth Charles Bigbee was born Aug. 1, 1931, in Williamsburg, the son of Lon Charles and Erma Lorene Eckert Bigbee.  He attended Marengo schools, graduating from Marengo High School in 1949. Garth received a B.S. Degree in Animal Husbandry in 1953 from Iowa State College, Ames. He was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. 

Garth Bigbee and Jane Ann Steele were married June 28, 1953, at Memorial Presbyterian Church, Cherokee. 

Garth served in the U.S. Air Force from 1953 to 1956. He was co-pilot on a KC-97 aerial tanker refueling B-47 bombers in mid-air. Following training at bases in Malden, MO, Enid, OK, San Antonio, Texas, and West Palm Beach, FL., he was stationed at Smokey Hill AFB, Salina, KS, with duty also in England and Newfoundland. 

Following his discharge from the Air Force, Garth returned home and worked with his parents on Gar-Lon Farms, raising Black Angus cattle from 1956-1970. In 1959 he received the Cedar Rapids Jaycees Outstanding Young Farmer of the Year.

In 1970 Garth went into the insurance business specializing in farm estate planning. He earned CLU (Chartered Life Underwriters) and ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultants) professional designations. With four others the partnership RBOZ was formed; they established Insurance Service Corporation of Iowa in Cedar Rapids where he worked until retirement.

Garth was an active fifty-year member of First Presbyterian Church, Marengo, where he was currently serving on its session and on which he had previously served several terms and also as a past president of the congregation. He was a member of the Hymn Bells choir.

He was a member of Marengo American Legion Post 76 and was a former member and past president of Marengo Rotary Club.

Garth enjoyed spending time with his family, working with his dog, fishing, hunting birds and mushrooms.

Online condolences may be extended to the family at

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