Jay Dean Mehmen, 77
Jay Dean Mehmen, age 77 of Nashua, IA died Tuesday, April 19, 2022, at the Waverly Health Center.
Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, April 27, 2022, at First United Church of Christ - Pleasant Valley, rural Clarksville, IA, with Rev. Peter Wenzel officiating. Pallbearers will be Brad Schmidt, Jeff Schmidt, Ron Mehmen, Todd Reuscher, Chad Stohr, Mike Brunner, Mark Brunner, and Darin Wellman.
Friends may greet the family from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, 2022, at Hugeback Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory - Olson Chapel in Nashua. Visitation continues an hour prior to the service at the church on Wednesday. Online condolences for the Mehmen family may be left at hugebackfuneralhome.com
Jay was born on Jan. 4, 1945, to Jacob and Thelma (Overturf) Mehmen in Charles City and was the second youngest of the couple's six children who grew up on the family farm located between Plainfield and Nashua.
He received his education in Plainfield schools, and as a high school student, he played both basketball and baseball for the Pirates and was a member of Plainfield High School's Class of 1963.
Throughout his life, Jay enjoyed playing practical jokes and joking around with his buddies, and, in a way, that's how he met the woman who would become his wife. Jay and his cousin attended another cousin's program at a country school and had a little fun locking a fifth-grader named Sharon Weinberg and one of her friends out of the school, but even at that young age, Sharon was smitten with Jay, writing in her diary that night that "I'm going to marry Jay Mehmen." A year later, Sharon paid a friend 50 cents - which was some serious money back then - for Jay's school picture.
Three years later, they began dating, and the romance grew even stronger. On June 13, 1965, the two exchanged vows, beginning a marriage that would last more than 56 years. Jay and Sharon's bond throughout those years was really the epitome of marriage. They were devoted to each other, they cared for each other, they helped each other, and, most of all, through thick and thin, they loved each other.
The Mehmens had five children - Bryan, Paula, Brent, Jana, and Jolyn - who had a father who taught them the perfect combination of working hard yet knowing when to have fun. They still remember being convinced that their father's "rain dance" was the reason the rain fell and it wasn't until they got older that they realized he had just read or heard the forecast! But in all seriousness, the Mehmen kids knew that they could always turn to their father when they needed him. He taught them so many life lessons - like the importance of being a good neighbor, never being judgmental, always helping those less fortunate than themselves, and to be open to new experiences.
His work ethic could be seen in the fact that he farmed, on the Mehmen family farm as well as worked jobs throughout his life. After high school, he worked for McGregor Haying in Charles City, Waterloo Industries, and Carnation in Waverly, before he took a job at White Farm, where he worked for more than 20 years and rose to be the plant's maintenance supervisor. When the Charles City tractor plant closed in 1994, he took a job as the maintenance supervisor at Unverferth in Shell Rock until he retired in 2005.
He had many interests - ranging from fishing to camping to traveling to golfing to dancing. He loved his fishing trips with the guys to Minnesota and enjoyed playing golf with his friends at the Nashua Town and Country Club, as well as their weeklong golf trips.
Jay and Sharon were longtime members of a neighborhood card club, and it wasn't just the "500" games that made it fun; it was the chance to laugh and have fun with their friends that gave them so much joy. Jay and Sharon loved to travel, and they drove to Alaska three different times.
He was the best grandpa because, in short, he was the fun grandpa. Rules like "no TV while eating dinner" went out the window when it came to the grandchildren, who loved their trips to the farm just because they knew Grandpa was going to take them for tractor rides.
Jay also was a big Iowa Hawkeyes fan, but after three of his daughters attended the University of Northern Iowa, the Panthers were added to his favorite teams' list.
He was a man of deep faith. Baptized and confirmed at St. John's in Nashua, he was a longtime member of First United Church of Christ - Pleasant Valley. He served on the church board, was a deacon, enjoyed his time with his men's fellowship group, and played on the church's "dartball" team.
Maybe his most special gift to his wife, children, grandchildren, and friends was this: If you were interested in something, so was he. After he retired, he took up woodcarving, and each of his grandchildren received a custom-made walking stick that included 10 objects that were important to them from Grandpa on their 10th birthday.
Jay was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, sibling, uncle, friend, and neighbor. He touched the lives of so many, all of whom will miss him dearly.
He is survived by his wife, Sharon of Nashua; his children, Bryan Mehmen of Nashua, Paula (Rob) Burley of Cedar Rapids, Brent (Brooke) Mehmen of Mason City, Jana (Paul) Roberts of Urbandale, and Jolyn (John) Kennedy of Overland Park, Kansas; 12 grandchildren; one brother, Art (Millie) Mehmen of Waverly; three sisters, Verna (Leonard) Schmidt of Waverly, Arva (Harlan) Ruescher of Waverly and Leola Stohr of Parkersburg; sister-in-law Debbie (Paul) Brunner, and brother-in-law David Weinberg; along with several nieces and nephews.
Jay was preceded in death by his parents, sister, Lois Mehmen; sister-in-law, Cloris Mehmen; and two nephews, Terry Reuscher and Randy Mehmen.