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John Phyfe, 83

New Hampton Tribune and Nashua Reporter - Staff Photo -

John Phyfe, age 83, of Nashua, IA, died Friday, March 17, 2023, at Tripoli Nursing and Rehab in Tripoli, IA.

Funeral Services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 23, 2023, at St. John Lutheran Church in Nashua with the Rev. Todd Burrichter officiating.

Military honors will be conducted by the Nashua Ralph Nicholson VFW Post 6792 immediately after the service outside of the church.

Friends may greet the family from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, 2023, at Hugeback Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory/Olson Chapel in Nashua. Visitation continues an hour prior to the service at the church on Thursday.

Online condolences for the Phyfe family may be left at

John was welcomed into the world by his parents — Roy and Alice (Rogers) Phyfe — in Central City, Iowa on July 3, 1939, the youngest of three siblings, beginning a long, wonderful life that saw him touch the lives of countless people.

He grew up in Central City and was a member of the Central City High School Class of 1957. As a kid he worked for numerous area farmers, milking cows and baling hay, developing a strong work ethic that would carry him throughout his life.

After graduating high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he trained and worked as an electronics technician aboard the U.S.S. George K. MacKenzie, a Gearing Class Destroyer in the Pacific. He often spoke of his time in the Navy, recounting his many adventures in Japan while on shore leave. After receiving his honorable discharge 4 years later, John went to work for Collins Radio in Cedar Rapids.

While working at Collins, a young woman named Mary Lou Lumley took notice of him and the two began dating. They were married on Oct. 27, 1963 - beginning an adventure that would last for 59 ½ years.

The couple had two children — Lynette and Steve — and lived in Cedar Rapids for several years before John was transferred to Wichita, Kansas for work in Winter of 1973. During a trip back to Nashua that spring to visit Mary Lou’s family, John went up to the Townhouse and came home a few hours later with an announcement: he had purchased the popular bar.

For seven years, he owned and operated the Townhouse. John loved working at the bar and talking with those who stopped into the Townhouse.

After selling the bar, he worked part-time at the Nashua Town and Country Club until one day, the mayor of Nashua asked him if he would consider applying to be a police officer in town. He embarked on a long and outstanding career in law enforcement, rising through the ranks to become Nashua’s police chief. His people skills made him a natural small-town officer. He’d talk someone out of doing something rather than giving them a ticket, and he was especially good with kids.

After 22 years as a Nashua police officer and chief, John wasn’t done serving his adopted hometown; instead, he became Nashua’s mayor and served the town well for seven years. By his example, he impacted lives and showed residents — both those who had lived in Nashua their entire lives and those who were newcomers — how great Nashua is as a community.

John also was a longtime member of the Ralph Nicholson VFW Post 6792.

But as much as he accomplished in his life, his No. 1 priority was always his family. He loved his wife Mary Lou and he was a great dad to Lynette and Steve. They would go camping and fishing and spent infinite amounts of time playing catch and shooting hoops. He passed on his love for dogs, which were always a part of the Phyfe home. He was an incredibly proud grandfather, who loved following their many sports, music, and theater activities.

John was one of a kind, and he’ll be terribly missed by his family, his friends and the community of Nashua.

John is survived by his wife, Mary Lou of Nashua; his daughter, Lynette (Duncan Strong) Phyfe of Winnipeg, Canada; his son, Steve (Lisa) Phyfe of Waverly; four grandchildren, Alex McGregor of Winnipeg, Canada; Mariah (Steven Hamonic) McGregor of Chicago; Aftin (Jacob) Riggs of West Des Moines; and Austin (Abbi Staack) Phyfe of Cedar Falls; one brother, LeRoy (Rita) Phyfe of Geneseo, Illinois; and one sister, Carolyn Hoerner of Boone.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother-in-law, Dr. Thomas Hoerner; and a nephew, Ricky Phyfe.

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