Ronald W. Dempsey

Ronald W. Dempsey, 83, of Kanawha passed away Sunday, September 2, 2018 at Muse Norris Hospice Inpatient Unit in Mason City after a short but courageous battle with cancer.

Funeral services for Ronald Dempsey will be Saturday, September 8, 2018 at 10:30 AM at the Kanawha Lutheran Church, 124 West Fourth Street in Kanawha, with Pastors Geoffrey and Char White officiating.  Burial will be held at the Amsterdam Township Cemetery in Kanawha.

Visitation will be held on Friday, September 7, 2018 from 5:00 – 7:00 PM at Ewing Funeral Home, 118 East Second Street in Kanawha and will continue one hour prior to services at the church on Saturday.

Ronald Wayne Dempsey was born in Belmond, Iowa on October 1, 1934 to John Dempsey Jr. and Selma Jacobson. He attended country school until 3rd grade where he continued his education at Kanawha Community School, graduating in 1952. He was on the 1952 baseball team that became state champions. After graduating, he continued his schooling at the Junior College in Mason City. He worked various jobs until joining the Air Force. After basic training in Texas, he was assigned to Biggs AF Base in El Paso.

In 1955, he married Jeanette Moore. To this union they had four children, Bradley, Cynthia, Brian, and Christina. Later they divorced.

During his years of service, he was stationed in Morocco, Missouri, Nebraska, Thailand, Vietnam, Washington, and Texas. In 1972, he volunteered for courier service and delivered top secret material throughout the United States and Canada. In 1976, after 22 years and 6 days, he retired from the Air Force achieving the rank of Master Sergeant. He then lived and worked in Omaha for the postal service while attending evening classes at Bellevue University. During this time, he joined the Shriners and was very active in the Eastern Star. He was the Chief of the Tangier Keystone Cops.

In 1978 he married Martha Gante and later divorced. In 1981, he graduated with a BA degree. In 1982, he moved back to Kanawha and lived with his Uncle Art. He worked for the crop production service, Norway Telephone Co., and the post office. In 1984, he met his future wife, Janice Abbas at the local grocery store. They wed in 1985 and he worked various jobs including driving semi, hospital maintenance, and lastly driving the transit bus transporting cancer patients to their treatments. He said that was his most challenging job.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 33 years, Janice; stepson Alan (Tammy) Abbas and their sons Aaron (Alyssa) and Zach (special friend Brie); stepson Doug (Val) Abbas and their children Gretchen, Logan, and Jaidyn, all who meant the world to him; brother Steve (Nancy); sisters Noreen (Loren), Leah (Roger), and Ruth (Tom); niece Lori (Jason) and their children Justin and Kriesten; and nephews Brian, Aaron (Randy), and Gunner.

Ronald is preceded in death by his parents, grandparents, nephew Jeff Roberts and aunts, uncles, and cousins.


Date: Friday, September 7, 2018
Time: 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Where: Ewing Funeral Home – Kanawha
118 East 2nd Street, Kanawha, Iowa 50447
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Date: Saturday, September 8, 2018
Time: 10:30 am
Where: Kanawha Lutheran Church
124 West Fourth Street, Kanawha, Iowa 50447
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