Roger Halvorson

Roger A. Halvorson, 80, of Marquette, formerly of Monona, died Sunday, November 2, 2014 at his home. Funeral Services were held Saturday, November 8 at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Monona, with Rev. Erika Kielstrup as the Officiant. Interment followed at St. Paul Lutheran Cemetery, Monona with Military Honors.

Roger Allan, the son of Victory L. and Ruby E. (Jenson) Halvorson, was born February 12, 1934 in Waterville. Roger was baptized in 1934 and confirmed in 1948 at the Waterville Lutheran Church.  He graduated from Waterville High School and received his Bachelor of Science degree from Upper Iowa University.

Roger served as a sergeant with Company D, 133rd Infantry of the Iowa National Guard from 1951 until 1959.  He was united in marriage with Connie May Rohde December 27, 1955 in Fayette. Through the years, Roger was involved with many businesses.  As a youth, Roger was a hired hand for several Waterville farmers, he painted houses and buildings in Fayette during college, he was a teacher at Luana High School, and was a field representative for a national insurance company.

Roger and Connie owned and operated Halvorson Real Estate, which developed residential apartments and homes in Monona and numerous towns around northeast Iowa, Halvorson Insurance Agency, a tree farm and Monona Maid Greenhouse in Monona; Alte Heidelberg Gardens Restaurant in Luana; senior citizen housing developments in Guttenberg, Elgin, Fayette and Wadena; and Eagles Landing Bed and Breakfast, Eagles Landing Winery and Vineyard in Marquette.

Roger and Connie founded and served with the Emma Big Bear Foundation and the Roger and Connie Halvorson Family-Clayton County Foundation for the Future (CCFF) Fund for Entrepreneurship.

Roger served in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1974 until 1996 and was the House Majority Leader for several years. He represented Clayton, Allamakee, Fayette and Winneshiek counties. Roger also served as the Executive Director of the Iowa Department of Commerce from 1997 until 1999, completing his 25-year tenure of public service for the State of Iowa. He was awarded the Thomas Jefferson Award for Leadership from the United States American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Roger belonged to many organizations, including Kiwanis, JayCees, Monona City Councilman, Monona Volunteer Fire Department, Monona Stock Club, Tri-City Golf Course as Vice President, Waterville Lutheran Church President, and St. Paul Lutheran Church in Monona. He was also inducted into the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union Hall of Fame as an officiating referee.

Roger enjoyed fishing, boating, golfing, playing cards, playing or watching any sport - especially his long and playful rivalry between “Roger’s Dodgers” and “Connie’s Braves”, telling jokes or playing tricks on his friends and family, traveling around the world with Connie, wine making, and making fresh water pearl jewelry. Most of all, Roger loved, was proud of, and enjoyed spending time with his wife, his children, his grandchildren, and his great-grandchildren.

Roger served as the Clayton County Republican Chairman, Iowa Second District Republican Chairman, was on the Republican State Central Committee, the Iowa Chairman for ALEC, founder of the annual Lincoln Club Dinner for Clayton County Republicans, and served as the Lincoln Club’s annual fundraising letter writer.

After he left the State House, Roger served as President of the Iowa Winegrowers Association, was a charter winery member of the Iowa Wine Trail, the Great River Road Wine Trail and other wine trails, and his winery was licensed as the 13th winery founded in Iowa during the re-birth of that industry. Roger also served on the Clayton County Community Foundation (CCFF) Board, Scenic Byways Board, Iowa Pioneer Lawmakers Association, Zoning Board in Marquette, was an original founder of the Lazy River Beer & Wine Fest in Marquette, an active member of the McGregor-Marquette Chamber of Commerce, and many other organizations wherever he could help. Roger will be remembered by everyone for his gracious manner, friendly smile, innovative ideas and helpfulness.

Roger is survived by his wife of 58 years, Connie, of Marquette; his children, Tracey Halvorson of Omaha, NE, Rogeta Halvorson of McGregor, Jay (Cindy) Halvorson of Marquette, and Lisa (Carlton) Goodwin of Cedar Rapids; his grandchildren, Sarah Knockel (Nick) Follmuth of Ankeny, Andrew (fiancée Molly Junge) Halvorson of Omaha, NE, Katharine Goodwin of Omaha, NE and Madeline Goodwin of Cedar Rapids; his step-grandchildren, Elisabeth (Joe) Crabtree of Virginia Beach, VA, Michelle Goodwin of Virginia Beach, VA, Carlton Goodwin III of Virginia Beach, VA, Casey (Derek) Evanson of Monona, Amanda (Eric) D’Hooge of Chapel Hill, NC and Halie Ruff of Waterloo; his great-grandchild, Carter John Follmuth of Ankeny; his step-great-grandchildren, Danielle Crabtree of Virginia Beach, VA, Stephanie Crabtree of Virginia Beach, VA, Corbin Evanson of Monona and Aiden Evanson of Monona; his brother, William (Linda) Halvorson of Waterville; his sisters-in-law, Launee Halvorson of Waterville, Cathie (Don) Langel of Kirksville, MO, Roberta Anderson of Plymouth and Sandi Rohde of Farmersburg; his brothers-in-law, Ben Rohde of Fayette, Joe (Rachel) Rohde of Fayette and Don (Wendy) Rohde of Marion; and many nieces and nephews.

Roger was preceded in death by his parents, Victory and Ruby; a brother, Donald Halvorson; his parents-in-law, Bernard and Mildred Rohde; his brothers-in-law, John Rohde, James Rohde and Harold Gade; and his sisters-in-law, Norma Rohde and Nancy Gade.

Memorials may be made in Roger’s honor to CCFF’s Emma Big Bear Foundation at and the Roger and Connie Halvorson Family CCFF Fund for Entrepreneurship at

Condolences may be left for the family at Leonard-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Monona assisted the family with arrangements.