Russell Loven

Russell P. Loven died at home in Guttenberg after a long struggle with cancer December 27, 2022. The family will receive friends from 10-11 a.m. Saturday, January 21, 2023 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Guttenberg. Funeral service will be at St. John’s Lutheran Church at 11 a.m. Saturday, January 21, 2023 with Rev. Michael Ashman officiating.

Russ was born March 9, 1934 in Decorah, the son of Roy and Ruth (Onsager) Loven. Russ spent his formative years in Waukon where he attended first through 12th grades in Waukon; graduating high school in 1952. He then attended Luther College in Decorah two years, where he met his future wife, Juanita Zeman.

Russell volunteered for the draft and served in the U.S. Army. After completing basic training, he was united in marriage to Juanita Joanne Zeman November 20, 1954. He soon found himself on a ship heading for Okinawa, where he spent his time until called home when his mother was dying. Juanita spent their time apart with her parents on the family farm; giving birth to Scott Russell Loven September 29, 1955. Russ met his son when he arrived home for his mother’s funeral in April 1956.

After discharge from the Army, Russ returned to Luther College where they resided in married student housing. Russell graduated from Luther College, Decorah in May, 1958 with a major in Business Administration and History. He also received his M.A. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls in 1963.  Russ attained his master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1974 in Special Educational Administration. In 1991 Russ achieved his PhD in Educational Administration from the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

Russell’s professional resume began as a teacher in Grand Meadow, MN from 1958-1960. He then worked as a teacher and counselor in Postville from 1960-1962 where he started a Spanish program. From 1962-1967, Russ worked as a middle school counselor in Stoughton, WI. From 1967-1970, Russ was Assistant Principal in Watertown Sr. High School, Watertown, WI and then served as Principal from 1970-1978.

From 1978-1995, Russ served as Superintendent of South Winneshiek Community Schools in Calmar.  From 1995-2002, Russ was a shared Superintendent in Garnavillo and Guttenberg, working toward their joining to create Clayton Ridge Community Schools. He also served as Elementary Principal in his last year when he officially retired July 1, 2002.

Over the years Russ received many accolades, which included a Distinguished Service Award, Luther College in 2018 and NICC Board of Trustees Honorary Award November 21, 2022.

Russ made many civic contributions in his communities, including Rotary Club in Watertown, WI and in Guttenberg. He was a Northeast Iowa Community College Foundation Board (NICC) member, including President, 1988-2021. Russ served on the hospital board of directors in Decorah from 1989-1995 and in Guttenberg from 2018-2022. He was a lifelong member of the Lutheran Church (ELCA) and a member of the Spillville Historic Action Group (SHAG) from 1978-1995. Of note, the 1993 National Music Festival celebrating 100 years since Antonin Dvorak, famous Czech composer, spent the summer of 1893 in Spillville.

Russ also supported Juanita’s entrepreneurial venture in creating and operating The Old World Inn, a Czech restaurant and lodging (1987-1990) in Spillville. Russ served as Mayor of Guttenberg from 2011-2018. He was a member of the Guttenberg American Legion and Golf Club.  Russ also supported Juanita as she created Books, Etc. in Guttenberg (1997-2007), and also, Juanita’s Folly, a consignment store, 2018-2020.

Russell enjoyed traveling, photography, drawing/painting, golfing, hiking, walking, snowshoeing, etc.; and was a lifelong learner.   He was a “walk around” mayor and enjoyed visiting with everyone. His grandchildren and others enjoyed his stories. He enjoyed his pollinator garden, butterflies, birds and flowers, the Mississippi River view and Umbrella Arts activities.    He aspired to write his memoirs entitled, We Are All Trying to Survive, with the help of his granddaughter, Krista Ahlberg, a work still in progress.

Russ will be forever loved and cherished by his wife of 68 years, Juanita; his children, Scott (Rebecca) Loven of Decorah, Sheree (Charles) Frego of Norfolk, NY, Susan (Randy) Ahlberg of Longmont, CO and Thomas Loven of New Market, MD; 12 grandchildren, Jesse Frego, Seth Loven, Joe Frego, Torre Ahlberg, Cade Loven, Krista Ahlberg, Kari Frego, Jon Frego, Jake Frego, Sofia Ahlberg and Michaela Loven (Poland); 22 great-grandchildren, to date; and his brother, Richard Loven of Waukon.

Russ was preceded in death by his parents; his daughter-in-law, Michalene Loven; and his granddaughter, Annika Ahlberg.

Russell’s family thanks The St. Croix Hospice and all the hospital and home health caregivers and faithful friends who helped in so many ways.

Memorials may be given to the Russell and Juanita Loven Donor Advised Fund, P.O. Box 610, Guttenberg, IA  52052.

Arrangements are being handled by Tuecke-Allyn Funeral Home, 207 South 1st Street, Guttenberg.