Living in Society

Political Landscape

Ben Keiffer (L) and Dr. Christopher Peters chatting at Pints and Politics event, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018

I hope the procession of deaths of friends and acquaintances will give it a rest for a while. I need to think about other things, namely gardening, cooking, writing, reading, and to some extent, politics. That last one sticks in my craw.

My new process of saving political newsletters to read over each weekend is working well to offload worries about political life. Better to save them and review all at once, I thought. The decision made me more productive during the week. I can see which elected officials are doing the work and which are phoning it in.

One newsletter stands out. Brad Sherman, my representative’s newsletter, sent from his campaign website. Sherman is a fringe member of political society. As a preacher, he is also on the fringe of nondenominational congregations. I compare him to other Republicans I’ve known and he doesn’t seem to work at getting to know constituents except those that produce a vote for him. Not only is Sherman on the fringe, he is plain weird. I gain insight into the weird at the expense of foregoing my priorities for state government. It is an unsavory dish to swallow.

Sherman won the election fair and square, even beating the Democrat in typically liberal Johnson County. We’re stuck with him until 2024, although depressed voter turnout and lack of interest in politics may be his ticket to reelection.

What don’t I like about him? In his last newsletter he wrote,

It has become obvious, for anyone who is not under the spell of the corrupt mainstream media, that Donald Trump won the 2020 election. Election fraud is now out in the open and it is time for it to be dealt with. And if the 2020 election was fraudulent, then Donald Trump is the rightful president, and we must insist that this gets fixed!

Brad Sherman legislative newsletter, April 6, 2023

It is tedious to mention Joe Biden won the 2020 general election for president the same way Sherman did, fair and square. I won’t be taking that up with him as he is off in the deep end. I don’t want to get dragged down with him as I have gardening and other things to do, as mentioned. Whether electing a Democrat in this district is possible is an open question. My sense is few people are paying attention to politics these days.

Iowa Democrats are in transition, as is the entirety of the state.

Much has been made this news cycle of the 565,000 registered Iowa voters who didn’t vote in the 2022 midterm elections. Secretary of State Paul Pate is sending letters to them all to receive confirmation they want to remain on the rolls. No response, you are purged in 2026. Yes Republicans are working to purge voters from the rolls. My comment is a little different. Did Democrats really leave 565,000 votes on the table in 2022? I believe Obama 2008 would never have left that many fish in the pond. My take is sloth set in.

Democrats have a lot of plans, and maybe that’s part of the problem. Centralized thinking about winning elections hasn’t worked for a long time, likely since the big wins in 2006 when the electorate decided they’d had it with George W. Bush and Republicans more generally. The worm has turned now.

My experience during the 2022 cycle was there were very few active Democrats in the nine Johnson County precincts in House District 91. Most have trouble filling two seats on the county central committee, let alone doing much during GOTV in the run up to the election. Partly, this is apathy, but partly the Democratic Party. More than apathy, Democrats have lost the relevance of which they are continuously reminding us. Other factors play more important roles in people’s lives. Politics is not high on the list of what is important.

Iowans are amenable to collective thought, and that serves Republicans. Farmers alone have to listen to bankers, equipment dealers, chemical companies, seed companies, and people who make a market in the commodities they grow. Without being collective farms, farmers act like them voluntarily because it serves their best interests to conform to the demands of people and organizations they rely upon. Evidence of the success of our form of agriculture is that millions of people haven’t died of hunger as they did in the hey day of collective farms in the Soviet Union.

It’s been a couple days since one of my friends and acquaintances died. Let’s see if we can go a few weeks before there is another. In the meanwhile, I’m keeping politics on the back burner.

Living in Society

Stormy Weather

Screenshot of weather forecast on April 4, 2023.

Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity reported their warehouse in Iowa City was destroyed by a tornado. They sent this email yesterday:

As a result of the March 31 storms that brought tornadoes through towns across Eastern Iowa, our 5,760 square foot warehouse used as the main storage space for our construction tools, supplies, materials, safety equipment, vehicles, trailers – everything necessary to build and repair homes – is a total loss. At this time, we have no plans to stop building and improving homes, especially now that our neighbors impacted by the storms are in need of home repairs. To continue this critical work without interruption in our services, IVHFH is looking to the support of the Iowa Valley community to raise funds and rebuild the Habitat warehouse.

Habitat for Humanity is an organization full of good people and volunteers doing good work. I volunteered on a couple of projects and the spirit of teamwork is infectious. If you can help them, they made a website to donate or volunteer here.

Even though the main lines of storms blew through here during the last five days, we were unscathed.

My first weather learning experience was in the military. When traveling around West Germany in formations of armored, tracked vehicles, both current and forecast weather mattered a lot to operations. Weather reports came down from on high, although from how far up the chain of command, I’m not sure. I remember being near Baumholder, in a tent on a hill, with 20 degree below zero ambient temperatures. The S-2 intelligence officer cradled a telephone receiver in a machine that wrote a facsimile of weather maps on a roll of thermal paper. Mostly, we were interested in precipitation forecasts before maneuvers.

Ever since, I tried to learn about weather forecasting in a basic human way.

The amount and types of free weather information available today is remarkable. It is also easy to use. Once one understands prevailing wind direction and how to read a radar map, it is relatively easy to plan around storms. The more I look at actual weather and compare it to radar, I gain a sense of how the large bodies of water around us impact storms. This is particularly useful when a storm is coming and the lawn needs mowing. A few clicks of a mouse on the computer screen and a person will have a good idea whether an hour’s outdoors work can be finished before rain falls. It’s a great feeling to see the first raindrops just as mowing is finished and I’m heading for the garage.

We have a safe place on the lower level of our home where multiple load-bearing walls intersect. When a big storm is coming, we move a chair there and bring a laptop to follow the storm. We don’t have a permanent space, like a storm cellar and don’t need one.

If you can spare some change, I hope you will help Habitat for Humanity rebuild their warehouse. Here’s the link.

Living in Society

Ready for Spring

By the calendar it is spring, yet it doesn’t quite feel like it. Too much darkness, too much rain, and too cold temperatures. Things will break, yet that doesn’t help get through today.

Monday I stopped at my parents’ graves while on my way to the wake for a friend. The dirt on Mother’s grave settled in the three and a half years since she was buried. I don’t know if the cemetery takes care of that, or whether I should bring a couple bags of topsoil, grass seed, a rake, a pair of gloves, and build it up myself. Whatever I do would be converted to the cemetery standard in time. It may not matter over the long term, although I’d feel better after tending her grave.

There have been enough funerals for a while. It is convenient to watch some from a distance via streaming. We don’t get the benefit of fellowship when we attend that way. I knew a lot of people at my friend’s in person wake, so that was pretty satisfying. I’m ready for what’s next and if spring would arrive, that would be it.

I didn’t know what to expect with Christopher Isett and Stephen Miller’s The Social History of Agriculture: From the Origins to the Current Crisis., yet it is slow reading as I drag my way through peasantry, indentured servitude, slavery and variations of people farming for little or no money. It seems a necessary background and the previous half dozen books were easier to read and more enjoyable. I’m halfway finished. Time to hunker down and finish it as there is valuable information therein. With gathering darkness and storms outside, what else is there to do?

It’s been a punk day for weather with me feeling under the weather. We have plenty of COVID-19 test kits, yet I’m confident that is not the problem. I’m okay with a bit of mystery. Soon enough spring will be here.

Probably time to get out William Carlos Williams and re-read Spring and All. Few things cheer me up like his writing.

Living in Society

We’re Going Home — Mike Tandy

Fallen Leaves

Timbers are falling too frequently in the forest of life. Mike Tandy died on March 31 in Davenport.

Our roots together were in high school stage crew. When we formed the band in 1973, Mike would sit in, playing bass from time to time. He was a good guy and always dependable.

I missed Mike and Jan’s 1978 wedding while I was living in Germany. I missed a lot of weddings those years. When I returned to Iowa the following year, I presented a belated wedding gift and got caught up.

Mike was a teacher. He taught Language Arts at Davenport Central High School from the day he arrived until he retired. He directed plays, coached sports, and did all the things a teacher would. More than anything, Mike was devoted to family and friends. I felt lucky to be one of them.

Mike and Jan attended our wedding. The last time I saw him was at a 2019 reunion of stage crew and band friends in Coal Valley, Ill. Like always with Mike, we had a lot to catch up on. It always felt there was not enough time to say everything we wanted. We did our best until it was time for him to be with his family. When he said he had to go, he meant it. I felt there would always be a next time.

I am thankful for our time together. Rest in peace, my friend. You were too young to be gone already.

Read Mike Tandy’s obituary here.

Living in Society

Pokey Pokey

Lake Macbride

The veins on my arms do not stand out. Ever. The clinic drew blood for my semi-annual checkup and it took two staff members four pokes to obtain a sufficient sample. I’m an adult and can stand the pokey pokey. I also know about my hiding veins.

The blood test results were posted same day on a health profile hosted by the hospital. Let’s just say I have some work to do after last winter.

My high school friend Mike Tandy died on Thursday. He was on stage crew and close friends with most of our 1970s band members. He occasionally played bass guitar. He was a teacher most of his working life. Rest in peace, buddy.

The last ten days have been relentless with deaths of people I knew well. Now that spring is here, maybe I’ll get some relief. In any case, I bookmarked the three funeral homes in my home town for easy reference.

A thunderstorm blew through Big Grove Township last night. It was severe enough for us to retreat to our safe place on the lower level. After the 2020 derecho, it was no biggie. A little hail and moderate rain fell. We lost electricity for an hour or so. When the lights and stove went out, I put away the dinner I was making and took the ingredients back out when electricity returned. I left the half-cooked brown rice on the stove and without additional heat, it turned out exceptionally well. We need to replicate that process without the loss of electricity.

I binged on poetry reading at the end of the month, finishing books by Czesław Miłosz, Alice Walker, Adrienne Rich, and James Wright. I liked each one in different ways. The fewer mass culture references in poetry, the better. None of them was clean enough for my liking. It bugged me a little that Walker repeated she was “writing poetry again.” Just show me, don’t tell me is a basic tenet of poetry.

The cleaning of an external hard drive proceeds a little each day. Unfortunately, there are unique and useful files on it, so the computer spends several hours each day with the transfer. My obsessive compulsion about saving my computer work paid off in the new finds I have made. It is a drudgery, though.

I don’t care about sports, yet last night’s win by the University of Iowa Women’s basketball team against number one ranked South Carolina was a big deal. I noticed in social media, some friends flew to Dallas for the game. We talk a lot about how divided the country has become. Yet, if one can’t get behind the success of this team, you may be the problem and need a look in the mirror.

It’s tomato and pepper planting day in Big Grove. I had better get after it.

Living in Society

We’re Going Home — Char Hawks

Autumn Blaze maple tree leaves.

Charlene Mae Vorwald Hawks, 93, died on Tuesday, March 21, 2023. During high school, after Father died, I got to know her son Tim and was a frequent visitor to their home on Grand Avenue in Davenport. I don’t remember when we started calling her Char. I have two strong memories of her.

The first was at their family home. The front door of the house opened into the living room where I was waiting for Tim. Char came in to say hello as parents of friends did in those days. As we conversed, one of her daughters came down the stairs ready to go out for the evening. Char immediately sent her back upstairs to address the hem length of her skirt, which was deemed too short to leave the house. There was resistance, then compliance. I can’t recall what Tim and I did afterward as it was anti-climactic.

The second memory is when I returned from military service in November 1979. I contacted her about her recent American Studies degree. We talked about my attending graduate school on the GI Bill. She encouraged me to pursue an American Studies degree. Based on her advice, I tracked down the graduate college dean, D.C. Spriestersbach, over the Christmas holidays when most faculty were not around. Char wrote a letter of recommendation and helped me get enrolled in the January term.

The obituary published on the funeral home website tells her story:

Charlene Mae Vorwald Hawks, 93, of Dubuque died Tuesday, March 21, 2023. Visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday, March 31 at the Egelhof, Siegert and Casper Funeral Home and Crematory, 2659 Kennedy Road. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 11 a.m. Saturday at Resurrection Catholic Church, preceded by a Eulogy at 10:45 a.m. Graveside services will be at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery, Bellevue, Iowa.

Charlene “Char” was born in Dubuque, Iowa, on Jan. 12, 1930. She was the only child of Elmer and Monica (Theisen) Vorwald. While born an only child, Char saw her cousins on both sides of her family as siblings. She spent many joyous days with them and loved them dearly.

Char earned her BA in Classical Languages from Clarke College. She continued her education while raising her children, earning her MA and PhD in American Studies from the University of Iowa.

Char married James Edward “Ed” Hawks on November 19, 1951, at Nativity Church in Dubuque. Together they shared an unparalleled love and an eternal partnership. The years were filled with raising their children, enjoying their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and traveling the country. Wherever their travels took them, Ed commented that they met a relative of Char’s.  Their best days were spent at an old stone house, lovingly called the “Rock House,” near Bellevue.  Their seven children, and their children’s spouses, are Tim (Mary Lew McCormick), Shorewood, WI, Teri (John) Goodmann, Dubuque, IA, Cathy (Tony) Topf, Wonder Lake, IL, Laura Hawks, Iowa City, IA, Susan Hawks, Sugar Grove, IL,  Carolyn (Bill) Bates, Donahue, IA,  and Lisabeth Hawks, South Elgin, IL. Char is also survived by 21 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. Char was preceded in death by her parents, Elmer and Monica Vorwald and her husband Ed Hawks.

Char was a force of nature and transferred that energy toward many different pursuits through her life. She volunteered for the March of Dimes, Girl Scouts, and the St. Paul the Apostle School Board all in Davenport, IA. Char was a proud member of Rotary International Club and was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow. After earning her advanced degrees Char worked at Augustana College (Rock Island, IL) as an adjunct professor and the Director of the Reading and Writing (Lab) Center.  At Augustana College, Char became a beloved mentor of many students.  Never one to retire, Char and Ed opened Hawk Hollow Antiques and Collectibles in Bellevue, IA and Galena, IL. In all these endeavors Char developed close, life-long friendships that brought her much joy.

Memorials may be made to Hospice of Dubuque; the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey; or Luther Manor Communities. Char never met a person, plant, or book she didn’t love. In lieu of a memorial, feel free to donate a book to a library, volunteer time to a literacy organization, plant a tree, or plant some flowers. These meet Char’s greatest wish to make the world a better place. Family, faith, and education were most important to her.  

The family wishes to thank the nurses and staff at Luther Manor Communities and Hospice of Dubuque for their loving care and generous spirit.

I made a couple of trips to the Rock House, once with Tim about the time they were installing a furnace, and another for Tim and Mary Lew’s wedding reception. It was always a time away from quotidian affairs spent with friends and family. Char Hawks has now gone home and will be missed.

Living in Society

Winding Trail Home

Walking on the Lake Macbride Trail Jan. 14, 2020.

My life in politics is winding down as I turn to long delayed tasks and projects. When I returned to politics at the end of George W. Bush’s first term, I devoted time to everything political. I won an award as an activist. Hopeful candidates continue to see, in the database that tracks such things, I donated sizable amounts to congressional candidates. None of that time and money remains for politics as I stride down the inevitable path toward life’s end. There is too much else to do.

We Iowa Democrats were beaten hard during the last few general elections. While 2010 didn’t kill us, the return of Terry Branstad as governor that year was the beginning of the end. 2022 was the end with Republicans taking all but one statewide office, all four seats in the Congress and increasing their already large majorities in the state legislature. I support what Rita Hart, Zach Wahls and Jennifer Konfrst are doing to resuscitate the Democratic body politic, yet time and money are things of which I have little extra to spare. Basic living has to come first.

Unless we nominate a corrupt, lazy bastard, I expect to vote Democratic.

A generic life expectancy table says I have plus or minus 13 more years to live. It seems like a lot of time, yet if I engage in political campaigns, the days, months, and years will fly by like songbirds migrating back to Iowa in spring.

What is all this stuff that needs doing? I don’t know… we made a list. The bigger problem is thrill is gone from politics. When you get beat down three elections in a row, it is time let go of it so the next generation can make the world they envision. William Butler Yeats summed up where we are in a 1920 verse that continues to resonate:

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst   
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.   
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out   
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert   
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,   
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,   
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it   
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.   
The darkness drops again; but now I know   
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,   
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
Home Life

Prairie Home

Selection of books by Garrison Keillor waiting disposition.

It’s time for decisions… about Garrison Keillor.

Specifically, what should I do with this pile of books? Most were purchased at thrift stores for a dollar or less. I may have purchased the poetry book new, and maybe Homegrown Democrat. I can’t recall. Keillor’s books never made an impression on me the way Saul Bellow, Joan Didion, or John Irving did. He fancied himself a modern day Mark Twain, or something. I didn’t see it. Had I read more of Keillor, it may have been different. It’s getting late to start reading him now.

These nine books have been gathering dust in a row on the bottom shelf of the right-side stacks. They have been within reach for years. I could see them from the chair I bought for a buck from L.P. “Pat” Foster at Sharpless Auctions in the early 1980s. It is my writing chair for Pete’s sake! Keillor is a writer! The collector in me amassed the Keillor volumes back when I was in a more accumulating mood.

Disposing of Keillor’s books is a practical problem. Do I expect to read them? No, not likely. Will I refer to something he wrote in my writing? Maybe, yet it is hard to imagine when the radio show made the dominant impression. Do they have sentimental value? Maybe. Are there more worthy books for retention waiting in the next room for shelf space? Yes definitely and that will be the decider.

Keillor’s allure was when A Prairie Home Companion was live on Saturday night, the signal coming through the clock radio atop the Kenmore refrigerator in our Midwestern home. I did things in the kitchen and listened. In important ways, his show made Saturday nights for a long time. I miss them. Will I miss the stack of books? If I would miss them, I might have picked one of them up over the last ten years.

I remember when he signed off the air in 1987. It felt momentous. Our two-year old child wanted to go for a walk in the neighborhood at the same time. No regrets about going with her instead of hearing Keillor live. We all must make choices.

I rigged my cassette recorder to capture the last show while we were gone. When we returned from our walk, I discovered the tape had run out before the show ended. Keillor never went over, except this time. I was able to re-record it on Sunday when it aired on a different radio station that broadcast from the Quad Cities.

We now know Denmark didn’t work out, nor did his then new marriage. He came back to radio. There were other problems, they said. I’m not sure what happened, or in what order. I didn’t pay much attention to his personal life. The star of the show was always the yarns he spun. It felt like it would never end.

In a June 16, 2016 New York Times article aligning with his second departure from the radio program, Cara Buckley wrote, “Everything about “Prairie Home” — the Guy Noir and Lives of the Cowboys sketches, the spots for Powdermilk Biscuits and the Ketchup Advisory Board, the monologues about the fictional Lake Wobegon — sprang from Mr. Keillor’s imagination. But the man spinning the plates at the center of it all managed to stay a mystery, even to people who know him well.”

These days, I’m spinning my own plates. To use a more local metaphor, I don’t have enough time to card my own wool, and spin my own yarn to make a sweater. Plate-spinners have gone out of fashion.

I wish I could have one of those Saturday nights back. Like the one I shared with our child in Colorado Springs in their first apartment there. We went to the grocer together, prepared dinner, and talked to each other with the sounds of a Prairie Home Companion in the background. Those were golden times whose embrace is fleeting.

I will figure it out. These septuagenarian days are also fleeting. In the universe of things to do with used books, these will likely go to the public library’s used book sale. I may have bought some of them there. It seems likely they will find readers in our community, even if I can’t find the time in our prairie home to be one of them.

Living in Society

The Great Shuffle

Filled Bankers Boxes.

The back seat of the Chevy Spark is loaded with boxes of books to be donated to Goodwill. Between this load and the previous two, I downsized by about 500 books. It doesn’t look like I made a bit of progress.

The goal is to reduce the library so it fits in my writing room, which holds about 2,000 books. Remaining books should be linked to some actual or potential writing project. I’m done keeping books because I might refer to them later. As I look at each book, this is a litmus test: am I going to read or use it now, or not. There is a long way to go to reduce the quantity to fit the space.

It snowed overnight and the ground is covered. It should melt during the next couple of days, yet today will be indoors work. I’m ready for spring.

The house is getting crowded with vegetable and flower seedlings. I finished with early planting yesterday. Next week I tackle tomatoes, peppers, arugula, and lettuce. Once there is a warm, clear day, I’ll move the mulch and set up the portable greenhouse so all the seedlings can move there. With the cold, wintry mix weather, I haven’t felt like outdoors work.

I drafted an obituary for my high school friend‘s widow this morning. It is difficult to compress 71 years of life into 500 words. This is especially true for a physician who has had countless contacts with people in the community, and lived a full life. An obituary still serves as a public notice of death and is important.

Facts need research before going to publication. In several ways, the obituary is a last chance to get things right. We owe getting it right to the deceased, and to the survivors. I tend to be less specific if I don’t know something with certainty. Thus far, no one has complained I left anything out.

I finished my 19th book of the year and need to browse the stacks for the twentieth. Lucky for me, there are still plenty of options.

Living in Society

We’re Going Home — Joe Garrity

Fallen Leaves

Tracking down remaining folks from our cohort in the old neighborhood was possible. Joe Garrity died Wednesday night and his grade school classmates at Saint Vincent’s deserved to hear the news. That neighborhood no longer exists in the real world, yet I found most of them.

Joe was born the day before I was on Dec. 27, 1951. He lived with his father after his mother died in an automobile crash. Saint Vincent’s, where since 1895 the Catholic Church had cared for children as an orphanage and school, was not far from where they lived.

I met Joe in high school in 1966. We remained friends until near the end when Parkinson’s Disease had his spouse writing his letters and emails. He would occasionally sign a holiday card. We corresponded by mail, and later, email after we both left Davenport in 1970 for university.

I would sleep over at his house when his father was on the road as a truck driver for The Rock Island Lines. In one of my first cooking experiences, Joe and I would make pizza using a Chef Boyardee boxed pizza kit. They had a big house and we had it all to ourselves. The pizza was good.

I referred Joe to the Turn-Style department store where I worked in high school. He started work and didn’t last long. I remember him wearing the vest that made a uniform for us as we worked the sales floor.

We were both in the National Honor Society. A group of us high achievers formed an inter-mural basketball team. We had a high grade point average yet weren’t very good at basketball. We also recruited the only Hispanic in our class to join our team. He later showed us around the LULAC club in West Davenport.

After graduation, Joe went to Georgetown for his undergraduate studies. A group of us from high school visited him and another fellow classmate at Georgetown over the Thanksgiving weekend during our freshman year. He graduated and returned to Iowa to attend medical school, receiving his MD in 1978. When orthopedics didn’t work out for him after an initial period in the program, he became an emergency room physician. We lived together in University Heights while I finished graduate school and he commuted to Dubuque and other workplaces.

While I lived in Mainz, Germany, Joe and his brother Bill made a brief stop on a European tour. Bill lived in Washington, D.C. and attended many cultural events there. He wanted to see an opera at the Mainz Opera House. I got us tickets to Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca. After a long day at work we had dinner at a Yugoslavian restaurant near the opera house. I made it through most of the story. Then… just as Tosca was dramatically preparing to jump from the parapet to her death… I fell asleep. When we visited a jazz club the following day, Bill fell asleep on his bar stool and fell. We were all very tired.

The last few years have been tough for Joe with recovery from a fall, surgery, and fractures, in addition to Parkinson’s Disease. At the end, the coronavirus invaded the household and Joe didn’t survive.

There are only so many friends of more than 50 years. Joe Garrity will be missed.

UPDATE: I helped Bonnie write the following obituary, which was distributed graveside:

Joseph G. Garrity, 71, of Dubuque, died on March 22, 2023. He was interred at Casper Creek Natural Cemetery near Galena, Ill.

Garrity was born on Dec. 27, 1951, of Eileen Honore Quinn and Harry Patrick Garrity, in Davenport. He grew up there, attending St. Vincent’s Catholic School and Assumption High School. In 1970, he entered Georgetown University, where he earned his undergraduate science degree. Returning to Iowa, he earned his Doctor of Medicine at the University of Iowa in 1978.

Joe Garrity practiced medicine as an emergency room physician in Evansville, Indiana, and in Dubuque, later working at Medical Associates’ Acute Care clinic and Occupational Medicine for 30 years. He was a 36-year resident of Galena. Toward the end of his life, he and Bonnie split their time between Galena and Washington, D.C., eventually moving to Dubuque.

He married Bonnie Lamar on February 14, 1987, in Galena. His life’s passions were art, exploring the world, and trekking in the foothills of the Himalayas. He especially enjoyed his treks to the base camps of Mt. Everest, K-2, Mt. Elbrus in Russia, and to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Joe Garrity is survived by his wife Bonnie Garrity, by his brother Michael Garrity (Diane) in Dubuque, sister Nancy Waack (Jim) in Rutledge, Missouri, and ten nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers William and Harry, and nephews Michael and Gregory Waack.

Memorial contributions made be made to:
Casper Creek Natural Cemetery
P. O. Box 195
Elizabeth, Illinois 61028

Joe’s expanded obituary appeared on April 19, 2023 in the Galena Illinois Gazette here.