2 Men You Should Know

Two funerals held Saturday honored a pair of men you’ve probably never heard of in your travels. What you missed out on, was the opportunity to know these great men.

The two, not related, other than in my travels, died this week.

Elden Allen Reisetter. Photo from Ankeny Funeral Home.

Elden Reisetter died Maundy Thursday in Des Moines. It marked almost a year since we last saw Elden full-time at Holy Trinity Lutheran in Ankeny. Elden had been a member for 26 years. He participated in Bible study, read scriptures and sang in the choir.

Pastor Rick Biedermann added in an email to the congregation this week, “We give thanks for the promise of new life given to Elden Reisetter.”

Choir is where I got to know Elden. That was fun.

Elden was a tenor. A good one in his day and beyond. A talented musician, Elden taught band for years. This included stops in Dumont, Garner and Johnston. I’m not shy about my Wartburg College degree and somehow Wartburg came up one night and Elden said he went there, too. This came after growing up in Allison.

Elden had perfect pitch and loved to sing. He was a man who loved to sing barbershop. Some of his barbershop friends sang at his funeral.

As tenor section leader Scott Kirstein said today, “Godspeed, Elden. Save us some room in the choir loft.”

The full obituary for Eldon is here. I’ll post the full text below.

Harold "Hoop" Timmons. Image from Coburn Funeral Homes

The second one you may not enjoy unless you enjoy small town life. This is the story about a guy known simply by one name. If you grew up in Prairie City, everyone knew Hoop.

Harold “Hoop” Timmons spent years working at the Prairie City Co-Op. But it was a book that vaulted Hoop from local hero to world-wide literary audience.
Prairie City, Iowa: Three Seasons at Home, By Douglas Bauer gave the world the story of ‘Hoop’ Timmons.

Prairie City, Iowa

Bauer returned home to Prairie City in the 1970s to write a book about where he grew up. Bauer was able to re-connect with a childhood idol, Timmons, writing about Hoop’s job at the Co-Op, his softball playing skills and the legend that was Hoop. You can read some of the book here. The book was published by the University of Iowa Press. The book was re-released in 2008 with a new cover and gave a new generation the story of Prairie City.

I meet Hoop as a kid while visiting my grandfather Harry Wassenaar on the farm my mother grew up on just south of Prairie City. Mom’s brother Gordon Wassenaar still farms that land. It was Gordon who showed me the light of being a St. Louis Cardinal fan. Gordon also is the holder of my Iowa Cubs season tickets. One of Gordon’s seatmates was Hoop’s brother, Gary.

Part of Friday’s game was spent passing around Hoop’s obit to the guys in Section 10. Hoop would occasionally sit with us and it was always fun to bend his ear or hear him talk about his grandkids and their sporting activities.

Hoop’s obit is here.

Harold D. Timmons

Harold D. “Hoop” Timmons, age 82 of Prairie City, died Tuesday, April 6, 2010, at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. at the Prairie City Church of the Brethren, with burial following at Waveland Cemetery. Visitation will be held on Friday, April 9, 2010, from 2:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Coburn Funeral Home in Prairie City. The family will greet friends from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the John Stoddard Cancer Center or the Prairie City Church of the Brethren and condolences may be left for the family at http://www.coburnfuneralhomes.com.
The son of Gail H. and Myrtle (Dykstra) Timmons, Harold was born on September 14, 1927, in Prairie City. He graduated from Prairie City High School in 1945. Harold served in the United States Army during the Korean Conflict. On June 23, 1962, he was united in marriage to Virginia Mullins. He worked at the Farmers Coop for over 30 years. Following his retirement, he worked at Prairie Meadows. Harold was a member of the Prairie City Church of the Brethren. He was an avid baseball fan, especially the Cubs, and played on the local softball team in his younger years. Harold also enjoyed dancing and gardening.
Those left to honor his memory, Virginia, his wife of 47 years; a daughter, Diane (Steve) Zimmerman of Topeka, Kansas, sons Dean (Molly) Timmons and Dwight Timmons both of Prairie City; five grandchildren, Angela (Scott) Ludwig, Jared Zimmerman, Amy Zimmerman, Kurtis and Keith Timmons; three great grandchildren, Dominic and Acacia Gering and Adley Ludwig; a brother, Gary (Donna) Timmons of Prairie City and a sister in law, Elvie Timmons of Des Moines. Preceding him in death were his parents, a brother, Max in 2002, a grandson, Kyle in 1992, and a great granddaughter, Adysen in 2008.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the John Stoddard Cancer Center or the Prairie City Church of the Brethren

Visitation will be held on Friday, April 9, 2010, from 2:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Coburn Funeral Home in Prairie City. The family will greet friends from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. at the Prairie City Church of the Brethren

Waveland Cemetery

And here is Elden’s full obituary.

Elden Allen Reisetter

Elden Allen Reisetter, 79, of Des Moines, passed peacefully at the Veteran’s Administration Living Center on Thursday, April 1st, 2010.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 AM on Saturday, April 10th at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 517 Southwest Des Moines Street in Ankeny. Burial will be at the Greenwood Cemetery in rural Ellsworth, IA at 1:30 PM. Visitation will be 6 to 8 PM on Friday, April 9th at Ankeny Funeral Home.
Elden was born in Hampton, IA on March 31, 1931, baptized and confirmed in Allison’s St. James Lutheran Church. He graduated from Allison High School and received a Bachelor’s Degree in music from Wartburg College and a Master’s Degree in music from the University of Iowa.
Following his service with the United States Army Band, he taught instrumental music in Iowa’s Dumont, Garner, and Johnston schools.
As an active member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church for 26 years, Elden sang baritone in the choir, participated in bible study and read scriptures at Sunday services. He also donated time with the Gideons of Iowa.
An enthusiastic performer, he was recognized for more than 50 years of entertaining audiences with the River City and Pride of Iowa Barbershop Choruses. He also kept the rhythm alive playing string bass in numerous bands, most recently the Johnston Station Jazz Band.
Constantly in motion, he ran the Iowa Classic Dam to Dam 20k 15 times, finished the Des Moines marathon in 4:19:00 (in pouring rain), achieved a first degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do at age 72, and followed that with an international pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
When not lacing his running, bowling or golfing shoes, he could be found gracing the parquet of famous dance halls like the Lake Robbins Ballroom. Elden also enjoyed his heritage; tracing both sides of his family tree and frequently attending annual Reisetter reunions.
Although his activities were many, he always offered a hand to those in need – be it an escort to the doctor, a trip to the store or just a friendly chat. His sense of humor, ever present grin and joy of spirit was infectious. He will be greatly missed by all those whose lives he enriched.
A special thank you to those who, in his last months, made his life richer with care and friendship; from all the staff at the VA Hospital and CLC, his friends in faith at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and especially his angelic neighbors.
Elden is preceded in death by his parents Edward and Anna. Those celebrating his memory include his son, Erik (Susan), of Newport, MN, and his daughter, Gretchen, of Golden Valley, MN; their mother, Nancy, of Golden Valley; his sister, Carrie Ann (Reverend Ervin Langholz of Sun City, AZ); his nephews, David (Melissa) Langholz of Walker, MI; John (Karen) Langholz of Bann, Germany; Paul (Laurel) Langholz of Cedar Rapids, IA; and Mark (Lori) Langholz of Grafton, WI; as well as many more relatives and friends.
As a memorial, all flowers will be shared with the veterans and staff of the VA Hospital in Des Moines.


  1. I knew Hoop Timmons – great guy and he really was an inspiration. He always had comments on high school baseball games especially when his grandson was playing. I do miss him……one of the best men I have met in my 25 years in Prairie City. First learned of him when I read the book.

    • Hoop was an original. I’m glad to be in the club that got to know him and hope this post can help others get to know him now that he’s in a better place. Thanks for the comment Dan.

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