Donwen Family

Text typing thanks to Maureen Donwen.

Emma Marie (Brustkern) Donwen

Mrs. Emma Marie Donwen, 52 of 1655 Fifth street, Gering, died Wednesday morning in a Scottsbluff hospital following a short illness.

Mrs. Donwen was born Sept 2, 1899, in Waterloo, Ia. She married Nick F. Donwen, who survives in Waterloo, Ia, June 4 1918.

Mrs. Donwen and her family had lived in the Scottsbluff, Gering, area since 1942. She was a member of the St. Mary’s Study Club and was of the Catholic faith.

Other survivors include two daughters, Mrs. Milton Blankenburg of Lakefield Minn., and Julie Ann Donwen at home’; two sons, Robert, Dennis and Thomas all of Gering; three brothers nick and w m Brustkern of Waterloo Ia and Peter Brustkern of  Gilbertville Ia, one sister , Mrs. J. H. Schmitz of Jackson, Minn., and two grandchildren.

Funeral service are set for 9 am Saturday from St Agnes Catholic church with Father T. Molony officiating. Burial will be in Gering’s West Lawn cemetery.

A Rosary will be recited at 8 p.m. both Thursday and Friday at Knight-Dennis Funeral

Scottsbluff Daily Star-Herald September 13, 1951


John Peter Donwen

Rites Friday for John P Donwen

After being in failing health for abut six years. John P. Donwen, 68, died Monday evening at the Halloran Hospital.  He suffered a stroke about two months ago and never fully recovered.

Requiem mass will be  held Friday at 9:30 a.m. at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church with Father A. E. Kuisle officiating, and burial will be made in the church cemetery. Six nephews will be pall bearers.

Mr. Donwen was born in Cabery, ill., March 25 1886, the son of John and Mary Donwen, he came to Jackson in 1912 and on Jan. 29, 1913, was married at Cabery to Clara Boesen.

Mr. Donwen farmed near Jackson and was a member of the board of supervisors of Enterprise township for 27 years.

Survivors are a daughter, Mrs. Larry Miller of Tracy, Minn., two grandchildren, Anita Miller and James Miller both of Tracy, six brothers and sister, Mrs. Louis Soucek (Gertrude) of Minneapolis, Nicholas Donwen of Scotts Bluff, Neb., William Donwen, Mrs. Oscar Verdick (Elizabeth) and Mrs. Albert Blizek, (Susan), all of Jackson and Mrs. Reuel Kolander (Magdalen) of Faribault.


Clara K (Boesen) Donwen

Jackson – Service for Mrs. Clara K. (Boesen) Donwen, 84, of Littleton, Colo. and formerly of Jackson will be at 10 a.m., Wednesday. The Rosary will be recited at the Leach Funeral Home in Jackson, with burial in the Good Shepherd Cemetery.

Mrs. Donwen died June 1, in San Jose, Calif. while visiting friends.

Mrs. Donwen was born June 24, 1888 at Cabery Ill. She married John Donwen there in 1916.  The couple moved to the Jackson area after their marriage and farmed there until Mr. Donwen died 18 years ago.

Survivors include one daughter,  Mrs. Dorothy Miller of Littleton, two grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Friends may call at the funeral home, beginning 7 p.m. Tuesday.

William Edward Donwen


William Donwen interred July 2
Funeral services for William Edward Donwen, 82, were held from Good Shepherd Catholic Church on Friday. (July 2), at 10:30 a.m. with the Rev. Richard Riordan officiating.

Pallbearers were Edward Eckert, Howard Vetter, Edwin Voda, Lois Voda, Ivan Soucek, and John Blizek, all nephews of the deceased. Burial was in the church cemetery with Sathe and Son Funeral Home in charge of the arrangements.
Mary Matuska was organist and the Catholic Ladies group sang.  Mr. and Mrs. Richard Earhart were lectors.

Mr. Donwen died June 29 in Rochester after and illness of three weeks, from old age complications.

Born May 5, 1894 in Cabery, Ill., to John and Mary Schmidt Donwen, he attended country school near Cabery.  He moved to Jackson in the early 1900’s and on June 7, 1921 was married to Augusta Dostal. Mr. Donwen was engaged in bulk petroleum sales and service; a member of the Good Shepherd Catholic church, and belonged to the Foresters Lodge.

Survivors are his wife Augusta, two daughters: Mrs. Rudy (Edith) Rieder, La Canada Ca., and Mrs. Ron (Sally) Cunningham of Dallas, Texas.  Two sons: Bill of Dallas, Texas and Jon of Cincinnati, Ohio; eleven grandchildren; three sisters and one brother.


Augusta Donwen, 93




Funeral services for Augusta  "Gussie" Donwen of Jackson were July 19 at the Church of the Good Shepherd with Father Rick Colletti and Father Urban Neudecker officiating. Augusta Donwen died July 15, 1994  at the Jackson Municipal Hospital. Burial was in the Good Shepherd Cemetery at Jackson. Casket bearers were Alex Donwen, Leland ,James, Raiph Demehl,  Jobn Eckert. ~Harry Miller and Howard Vetter. Organist was Feme Jones with congregational hymns. Gift bearers were Joyce Vetter and Abbie' Earhart. Sathe & Son Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. Augusta "Gussie" Donwen was born Aug, 28, 1900, in Des Moines Township, Jackson County, to Leo J. and Anna  (Kloyda)  Dostal. She attended country school in Des Moines Township and the Jackson Public Schools. On June 7, 1921,she was married to William E. Donwen at Jackson. After the couple's ma1Tiage, they made their home at Jackson; and following her husband's death on June 29, 1976, Mrs. Donwen continued to live in Jackson.

She was a homemaker and a member of the Church of the Good Shepherd at Jackson. Survivors include two daughters, Edythe and husband Ralph Derbebl of Las Vegas, Nev., and Sally and husband Ron Cunningham of Albuquerque, N.M.; and two sons, Bill and wife Bonnie Donwen of Dallas, Texas, and Jon and wife Renee Donwen of Clarksville, Ga.; along with 13 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Also surviving is a sister, Mrs. Adeline Voda of Mankato. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, and one sister.



Magdalene Josephine (Donwen) Kolander

Mrs. Magdalene Kolander
Jackson – Funeral services were held here Tuesday from Church of the Good Shepherd for Mrs. Madgalene Kolander, 66 who died Saturday at the local hospital.  The Rev. Paul Evers officiated. Burial was in the parish cemetery.

Mrs. Kolander was born Feb. 25, 1905, at Cabery, Ill., the daughter of John and Mary Donwen, coming to Jackson in 1912 and attending the local schools.

She had been employed as a saleslady in a local store and was a member of the VFW Auxiliary and her church’s Alter Society.

She is survived by two brothers, William, Jackson, and Nick Donwen, Tulare, Calif,. And three sisters, Mrs. Elizabeth Verdick and Mrs. Albert Blizek, Jackson, and Mrs. Louis Soucek, Minneapolis.
She was preceded in death by her husband, and by one son, James, at the age of eight years.
Relatives attend Kolander funeral

A large number of relatives attended the Magdalen Kolander funeral Tuesday at the Church of the Good Shepherd.

They include: Mrs. Jon Soucek, Minneapolis; Mrs. Lois Soucek, Lakeville; Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Soucek, Jill and Joanie and Tom McGowan, Bloomington; Mrs. George Buck and Roger, Richfield; Mrs. George Senkyr, New Prague; and Mr. and Mrs. Roland Benson, Mitchell, S.D.


Susan Anastasia (Donwen) Blizek 

Jackson – Service for Mrs. Albert (Susan) Blizek, 76, of Jackson will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Church of Good Shepherd with burial in the church cemetery.

Mrs. Blizek died Tuesday as St. Marys Hospital in Rochester. Visitation will be after 3 p.m. Friday at Thurmer-Leach Funeral Home of Jackson with a rosary service at 7.30 p.m. 

Susan Donwen was born April 15, 1903, at Cabery, Ill., and married Albert Blizek Aug. 21, 1923, at Jackson. She was a member of the ladies auxiliary and the Altar Society.

Survivors include her husband; son, John of Prior Lake; three grandchildren; two great grandchildren; brother Nick Donwen of Ventura, Calif,; sisters Gertrude Soucek of Minneapolis, Elizabeth Verdick of Jackson.

Mrs. Al Blizek, 76

Funeral services for Mrs. Al (Susan) Blizek, 76, of Jackson were held Saturday (Feb. 16) from Good Shepherd Church in Jackson with Father Richard Riordian officiating.

Music was furnished by Mary Matuska and Alice Senesac. Interment was at Good Shepherd Cemetery in Jackson with Raleigh Benson, Ivan Soucek, Bud Verdick, Carl Larson, John David Blizek and Clair Gilmore, as pallbearers.  Mick Zebedee served as Lector, and David and Mark Macek as altar boys.  John Cirhan and Ed Eckert ushered.  Thurmer-Leach Funeral Home of Jackson was in charge of arrangements.

Mrs. Blizek died Tuesday (Feb. 12) at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester

Susan Anastasia, daughter of John and Mary Donwen was born April 15, 1903, at Cabery, Ill.  She attended school in Cabery, Ill., and in Jackson, moving to the Jackson area with her family at the age of 10.  On August 21, 1923, she was married to Albert Blizek at the St. Wenceslaus Church in Jackson.  She was a member of the Good Shepherd Church and Altar Society and a member of the Ladies Auxiliary.
Survivors include her husband, Al; one son, John Blizek of Prior Lake; three grandchildren and two great grandchildren; one brother, Nick Donwen of Ventura, Ca., and two sisters, Gertrude Soucek of Minneapolis and Elizabeth Verdick of Jackson.

Preceding her in death were one son, Donald; one daughter, Laura Jean McGuigan, and three brothers, John Albert and William; and five sisters, Mrs. Anna Weisenhofer, Mrs. Katherine Bergan, Mrs. Mary Soucek, Mrs. Caroline Benson and Mrs. Magdalene Kolander


Albert Blizek, 80

Albert C. Blizek died at the Good Samaritan Home on Nov. 22. He was 80 years old.  Blizek was a resident of the home.

Funeral services were held Nov. 26 at good Shepherd Church. Father Richard Riordan officiated.  Mary Matuska was organist.  Interment was in Good Shepherd Cemetery.

Pall bearers were Clair Gilmore, John Eckert, Phil Knave, Roger Meter, Fred This and Carl Larson.  Lector was William Charger.  Arrangements were by Thrummed Funeral Home.

He was born Feb. 21, 1902 in Jackson to Albert and Mary Blizek.  He attended school in Cadet, WIC., before moving to Jackson as a teenager.  He attended Lees Barber School in St. Paul in 1920. 

He was married Aug. 21 1923 at St Wenceslaus in Jackson to Susan Donwen.  She died Feb. 12, 1980.  They are survived by one son, John Blizek, Prior Lake, and six grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

He is also survived by two sisters: Mrs. (Laureate) Daniel son of Faribault and Anna Blizek of Wilier.

He was preceded in death by his wife, parents, one son, Donald in childhood; one daughter, Laura Jean McGuigan, two brothers, Frank ;and Joe and one sister Marion Retie.

Elizabeth Theresa (Donwen) Verdick

Elizabeth T. Verdick, 90
A funeral service for Elizabeth T. Verdick, formerly of Jackson, was held March 13, 1989, at the Church of the God Shepherd in Jackson with Revs. Urban Neudecker and Jerome Verdick officiating.  Mrs. Verdick passed away March 9, 1989, at the Methodist Hospital in Rochester.

Pallbearers were Jay Verdick, Jim Hating, Pat Callahan, Bob Sturm, Tom Hassing and Tom Hagmann. Gift bearers were Mary Ann Soucek and Roland Benson.  The lector was Carol Pivo. Ushers were Clair Glimore and Bill Verdick. The organist was Mary Matuska and soloist, Cissa Tusa.

Mrs. Verdick was born May 20, 1898, to John and Mary-Anna (Schmitt) Donwen in Cabery, Illinois. She attended school there and in Wisconsin Township, Jackson County. On Feb. 20, 1920, she married Oscar E. Verdick at Jackson.  The couple farmed in Wisconsin Township.  Mr. Verdick passed away in 1964 and in 1965, she moved to Jackson.  She moved to Rochester in February 1987.  She was a member of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Jackson and a member of the Altar Society.  She was a member of the Jackson American Legion and VFW Auxiliaries. She was a homemaker.

She is survived by three daughters, Mrs. Lee (Evonne) Webster of Rochester; Mrs. Bill (Trudy) Callahan of Bloomington; and Joyce Hassing of Omaha, Neb.; one son, Bud of Rochester; 13 grandchildren; 9 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, four bothers and seven sisters.

John Donwen


Death Summons Beloved Pioneer Citizen Thursday

John Donwen Passed Away at Highland Park Home After Several Months of Illness
Funeral Services were Held Monday Morning

Highly Esteemed by Many  Admiring Friends: Will be Missed Among His Neighbours

Seldom has a death occurred in Jackson that created more universal sorrow than when the news that John Donwen had  passed away at the Donwen family residence, 208 Emily Street, Thursday, May 1, following several months of declining health, largely caused by his advanced age.

Mr. Donwen was a gentleman widely known for his pleasing personality and splendid citizenship, in fact it was an honour to enjoy his acquaintance an share in the goodwill he contributed to the community in which for many years he had been a leading citizen.  Not only was Mr. Donwen active in church circles, but he also was always ready and willing to assist in any worthy cause that had for it’s purpose the making of Jackson a better and more progressive city.

For many years the Donwen family resided in the Wisconsin township community where Mr. Donwen was engaged in farming, but in 1920 he decided to retire from the farm and when the Donwen's purchased the beautiful home in Highland Park where they have since resided and where they were beloved by their neighbours and friends, in fact to have know the Donwens and to have been privileged to be their friends was indeed a distinctive honour. 

Probably one of the happiest of epochs enjoyed in the long and busy lives of Mr. and Mrs. Donwen, was the privilege on January 12, 1934, of celebrating the anniversary of their golden wedding and when their children and neighbours joined with them in a day of real celebration, indeed, a pleasant memory that will long be treasured by their children in the future years. 

John Donwen was born at Wincheringen, Prussia, Germany, October 6, 1855, immigrating to American in 1882, when he settled at Cabery, Illinois, and where on January 12, 1884, he was united in marriage to Miss Mary Schmidt.  They made their home on a farm near Cabery until 1912when they came to Jackson County.  The union of Mr. and Mrs. Donwen was blessed with the birth of twelve children, eighth of which, together with Mrs. Donwen, survive a kind husband and indulgent father. The children are John Donwen, Nick Done, William Donwen, Mrs. Albert Blizek, Mrs. Joseph Maras of Jackson; Mrs. Louis Soucek of Minneapolis; Mrs. S. Weisenhofer of Hastings, Michigan; and Mrs. O. E. Verdick of Alpha.  Three daughters and one son preceded their father in death.

Funeral services were held from the home Monday morning at 8.30 and from the St. Wenceslaus’ Catholic church of which the deceased was a devout member, at 9 o’clock, with Rev. Father Felton officiating, and at which time many beautiful floral tributes were in evidence as testimony of the high standing in which Mr. Donwen was held by his many neighbours and friends.  Pallbearers were George Bender, Frank Fiala, Ray Lockner, Peter Verdick, Laurence Lansing and Louis Dostal.  Burial was held in the family lot in the Catholic Cemetery. 

Out of town relatives and friends attending the service were Mrs. James Hagerty, Harvey, Illinois William Schafroth, Kankakee, Illinois’ James Bergan, Mr. and Mrs. John Bergan and two sons, Ashkum, Illinois; Mr. and Mrs. Max Gatettenbauer, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Schmidt, Rock Island, Illinois’ Mr. and Mrs. Mat Boeson, Theodore Boeson, Des Moines, Iowa; Edith Donwen, Winona; Evonne Verdick, Rochester; Mr. and Mrs. Louis Soucek, Gertrude and Jerome, Minneapolis.

Mary Ann (Schmidt) Donwen


Mrs. John Donwen Laid to Rest Last Friday Morning

Large Congregation of Friends Present to Pay Final Tribute to a Splendid Citizen and Mother

Final tribute of love and respect was paid to the memory of Mrs. John Donwen at funeral services held from the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Donwen, and from St, Wenceslaus’ Catholic church last Friday morning, the services at the church were at 9.30 o’clock with rev. Father F. J. Felten, the pastor, presiding.

The passing of Mrs. Donwen, while expected because of advanced age, nevertheless came as a great shock to her family and many friends for the reason that Mrs. Donwen was held in high esteem by all who enjoyed her rich acquaintance.  Her home life was ideal, and her service to both church and friends was an accomplishment of a Christian and well lived life.  A life consecrated to making the world better and other people more happy. 

Mrs. Donwen was born in Garburg, Germany, July 12 1860.  After coming to America her family settled in Chicago, where on January 12 1884, she was united in marriage to John Donwen. The Donwens resided on a farm in Martin county until they came to Jackson county where they resided on a farm in Wisconsin township. In 1920 they retired from the farm and came to Jackson where they purchased the beautiful Donwen home on Highland Park, where they resided until Mr. Donwen’s death in May, 1941.

A festivity in the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Donwen is remember when they were privileged to celebrate there golden wedding anniversary January 12, 1934, at which time they were surrounded by their excellent family of boys and girls, the celebration making one of the happiest epochs in their well lived lives.

Twelve children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Donwen, her husband, three daughters and one son preceding her in death.  The surviving children are John P Donwen, William Donwen, Mrs. Albert Blizek, Mrs. Magdalen Maras of the Jackson vicinity; Mrs. Oscar Verdick of Alpha;  Mrs. Louis Soucek of Minneapolis; Nick Donwen of Scottsbluff, Nebraska; Mrs. L. Weisenhofer of Hastings, Michigan.  Mrs. Weisenhofer and her son, Nick, were unable to attend the funeral services. Mrs. Donwen also leaves to mourn her demise 38 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren. Mrs. Donwen was also one of the few gold star mothers of Jackson county, and was an ardent member of the Catholic Alter Society.

Out of town relatives attending the funeral were Corporal Albert Blizek of Duluth; Mr. and Mrs. James Hagerty of Harvey, Illinois; Mrs. Edith Donwen of Chicago; Mrs. Lois Soucek of Minneapolis; Miss Evonne Verdick of Rochester and Joseph Blizek of Albert Lea.

Pall bearers were Frank Fiala, P.C. Vedick, Ray Lockner, George Benda, Frank Besdicek and Frank Matuska, Jr. Burial amid many beautiful  floral offerings was held in the Donwen family lot in the Catholic cemetery.


Bernice (Jacob) Bergan 1997

DWIGHT - Bernice A. Bergan, 78, of Dwight, died Tuesday (Aug. 12, 1997) at St. Mary's Hospital in Streator. 

Visitation will be from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, with a Rosary at 7:30 p.m., and from 9-9:45 a.m. Friday, at Von Qualen-Harris Funeral Home, Dwight. A funeral Mass will be celebrated by the Rev. James Rickey at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Dwight, where she was a member. Burial will be in St. Joseph Cemetery, Cabery. Memorials may be made to her church.

She was born Aug. 25, 1918 in Cabery, the daughter of Nicholas and Emma Biskey Jacob. She attended Cabery country schools and was a high school graduate. Her husband, James E. Bergan, whom she married June 8, 1940 in Cabery, is deceased. 

Mrs. Bergan was a dietitian at Kempton Grade School; a volunteer at St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Store; and farmed for 40 years on the family farm. She was a member of the Senior Citizens of Dwight and Cabery, the Altar and Rosary society at her church and a retired
member of Rogers Township Home Bureau.

Surviving are one daughter and son-in-law, Nancy and Michael Louis of Dwight; two brothers, Francis Jacob of Kankakee and Paul Jacob of Cabery; four grandchildren, Jeffrey and James Lovell and Michelle Louis, all of Dwight, and Andrew Louis of San Diego, Calif.; and two great- grandchildren. Deceased are three brothers and one sister.


Mary (Bergan) Suchak 1999

CLIFTON - Mary Ellen Bergan Hagarty Suchak, 88, of Clifton, died Friday (Aug. 6, 1999) in Clifton.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday at Merkle Knipprath Nursing Home Chapel, Clifton (one mile east of I-57). There will be a short visitation prior to the Mass.
Burial will be in St. Joseph Cemetery, Cabery. Blake-Lamb Funeral Home, Oak Lawn, was in charge of arrangements.

She was born Jan. 22, 1911 in Milks Grove.

Mrs. Suchak was self-employed in the dry cleaners/laundry business.

Surviving are one sister-in-law, Anna Elizabeth Bergan of Cabery; three nieces, Sue Ann Fraher of Oak Lawn, Sally Myers and Nancy Louis of Dwight; and two nephews, James G. Bergan of Australia and Michael Bergan of Elgin.



John Francis Bergan 1988


John Francis Bergan was born January 20th, 1915. He was the son of James E. Bergan and Catherine Donwen Bergan. He was born in his home in Milks Grove, IL - now Clifton , IL. His mother died when he was 4 years old (Following complications of childbirth). His sister, Mary Ellen was 6 at the time. The new baby was raised by his dad's brother, Jerry and wife Winnie. The three of them stayed on the farm and in 1917, his dad bought the present Bergan Farms. There were two houses on the property at that time and the hired man and his family lived in one, with his wife helping Grampa with the care of the children. They lived there until John was in fourth grade. During this time , their dad dated a woman with the intention of marrying her, but she was quickly gone when she talked of putting the children in a boarding school. While in Kankakee, they lived with their grandparents, (John and Mary Bergan) and he attended St.Patrick grade school. After two years, they moved to Harvey, Il where he attended Ascension Grade School and then graduated from Thorton High  School. They lived in a two-flat and the girl next door was Elizabeth Modschiedler. He married her at Ascension Church on April 15th, 1937. They moved to the Gardner farm (with no electricity or running water) and he began farming..A son James Garth was born to them on April 4th, 1938.After a year they moved to Windy Hill and farmed there for three years. (Chickens had been raised in this one.) Another son, John Anton  "Jack" was born August 9th, 1939. They then moved to the farm were he was to live and farm most of his life. ( Electicity and eventually running water.) His father lived with him until he died May 3, 1957. 

A sweet daughter, Sue Ann was born October 1st, 1942 and another one, Sally Katherine on April 6, 1945. On Aril 14, 1952, Michael Raymond arrived two months late. Mom had all of the kids in a Harvey hospital ( she stayed at her mother's, Anna Modschiedler) and as she was due the end of February, she had gone there the middle of the month. Dad and Grampa took care of the 4 kids for 2 months.