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Robert Loren England was born November 11, 1928 to Lloyd and Evelyn (Smith) England. He was the oldest of six siblings - Doris, Jim, Myrna, Larry, and Bill. Robert attended school in Tingley, graduating with the class of 1946. His dad bought a 1928 Model A Ford and the oldest was the designated bus driver for himself and his siblings. Robert enjoyed playing basketball in high school and later reminisced about his teammates, many of whom were lifelong neighbors. Following graduation Robert tried to show his moves on a Saturday night at the Mt. Ayr Skating Rink and tripped over Janie Richards breaking his leg. The following Monday he was driving a truck using a spade handle to push in the clutch as his clutch leg was casted. Robert’s ingenuity allowed him many years of trucking – livestock, grain, coal, gravel and many loads of dirt.
Robert enlisted in the United States Army in 1951. He set sail from New York spending ten days on a ship headed for Germany. As a member of B Company, he was stationed in Kempten and Augsburg. Robert was assigned to military police with part of his patrol being to guard the dependent area where the officer’s wives and children were housed. He was proud of his service and proud to have served with his good friend and later neighbor, Roger Morrison. Robert acquired a four-legged friend while in the Army, a German police dog named Deana. Deana stayed in Germany with one of Robert’s fellow MP’s until he was discharged and per their arrangement, Deana sailed to America, boarded a train for Iowa where Robert picked her up at the Creston Train Depot.
Once state side, he was introduced to Lois Loukaitis by Karen Minnick who must have known they would be a good match. Their first date was going to a state play-off basketball game in Creston and as the story goes…. the rest is history. They were married May 4, 1958 in St. John’s Lutheran Church in Adair, Iowa and began their life together in rural Tingley near the original England family farm. Lois and Robert were parents to three children; Kent Darold, Todd Robert, and Kimberly Ann. The family later grew with the addition of Penny and her family in 2002.
Prior to getting married and settling down to farm and raise his family, Robert hauled dirt for construction of both the Coralville Dam and straightening the Little Sioux River. Robert’s work with a road crew took him to Stuart, Iowa where he worked moving dirt for building Interstate 80. But the farm continued to call, and he answered. Farming meant hogs, cattle, and many dogs, but his true passion was working the dirt down to that of garden quality for planting his crops. He would often travel about the farm to gather bouquets of purple flowers for Lois – unfortunately she was not always impressed with her musk thistle bloom bouquets! Farming was not always easy, Robert saw many changes to the industry and tough times while surviving the 80s farm crisis. Oldest son, Kent, inherited his Dad’s love of farming, maintaining close proximity to each other with their homesteads being just a mile apart. Robert supplemented farming by also driving a school bus for Tingley and Mount Ayr for thirty-six years. He must have learned early on his responsibility of getting kids to school from carting his siblings there! On occasion he would pull the bus over and yes, kids got moved to the front for the remainder of the year. At 56 years old, he and son Todd began trucking together. A lot of miles covered and memories made. No doubt lots of stories could be told from time on the road.
Farm life did not leave a lot of time for vacations or hobbies, but Robert did have a few. He and Lois enjoyed a trip to California with Harold and Barbara Bower. The two of them also trekked to Tennessee for Lois to visit Graceland. Robert and Lois cut a rug from time to time, dancing at the Chicken Inn or the American Legion in Mount Ayr. In later years, they enjoyed camping at the Iowa State Fair and their traditional Iowa State Fair pork chop dinner. Robert favored the Iowa Hawkeyes and enjoyed following them. He also had an interest in NASCAR which took him to Indianapolis, Kansas City and Fort Worth to cheer on the #88, Dale Jarrett.
Robert only had eyes for International/Case IH equipment and believed red was the only way to go. At 91 years of age, he was able to get back into one of his own “Red Iron” tractors for the last time. He also had a passion for his Honda Goldwing; and enjoyed cruising around Sun Valley Lake and taking rides to surrounding towns with Lois in tow. He was a Ford fan. Period. His family will always remember the two-tone brown Ford and his family would probably just as soon forget the black Ford which should have been yellow for the lemon he thought it was! Robert spent a lot of time tinkering in the shed, he always had the radio playing. Music played in the shed, but in the house it was talk show and news radio 24/7.
Robert moved to Mount Ayr Health Care Center in November 2017 joining Lois with the two being voted Valentine King and Queen the following February. Robert was a fan favorite and always up for family and staff selfies and got quite a kick out of Snapchat filters.
Robert passed away January 17, 2021. Preceding him in death were his parents; wife Lois; brother Jim England, sister Doris Lamar; and brothers-in-law Darold and Dale Loukaitis; niece Sharene England Culp.
Those left with many memories and much love are son Kent (Tammy); grandchildren Jennifer (Tom) DeMott, their children Carter, Kegan, Colt and Lucy; Brett (Jodi) England, their children Jase and Avery; son Todd (Julie); grandchildren Brian (Lauren) England, their children Maddox and Reese; Brad (Alysha) England, their children Aaylah, Addyson, and Maverick; Holly (Phillip) Curd, their children Isabella, Ezra, and Isaiah; Haylea England; daughter Kim (Dave) Shields; grandchildren Amber (Brian) Fooken, their children Trey and Kenleigh; Alicia Shields; April Shields (fiancée Hayden Pelzer); daughter Penny (Mike) Kenealy; grandchildren Scotlan (Jennifer) Smith, their children Cody, Colton, Treyton, and Tanner; Clayton (Ginny) Smith, their children Jonathan and Kinley ; brother Larry (Joyce) England; sister Myrna (Steve) Spurlock; brother Bill England; sister-in-law Marian Jennings and a host of nieces, nephews, extended family, and friends.
A memorial fund has been established in his name to be decided.
I didn't know Robert, but I did know a lot of his family. Someone put a picture of him with Maddox on Facebook, and he looks so proud of him. I'm sure his family was very important to him, and he was so good to care for his wife for as long as he could. Your family has my deepest sympathy in the loss of Robert England. May God comfort you in his loss.
Linda Barber Jan 21 2021 12:00 AM