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Mark W. Schwickerath
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Obituary for Mark W. Schwickerath

Mark William Schwickerath, age 72 of New Hampton, Iowa was called home to the Lord on Sunday, August 27, 2017. He passed peacefully at home surrounded by his beloved wife and his family.



A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, September 1, 2017, at Holy Family Parish with Rev. Brian Dellaert celebrating the Mass. Lector for the service will be Larry Throndson. Presenting the offertory gifts will be Mark's daughters, Tanya Scott, Mary Lynch and Theresa Knutson.



Interment with full military honors will be at St. Mary's Cemetery, New Hampton, with his comrades Ray Schwickerath, Roy Childers, Raymond “Eddy” Cone, and Dean Nelson in attendance. Nathaniel Schwickerath, William Schwickerath, Robert Scott, Kirk Lynch, Joel Knutson, and Barry Brookins will serve as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers are Roger Tiemessen, Richard Schuchhardt, Tom Schwickerath, Bernard “Barney” Glaser and Stanley Mahrt.



Friends may greet the family from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 31, 2017 at the Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home, New Hampton. Visitation will continue an hour prior to the service at the church on Friday.



Mark was born April 28, 1945 to Herman and Katie (Dockendorf) Schwickerath. His father died when he was very young, but he had fond memories of his father and was fortunate to have an incredible mother and siblings who helped to raise him to adulthood. He often recounted how grateful he was for the advice of his brother Ray. He attended St. Mary’s Catholic School and graduated from New Hampton High School in 1962, while working at Wilmer-Brewer Tiling. After graduating, he worked for Logan Construction in Charles City as a carpenter, and began working at John Deere Waterloo Foundry in 1962 in the core room.



Mark joined the Army in September of 1965. After basic training, he was shipped to O’ahu, HI, where the 25th Infantry Division was stationed, for jungle training at Schofield Barracks. He landed in Vietnam on his 21st birthday. He fought until he was wounded in combat on October 15, 1966 along with his friends and was decorated with the Purple Heart. The injury resulted in his honorable discharge from the Army on September 1, 1967. He always considered the remainder of his life to be an unexpected gift and treasured the time he was given. His funeral will occur on the 50 year anniversary of his discharge from the service.



When Mark returned from service, he resumed his job at John Deere. Upon enrolling in the business program at the University of Northern Iowa in 1967, he maintained his job at Deere in his summers. He married the love of his life, Theresa Dietrich, on December 26, 1968. In 1971, he received his private pilot’s license, and later that same year, his son Nathaniel was born. Mark earned an accounting degree in 1972 and went on to attend the University of Iowa Law School, where he flew back and forth between New Hampton and Iowa City each week to be with his family. In March of 1975, his daughter Tanya was born; in May of that year, he earned his Juris Doctor and passed both the Iowa and Illinois bar exams.



After finishing school, Mark returned to work at John Deere, and was reassigned to the accounting department. In 1975, he transferred to Moline, IL, but returned to the Waterloo Works in 1977 and the first of three homes he and Theresa built together in New Hampton to be closer to family. Then he also began practicing law in his rural office, and he spent his nights and weekends building his business. Over the next several years, he and Theresa welcomed three more children into their family; Mary (1979), Theresa Anne (1986), and William (1991). After 30 years of service, Mark retired from John Deere in 1993, but continued to practice law until his eldest son took over the business.



Mark pursued many hobbies. An avid fisherman, he particularly enjoyed his trips to Canada with family and friends. He greatly enjoyed traveling across the US and the world; after tracing his family tree back to Greimerath, Germany, he made at least four trips to Europe and was also happy to host foreign relatives here in Iowa introducing them to the “joys” of the truly American experience of the long road trip. He enjoyed card games, especially a family favorite, “solo,” and was a spectacular singer.



In 1999, Mark was diagnosed with an aggressive prostate cancer resulting from his exposure to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam. Ever the warrior, he battled the disease and participated in several clinical trials that greatly extended his life. In 2017, his cancer attacked his liver, and he has now paid the ultimate price from serving this great country he loved.



Mark never met a stranger who did not walk away a friend. He thought carefully before speaking, contemplated every outcome before acting, and made decisions based on his integrity. He was honest, hard-working, and kind. He understood that success was not based on prosperity, but on sticking to your principles; that wealth was not measured by your bank account, but by the love inside your home; that your legacy was not reflected by the things you've done, but in the people you've cared for.



Those blessed to have been loved by Mark include his wife of over 48 years, Theresa Schwickerath of New Hampton; his five children, Nathaniel (Julie) Schwickerath, Tanya (Bob) Scott, Mary (Kirk) Lynch, Theresa (Joel) Knutson, all of New Hampton, and M. William (Sheena Hovey) Schwickerath II, Des Moines; his 13 grandchildren; his brother Ray Schwickerath, New Hampton; his sisters Margie Martin Rurup, Humboldt, Sister Lucia (Marie) Schwickerath, St. Paul, MN, and Patsy Stricke, Rochester, MN.



He was welcomed into heaven by his parents, Herman & Katie Schwickerath, siblings Virgil Schwickerath and Florence Throndson, sister-in-law Virginia Schwickerath, brothers-in-law John B. Martin, Irvin Throndson, Bob Stricke and Palmer Rurup; best friend, John Schwickerath, and his brothers-in-arms, Sgt. Glenn Schriner and Richard Potthoff.


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