Iris Mae Kressin Gerhart Decker went to be with her Lord on Sunday, January 9, 2022 at the West Bend Health and Rehabilitation Center at the age of 89. Iris was born March 16, 1932, to Arthur and Cacilia (Schmidt) Kressin in a farmhouse in Lotts Creek, Iowa. The cord was wrapped around her neck and the doctor told her parents she would not live through the night, so she was baptized that same evening. That was the first time of thousands she showed the world how tough she was. She received her education at Lotts Creek Parochial school and graduated from Fenton High School in 1949. She attended business school in Mankato and worked at McMahon & Cassel Law office in Algona. On October 13, 1950, she eloped with Jack Gerhart while at a dance in Missouri. They made their home on a farm near Fenton. She later worked at Snap-On Tools for 18 years. In 1996, she married Harold Decker and moved to Cherokee where they raised Border Collies, chickens, and a huge vegetable garden. After Harold’s passing, she moved back to the Fenton farm and had a real personal war on spraying, pulling, digging, and burning weeds in the yard and grove. She had a deep stem stroke on November 2, 2013 and moved to West Bend Health and Rehab to do therapy in hopes of going back home on the farm.
Iris grew up on a farm during the Great Depression, so she learned how to work hard and save every penny she ever earned, starting with her first paycheck, and continuing through her entire life. She didn’t throw anything away because she could always use it again. Wash out that bread bag and hang it on the curtain rod to dry. We can certainly use that again. Put that tinfoil in the drawer, we will use it again. She bought one roll of Christmas wrapping paper in 1952 and our gifts were wrapped in that same paper for decades. Her homemade chocolate chip cookies tasted better because she stored them in the brown sugar bag that she made them with. Our clothes always smelled fresh because she hung them out on the line year-round and we would bring them in frozen and warm them up by the heat run to make the house smell fresh also. Her homemade cinnamon rolls, cream puffs and caramel sauce were the envy of all who were blessed to eat them. The lawn needed to be mowed, the rocks needed to be picked up from the fields, the garden needed to be weeded, the beans needed to be walked, and there was always a tree in the grove that needed to be cut up. The last drop of ice cream in that bowl can easily be licked up. She mended clothes for countless people and loved to make quilts. Her one relaxation she enjoyed her entire life was water skiing, and she did it until she was 80 years old. The only reason she quit was she fell down twice and thought she might break an ankle. She thoroughly enjoyed watching her children and grandchildren in all their activities, sports, music, speech and plays. Iris’ devoted faith in God led her to every decision in life and guided her through all the dark days. She was a decades-long member of the Fenton United Methodist Church and served on numerous committees, sang in the choir, and taught Sunday School there for 35 years. Now God has taken her Home to help Him get things done in Heaven.
Left to cherish her legacy are children, Bruce (Denise) Gerhart of Hutchinson, Kansas; Wayne (Deb) Gerhart of Bancroft, Iowa, Brian Gerhart of Fort Worth, Texas; and Kathy (Dan) Meyer of Armstrong, Iowa, 10 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren, Tai (Ryan) Edwards, Rockwell and Wiley, Lawrence, KS, Laci Gerhart, Davis, CA, Travis (Kate) Gerhart, Seattle, WA, Jessica (Shanna) Gerhart, Brody & Beckham, Celina, TX, Shane (Mandy) Gerhart, Rhett & Remington, Severance, CO, Kelsey Gerhart (Justin McLaughlin), Minneapolis, MN, Jeremiah (Melissa) Gerhart, Riley & Abby, Rowlett, TX, Stephanie (Michael) Allen, Frisco, TX, Dillon (Kory) Meyer and Noah, Gilbert, AZ, and Morgan (Josh) Snell and Hudson, Grimes, IA. Also surviving are her brothers, Maynard Kressin, and Michael and Marcella Kressin, sister-in-law, Norma Kressin, and a very special friend, Gene Blanchard.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her in-laws, Arlo and Dort Ranney, both husbands, sister, Lorna Johnson, brothers, James and John Kressin, sister-in-law, Georgia Lee Dahlin and brother-in-law Thomas Lee.
A very special thank you to the loving and devoted staff of West Bend Health and Rehab who took such good care of Mom in her last years. They all filled her days with happiness, love, and smiles and we can’t thank them enough. Another special thank you to the compassionate and dedicated staff of St. Croix Hospice who made Mom’s last year as comfortable as it could be.
She loved her family. She loved working hard on the farm. She loved gardening. She loved water skiing. But most of all, she loved her Lord. She lived clean, worked hard, and loved unconditionally. If you knew her, she prayed for you. If you wish to memorialize Iris, the greatest gift you could give her is to take the Lord Jesus Christ home with you today. Someday, He will take you Home. Get up and dance, Mom, get up and dance!