John Dahly Kehrberg was born July 30, 1924, to H. Grace (Dahly) and Albert A. Kehrberg at Sacred Heart Hospital in Le Mars. He grew up on the family farm the youngest of three children. He often spoke of learning to farm with his father in the 30x, planting with a two row planter behind a team of horses. He literally grew up with the farm industry from shocking corn to building his own corn crib with elevators, and a corn grinder.
John attended country school in Stanton Township and then graduated from Le Mars High School in 1942. He was active in high school playing trombone and football. Although he had passed the military entrance exam for pilots during World War II, his father asked that he be deferred so he could come home to run the family farm.
He purchased his first 80 acres as a young man in his early 20s and became a successful farmer amassing 600 acres during his lifetime.
John met his wife of 60 years at a "Sadie Hawkins" dance in Sioux City at the Tomba Ballroom. He said that after he asked her for the first dance and upon the completion of the dance when she walked away, John knew he had to follow. John married Joyce M. Johanson in Emerson, Neb., March 2, 1952, at St. Paul's Lutheran Church.
He moved his bride to his farm south of Le Mars where he and Joyce raised three children, Debra Joy, Steven John, and Renae Sherry. His family and his wife were the center of his life.
He raised corn, soybeans, hay and a variety of livestock. His son Steve and son-in-law John (Debra) Meister farmed with him in his later years. Well into his early 80s, John was visiting the farm to advise and support his family. He took great pride in the family farm and loved working the land.
John and Joyce were very active, frequently getting together with friends and family. As a young couple in their 20s, they were excellent ballroom dancers attending the big band concerts that played the Midwest in the 1950s. After their first child, Debra was born John would come inside from chores and field work and play with his new baby girl. He always took time for his children amidst the farm work.
John and Joyce were 60-year members of St. John's Lutheran Church in Le Mars where they had all three of their children baptized and confirmed. He was active in church throughout his life from playing in the church bowling league to ushering.
John had a busy social life with Joyce. They were members of a card club, active square dance partners, and president of the Le Mars Square Dance club, traveling to dances throughout the Midwest and attending national conventions as well.
John always made time for his family. He and his wife never missed any of the activities for his children at Merrill Elementary School or Le Mars Middle or High School. In addition, to attending local events for his family, he was an active traveler.
John loved to boat and camp with his family in his motor home at Okoboji and other local lakes. He and Joyce were members of an RV Square Dance Club, often traveling to various campsites for dances. Every summer he took his family on a two-week vacation by car to destinations across the United States. He loved nature and visited almost every national park in the U. S. with his family. He also traveled to national and historic landmarks and had visited every major city and state in the union during his life time.
In his early 50s, he and Joyce started going south for the winters. In 1981, they built a ranch home on a golf course in Mesa, Ariz. They spent their winter months playing doubles tennis in a league, traveling in an RV club, biking, going for daily walks with their dog Carmel, hiking the Superstition Mountains, reading books, going to San Diego to walk the beaches, and watching movies. John and Joyce were active in Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Mesa. They always had all of their adult children and grand daughter come down every winter for the Christmas holiday. They loved their winter life but always called Iowa home.
One of his favorite Midwest vacation spots was Lewis and Clark Lake, camping in his motor home and boating with his three children, son-in-law and granddaughter, Rachel (daughter of Debra Kehrberg and her husband John Meister). He loved boating and bouncing his children across the lake, long bike rides with his wife and roaring campfires at night.
In his 70s and 80s he traveled with his wife and adult children to Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Estonia, France, Germany, Turkey, Croatia, Spain, Italy and Monte Carlo. He loved to travel by cruise ship and was particularly fond of European river cruises. He always commented on his many blessings and would frequently state that he had done more and traveled further than he thought he would in his life time. He was deeply interested in history and loved the adventure of seeing new historical destinations throughout the world.
He and his wife also frequently visited their youngest daughter Renae in Omaha, Neb. He loved hearing about his daughter's middle school where she was the principal and attended school events there as well. He always was interested in news about family and planning upcoming family events.
He was the family photographer capturing family moments together from the 1950s to 2012. He started using a computer and digital photography in his 80s and frequently watched vacation photos on his big screen TV after he had burned them to a disc. His large screen also played many action movies with his favorite being James Bond.
In addition to watching family photos and movies, he was also an avid reader consuming Grisham books and other suspense novels on a weekly basis. His biggest joy in his later years was his granddaughter, Rachel.
Rachel was the apple of his eye and his only grandchild. She and Debra stopped over to the house every day after school to bring "the news of the day" to him and Joyce after he had retired off the farm to Hinton. His home in Hinton was on the golf course where he and Joyce were members for many decades. John golfed frequently through his 87th year. The last year of his life his wife had a stroke in Mesa, and he lovingly took care of her through the hospitalization, rehabilitation and had her return to his house in Hinton this past June.
He is survived by his wife, Joyce of Hinton; three children, Debra Kehrberg and her husband, John Meister, of Hinton, Steven Kehrberg, of Hinton, and Renae Kehrberg, of Omaha, Neb.; a granddaughter, Rachel Meister Kehrberg, of Hinton; and a sister, Shirley Hanno, Le Mars.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and his brother, Boyd Kehrberg.
Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at St. John's Lutheran Church in Le Mars. The Rev. Gary Landsness and The Rev. Greg Gabriel will officiate. Burial will follow at the Stanton Township Cemetery, rural Merrill. Visitation will begin at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Mauer - Johnson Funeral Home in Le Mars with the family present from 5-7 p.m. There will also be one hour of visitation at the church on Thursday prior to the service.
Expressions of sympathy may be directed through www.mauerjohnsonfh.com