Keith H. Markwardt, 75, Mason City, Iowa, died Monday, May 19, 2014 at the Mercy Medical Center of North Iowa. A funeral service was held on Friday, May 23, at Wesley United Methodist Church, Mason City, with Rev. Steve Hansen officiating. Interment was at Pleasant Valley Cemetery, Swaledale, Iowa. Memorials may be given to Wesley United Methodist Church.
Keith Markwardt, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle, passed away Monday, May 19, 2014. He was born
Oct. 3, 1938 in Dows, Iowa, the son of Harold and Iona (Blakewell) Markwardt. Keith graduated from Sheffield High School in 1956. He joined the Iowa National Guard in February 1956 and served until March 1957. On Sept. 7, 1958 he married his sweetheart, Letha Bredlow at the Little Brown Church, Nashua Iowa. Together they had four children, Douglas, Philip, Scott and Judy.
Keith and Letha farmed near Sheffield and Thornton until 1964 when they moved to Mason City. After moving to town, Keith drove delivery truck, fuel transport, mail truck and taxi before becoming an over the road truck driver. He was an industrious man who was not afraid of hard work. He provided well for his family and found honor in any job he did. Between 1971 and his retirement he logged millions of miles and had delivered to every state in the continental US as well as seven Canadian provinces and multiple states in Mexico. He loved traveling the country and especially enjoyed having Letha with him. He was a human atlas, able to guide his kids and grandkids as they drove in cities all over the country letting them know landmarks and best routes to drive.
Keith loved working with his hands and had an amazing ability to envision what he wanted to create. From trailers and garages, to furniture and stilts, he knew in his head how to design it and had the ability to make it happen. He spent many hours building furniture for his grandchildren, doing home improvement projects and working on projects at their church.
Storytelling was a natural gift of Keith’s. He loved to entertain his kids and grandkids with his tales of the road. He shared adventures hauling oversized loads in the dark of night, loading machinery on step-deck trailers and driving into sketchy parts of big cities. He loved teasing his kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews, but was always there to lend a hand or offer advice when needed. Family was important to Keith and he enjoyed keeping in touch with extended family and often visited while on the road.
Known for overcoming adversity, Keith recovered from a semi-accident in 1973 that left him with that familiar limp and scars that told the stories of his life. In 2003 he was diagnosed with colon cancer. He battled injuries, cancer and congestive heart failure with a positive attitude and determined spirit.
Keith lived his life with passion and loved his family immensely. He leaves a hole in his family, his church and his community. He will be missed greatly.
Keith is survived by his wife, Letha Markwardt, Mason City; three sons, Doug (Kerstin) Markwardt, Phoenix, Ariz., and their children, Erik and Alex Markwardt; Phil (Rose) Markwardt, Thornton, Iowa, and their children, Candace (Justin) Sprung, Tonya (fiancé, Michael Halsne), and Heather (Shaun) Koenen; Scott (Marilyn) Markwardt, Mason City, and their children, Nathan Wendel (special friend, Amber Schott) , Mandy (Luke) Benjamin, and Maggie Wendel; and a daughter, Judy (Dan) Oberheu, Shawnee, Kan., and their children, Mason, Carter and Gage Oberheu; his brother, Roy (Patty) Markwardt, Clear Lake; and a sister, Karen Markwardt-Blakewell and (friend Ruth Welscott), Sun City, Ariz.; two aunts, Edna Peters, Rockwell, Iowa, and Laura Froning, Albert Lea, Minn.; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Keith was preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Iona Markwardt; parents-in-law, Clarence and Annabelle Bredlow; brothers-in-law, Delmar Bredlow, Dennis Bredlow, Duane Bredlow and Roger Johnson; and a niece, Lonnie Jurgens.
Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, Clear Lake, was in charge of arrangements.