Arthur Paul Ovrom, 90, of Keosauqua died Thursday, April 27, 2017, at the Keosauqua Health Care Center from complications of progressive supranuclear palsy.
Art was born May 31, 1926, in Gary, South Dakota, to Fred E. and Blanche Thompson Ovrom. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Mary; children Eliza Ovrom and husband Mark Schuling of Des Moines, Fred Ovrom and wife Maureen Connolly of Iowa City, Jennie Ferretti and husband David of Charleston, West Virginia, Dorothy “Dodie” Jabour and husband John of Clive, and Arthur Paul “Paul” Ovrom, Jr. and wife Stephenie of Des Moines; thirteen grandchildren (Charles and Matthew Schuling; Katie, Ted, Erik and Lukas Ovrom; Nancy Ferretti Stranix and Gracie Ferretti; Paul, David and Rebecca Jabour; Sam and Olivia Ovrom); two great grandchildren (Wesley and Maggie Jabour); his sister, Betty Perkins of Keosauqua; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Evelyn “Trink” Manning and her husband John; brother-in-law C.R. “Dick” Perkins; and granddaughter Mary Ferretti.
Art moved with his parents and two older sisters from South Dakota to Keosauqua in 1936, when his father purchased Farmers State Bank, now 1st Iowa State Bank. He graduated as salutatorian of the Keosauqua High School Class of 1944, then joined the U.S. Navy. While in the Navy, Art was in officer training, attending several colleges in the Midwest. He completed his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Iowa. Art was called back into service during the Korean War, and served as an Ensign on the U.S.S. Adirondack docked in the bay of Naples, Italy. He proposed marriage to Mary Hamblin of Bedford, Iowa, in a letter, and she traveled by ship to Naples where they were married and began their life together.
After the Navy, Art worked his entire career at the bank in Keosauqua, where he was president for many years and sold insurance through the Manning and Ovrom Insurance Agency. He was instrumental in establishing the River View Country Club, the new downtown Keosauqua Public Library building, Lake Sugema, Country Lane Apartments, the Good Samaritan Center (now Keosauqua Health Care Center), the three rental cabins beside the Des Moines River in Keosauqua, and the KEDA subdivision north of town. He was a member of the Keosauqua Rotary, Lions Clubs, Beer-Barker Post 113, American Legion all in Keosauqua, was Chairman of the Van Buren Community Foundation and Treasurer of the Congregational Church each for over 20 years, and was Treasurer of Keosauqua Development Corporation in its formative years.
Art was a talented singer, and performed in and directed many plays for the Van Buren Community Players. His roles included Stewpot in “South Pacific,” the banker in “Annie Get Your Gun,” Mr. Mushnik in “Little Shop of Horrors,” Ben Franklin in “1776,” the Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz,” the Devil in “Damn Yankees,” and FDR in “Annie.” He was also an avid golfer, and played regularly with his friends Tom Sullivan, Kiyoshi Furumoto, and Dutch Dietzman. Each year they would start the season with dinner and a bottle of champagne supplied by Kiyo.
While meticulous in in financial and banking affairs, Art was known for being absent-minded in his personal life. He misplaced dozens of hats, innumerable sets of keys, and the occasional vehicle. Once he even lost Mary in a dark movie theater when he followed the wrong woman to her seat. Art had a wonderful self-deprecating sense of humor, and would be the first to tell of his misadventures (if Mary didn’t beat him to it). Art and Mary loved to travel, and in recent years spent winters in Green Valley, Arizona. He took his children and grandchildren on many vacations, including trips in the family station wagon to New York City and Texas, as well as trips to Europe and other parts of the world.
Visitation will be at Pedrick Funeral Home, Keosauqua, from 3:00 – 7:00 p.m. Monday, May 1, with family present from 5:00 to 7:00. Funeral services will be held at the Congregational Church, Keosauqua, at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 2, 2017 with the Rev. Herb Shafer officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Van Buren Community Foundation, the Keosauqua Congregational Church, or the charity of your choice c/o Liza Ovrom, 500 Glenview Dr., Des Moines, IA 50312.