Donald James Rhead
May 11, 1929 - May 8, 2020

Donald James Rhead

Donald James Rhead
May 11, 1929 - May 8, 2020

Donald James Rhead
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Donald Rhead age 90, of Ames passed away peacefully on Friday May 8 at his home A celebration of life memorial service will be 1:30 p.m. Saturday, May 16 at Grandon Funeral and Cremation Care, 414 Lincoln Way, Ames, Iowa; burial will follow at Ames Municipal Cemetery, Ames, Iowa.

Donald was born May 11, 1929, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The son of Nimmerd and Hazel Rhead. He attended Stout University in Menomonie, WI and was on the football team. On May 30, 1952, he married the love of his life, Phyllis Jean Carlson in Freedhem, Minn. They moved to Riverside, California where he was in the Air Force stationed at March Air Force Base in CA. Donald served his country from 1952 until he was honorably discharged in 1956. After the service, Donald worked many years for Bourns. In 1964, he transferred with the company to Ames, Iowa where he could be closer to family. His working career also involved time with Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny and Shelter Insurance in Ames.

He was a member of Bethesda Lutheran Church, a past Lions member and a past member of Arcadia Lodge #249, all in Ames. Donald was a football fanatic especially for his Iowa State Cyclones and Green Bay Packers. He spent many seasons at Clyde Williams Field and Jack Trice Stadium ushering Cyclone fans and cheering for his team.

Donald had so much motivation to live and enjoy life. He grew up on the water in God's Country (Wisconsin) and passed that love on to his entire family. The faster the boat, the better. Catching a fish now and then was a bonus. A round of golf and a juicy steak and relaxing on the deck listening to the wrens was a good day.

Donald taught people the richness of family, how to live a life of integrity, to treat everyone with compassion and love, and found joy in everything. His strongest love was for his kids, grandsons, and great-grandchildren. Donald is survived by Gregory (Cheryl) Rhead of Humboldt, Janice (Larry) Nordeen, and Karla (Joe) Burgart all of Urbandale, six grandsons: Scott (Sheena) Rhead, Alex (Jill) Rhead, Ryan (Crystal) Nordeen, Jake Nordeen, Ronald, and Andrew Burgart, four great-grandchildren: Axel, Ada and Adley Rhead, and Savannah Burgart. He is also survived by his sister Lois Debee and brother David Rhead. Along with many special nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife Phyllis, his parents and brother Larry Rhead, brother-in-law Richard Debee and sister-in-law Susan Rhead.

Memorials may be left to the discretion of family. Online condolences may be sent to

To Zoom meeting follow this link It will open at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.

A life video is available at this link:
Donald Rhead Memorial Service. link:
Graveside link:

Catherine Burns on May 19, 2020

Our sympathy to Karla and family and all of Don's family. We enjoyed many days with Don and Phyllis and Karla at roller skating events, around Ames over the years and playing cards with Phyllis. The Rhead's were always good to be around. Catherine and Pat Burns - Kristi too.

Landi on May 16, 2020

Greg, Cheryl, Jan, Carla, Scott, Alex, Ryan, Jake and all the rest of Don's clan- I am very sorry for your loss. As I watched and listened to the service, my early memories of Don seemed to take on greater meaning. I have very early memories of Don and Phyllis- maybe as early as 4 years old. Don would always call me his girlfriend and tell others he was my boyfriend. Could sound creepy, but it wasn't. I can't remember when he stopped teasing me by calling me his girlfriend. He was among those in my early years that made me feel loved, special and important- I'm sure that planted some important seeds for my later years and for that I am grateful. What never stopped was how special Don made me feel when I would see him at Rhead family gatherings and receive a big hug and genuine smile from him. Years later, I gave birth to my first born on Don's birthday. I will always remember him on that day. I'm sure grateful that Cheryl married me into Don's family so I could know this great human being. I'll be thinking of all of you, Don's family, as you grieve.
Landi Smith, Des Moines, IA

Dick & MIllie Brown on May 16, 2020

Don and Phyllis were friends We were connected with the Lions Club
and they were such a wonderful couple to know. sorry for your loss and
will keep you and yours in our prayers Dick&Millie Brown Ames, IA

Keith Bailey on May 16, 2020

So sorry for your loss. I knew Don for many years and considered him a friend. I shared a cup of coffee with him at Hy Vee at times and many evenings at Arcadia Lodge. He was truly a good man. Keith Bailey

Jean Nicol Jahren on May 12, 2020

A number of years ago, Don and Phyllis were in a Bible study that met at my home. I have fond memories of how Don opened up about his faith. Peace

Marlene Thompson on May 11, 2020

Alex told me that Grandpa would entertain he and Jill to 500, games, and fun things as they spent time together going to college!!! What a great memory. My sympathy, Marlene Thompson

Ed Hendrickson Jr. on May 11, 2020

I worked for Don at Shelter Insurance from 1982-1985 and got to know Don and Phyllis very well during those years. I always said Don was the best, kindest and most honest manager I every had.

Ed Hendrickson on May 11, 2020

To the family of Don Rhead, My sympathies to you. Don and Phyllis came to Ames and bought their home through me and we became great friends for many years. A wonderful man. Ed Hendrickson Sr.



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Grandon Funeral and Cremation Care
414 Lincoln Way
Ames, Iowa 50010
1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

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