Chris Rohwer Obituary

Chris E. Rohwer
Chris E. Rohwer

March 2, 1939 - November 1, 2023
Born in Sioux City, Iowa
Resided in Des Moines, Iowa
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Chris E. Rohwer died on November 1, 2023. A memorial mass will be held on November 22, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 1627 Grand Avenue West Des Moines, Iowa. A reception will follow in the parish center.

Chris was born in Sioux City, Iowa on March 2, 1939, to Roland and Ilah (Dahl) Rohwer. Chris was the youngest of five children. He grew up in Sioux City, attending Blessed Sacrament and Heelan High School, where he played football. Following high school graduation, he studied at Iowa State University.

Chris Rohwer and Janece Feinberg met in 1964 at a piano bar. They married on April 24, 1965, at St. Augustin's Catholic Church. Soon after they welcomed two daughters, Mary Ann in 1966 and Theresa Marie in 1967.

Chris valued his faith and his family and worked hard his whole life to provide for Janece and the girls.

Chris was ordained a deacon for the diocese of Des Moines on October 4th, 1985, the Feast of St. Francis. He died on November 1st, 2023, the Feast of All Saints. Many have said that Chris was truly a saint on Earth and with his death on All Saints Day he joined the ranks of the Saints in heaven.

As a deacon, assigned at Sacred Heart and St. Ambrose Cathedral, Chris celebrated many marriages and baptisms with family and friends. Chris also sang in choirs at both churches - sharing his love of music was one of his gifts. He and Janece also worked with P.A.T.C.H. in assisting the poor to find affordable housing.

Chris had several jobs and many amazing skills. All those skills were needed when a flood hit Des Moines in 1993 and he began to do flood relief work with Catholic Charities and Lutheran Relief Services. This led to full-time work with Catholic Charities managing St. Mary's Food Bank and St. Joseph's Family Center where he worked until his retirement.
Chris is survived by his wife of 58 years, Janece. His daughters Mary Ann (Rob) Fairbank, Theresa (Charlie) Becker, grandsons Chris (Emily) Fairbank and Will Fairbank. He is also survived by all his siblings, Kathryn (Judd) Sackheim, Ted (Mary) Rohwer, Mary Lemek, and Ginny Kudlinski.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Catholic Charities St. Mary's Family Center - Food Distribution Center, 1815 Hubbell Ave. Des Moines, IA 50316. Online condolences may be made at

To view the livestream of the memorial service please visit:

Arrangements by Iles Dunn's Chapel




Memorial Mass
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
1627 Grand Avenue
West Des Moines, IA US 50265
Wednesday, November 22, 2023
11:00 AM