John Seward Obituary

John  W. Seward
John W. Seward

March 27, 1936 - June 8, 2021
Born in New Providence, IA
Resided in Johnston, IA
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John Wendell Seward passed to heaven on June 8th, 2021. His family lovingly cared for him at the end of his life, with the assistance of Wesley Life hospice and staff from Brio of Johnston. Prior to Brio, John and his wife Marilyn had homes in the Glenstone neighborhood of Grimes; Lake Panorama near Panora, IA; Tucson, AZ; Victoria, MN, and West Branch, IA.

John (Jack) was born March 27, 1936 on a farm near New Providence, Iowa to Wallace Wendell Seward and Verma Lois Whitehead Seward. He had two older brothers, Irwin and Lyle Seward. John was raised on a farm, was active in 4-H, and participated in multiple school activities before graduating from Melbourne High School in 1954. John graduated from Iowa State University where he majored in Agricultural Education. He held various leadership positions as a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. While at ISU John participated in ROTC and was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. He received Scabbard & Blade and Alpha Zeta honors. John started his career with Cargill, Inc in June 1958. He served in the military from September 1958 - August 1960 stationed at Fort Sill in Oklahoma and then Fort Riley in Kansas. Following his military service, John returned to Cargill. John’s career with Cargill spanned 38 years. He started in sales and held multiple positions including General Manager for Nutrena Feed Division (West Branch), Director of Marketing and Research for Animal Nutrition Division, Area Supervisor for businesses in United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. He retired as a Senior Vice President in September 1996. He met many of his closest friends through Cargill, and they continued to gather socially to travel, golf, share a meal, and catch up with each other long after John retired.

On August 11, 1957, John married Marilyn Kay Smith. Together John and Marilyn raised three daughters Laurie, Peggy and Jody. John and Marilyn moved frequently throughout their 62 years of marriage. They lived in Oklahoma, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Arizona, but Iowa was always “home”. They extended their time in West Branch, Iowa to allow the girls to finish high school. While in West Branch, John was a member of the West Branch City Council, president of the Chamber of Commerce, and taught Sunday School at the W.B. United Methodist Church.

John loved traveling, golf, his dogs, the United Methodist Church, ISU football and basketball, Jack Daniel’s, the daily newspaper, a good game of cards or cribbage, and teasing family, friends and strangers. John especially loved his family and spending time with them. He created memories through visits to extended family, family vacations, homes on the lake, touring Green Valley, family holidays, and the annual “Grandchildren’s Week”, where a new adventure was planned for each day.

John had a keen sense of curiosity and enjoyed both learning and teaching. As the family patriarch, John especially enjoyed teaching his daughters and grandchildren. He taught us the value of education by insisting we read every owner’s manual cover to cover. He taught us to make decisions (you can have ketchup or mustard but not both), and that sometimes children just need an answer (even if it’s not accurate). He taught us about car maintenance as we rotated his tires while he watched from the lawn chair with beer in hand. Each grandchild received a certificate for graduating from “manners camp”. With a twinkle in his eye, John could be both witty and silly and he left us with so many stories.

John was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers, a son-in-law, and a great-grandchild. He deeply missed his wife and best friend Marilyn, who passed away May 2020.

John leaves behind his children Laurie and Neil Barrick, Peggy and Randy Pierce, Jody and Mark Holmes. He will be missed by his grandchildren Jon (Tanya) Pierce, Megan Woody, Jenna Hoffman, Jennifer (Tom) Spurgin, Rachel (Mikael) Gustafson, Ben (Allyson) Holmes and Andrew (Alizabeth) Holmes, nine great grandchildren, eight nieces and nephews, and many friends.




Funeral Home
Westover Funeral Home
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA US 50322