June 29, 2015


He Helped Build the Gym; Now He’s Building a Monument..by Mary Weaver

Ben Vannatta

Brick memorial

Pictures by Tori Riley of Greene County News Online

Keith Devilbiss of Rippey knows how to turn a lemon situation into sweet palatable lemonade! He is pictured here completing one of his life’s passions, working as a mason, this time making a memorial for the Rippey School from the bricks used to erect the building in 1921.

The Rippey Consolidated School was razed in October of 2014. In one of the last acts of the East Greene board of education before consolidating with the Jefferson-Scranton district to form Greene County Community Schools, financial arrangements were made to raze the building so it would not become an eyesore or a danger to the residents of the community. The East Greene board also requested the Greene County board of education to allow the City of Rippey first priority in obtaining the school grounds when they were no longer to be used by the Greene County School District. Both of these events have now officially occurred.

Rippey Consolidated School became a part of East Greene Community Schools in 1963 and was used as an attendance center for elementary grades until 2010. The gymnasium, recently renamed the Wisecup Memorial Gymnasium, was built in 1957. Carrying mud for that addition was one of the first jobs for mason Devilbiss. At the completion of the summer he was offered a seven week training course fully paid by Roth Construction, the company that built the gym. He was off to start his life long career.

He worked in central Iowa, eventually starting his own business, Devilbiss Construction. Among the many other things he built is the Rippey United Methodist Church.

In a rather bittersweet moment following the razing of the building last October, he was employed as a contractor to re-brick the windows and the doors on the west side of the gymnasium. Coming full circle he is now erecting a monument to the Rippey School building at age 77.

Luckily and thanks to some expert salvage work by Lansing Brothers of Luxemburg, Iowa, the signage at the top of the building, “Rippey Consolidated School” and the identification signage located just inside the building from 1921 were saved and are being re-built into the memorial.

Devilbiss knew what was available and in November of 2014 he presented three drawings to the Friends of Rippey, who along with the Rippey Alumni Association are funding the memorial project. The memorial selected by the group will be five feet high, and 24 feet long, and includes the 1920 “birth” cornerstone from the original building, and a similar newly created limestone block “death” of 1962. In the center of the memorial there will be a photo of the original building ingrained into black granite including the dates children used the building, 1920 to 2014.

The time capsule found during the razing of the original building along with a current time capsule will be re-buried into the memorial by Devilbiss.

Rippey and the surrounding farm families had a strong desire to educate their children. In 1898 Rippey had 11 country schools and a township high school. The town of Rippey also had a high school and in November of 1919 the vote was 154-23 to merge the schools into the Rippey Consolidated School. A bid was let for $147,000. Two hundred eight-six students enrolled at the beginning of the year; seven graduates walked across the new stage in 1922.

A school retirement celebration was held on May 18, 2012, the last time children ran from the building for their summer vacation.

The city of Rippey has established a park of the grounds, and when Greene County Schools no longer will use the gymnasium the building will belong to the city of Rippey.

Devilbiss has deep roots in the community and his love and dedication to Rippey is visibly discernable. Once the memorial is completed he will work to finish moving the school playground equipment to the Rippey baseball park area, and he hopes to re-furbish the skating rink into a usable rink again for the youth of the area.

Rippey alumni held their annual reunion during the recent Memorial Day weekend, and voted to build a patio area from the memorial to the flag pole, through a $500 donation, and the purchase of individual named memorial bricks at $50. The bricks are available to persons with memories of the school including teachers, graduates and attendees. Up to three lines with 18 characters on each line are available. The patio area will run from the memorial to the flag pole, and will include a bench in honor of the long time alumni president, the late Velda DeMoss.

The Rippey community and Rippey alumni are indeed indebted and grateful to Keith Devilbiss for this wonderful serving of “lemonade.”


Rippey United Methodist Church

Rippey United Methodist Church 
PO Box 286, 103 West Main St. Rippey, IA 50235
Pastors:  Enna Antunez and Paul Burrow
Phone: 436-7731

Adult Sunday School at 9:00 a. m.
Worship Service is at 10:30 a. m.

Every Tuesday: Quilters 9:00 - Coffee and fellowship 10:00 - everyone welcome.

No choir practice during the summer.

During the Sunday morning worship service, Angela Abbas was commissioned as agraduate of the the Iowa United Methodist School for Lay Ministry. She recently completed the three year course of study Her parents, Roger and Joann Hansen, Kanawha, IA, came to be part of the commissioning.

Rippey Public Library

*The Rippey Library Board of Trustees will meet Tuesday May 26, 2015 at 5:30 in the library.  Note change of day due to Memorial Day.

Andrea Williams, Librarian
Phone: 515.436.7714
Website: www.rippey.lib.ia.us
E-mail: rippeyli@windstream.net

Monday 1:00 – 6:00
Tuesday 1:30 - 5:30
Wednesday 3:00 – 8:00
Thursday 12:00 – 6:00


Summer Reading Starts July 6, 2015!

Monday July 6 - Summer Reading Program begins - 4:30 to 5:30 pm Story time, Craft, & Sign up for Summer Reading

Wed. July 8 - Courageous Canines - 3:00 to 4:00 - Meet Police Officer Jack Williams and his K-9 Leo

Mon. July 13 - 6:00 to 7:00 - See a Juggler, Be a Juggler Workshop with juggler & balloon artist Jason Kollum
(come in early to check out library material)

News in and around Rippey

Brandon and Jennifer Lauer of Perry are parents of a son, Weston Lee, born on Fathers Day, June 14, 2015 at Mary Greeley Hospital, in Ames.  He weighed 9 lb. 1 oz. and was 21 inches long.    Welcoming him home are and his sister, Allison age 11, and his brother, Cameron, age 4.

Grandparents are Jeff and Lori Grow of Rippey and Grandmother Charlayne CorderBrawdy of Nebraska.  Great-Grandparents are Ben and Midge Vannatta  and Jim andLaDonna Corder, all of Perry.

Phil and Toni Roberts and Jean Borgeson enjoyed lunch at The MachineShed on Saturday noon. Jean was en route to see her daughter and family in Phoenix, AZ and Phil was the driver for the day.
  Sunday Phil and Toni attended services at the Perry Bible Church. It was a special 40th anniversary celebration for the church and Phil's sister, Elaine Holz, had been invited back as a guest performer for the event. Elaine played piano for the prelude and a special number, "My Tribute"for the service. Also attending from Rippey were Lori and Tim Bardole, Schyler and Gabe to hear their aunt perform.  Elaine and her husband, John Holz, currently reside in Colorado, Springs, CO.

Delores Blanshan visited in the home of her mother, Virgene Morse for a few days. Lots of “jobs” were tackled (some even got finished) and she even had time to help a neighbor (me) in distress! Delores was the flower girl for our wedding those many years ago, and it was a comforting surprise to hear the words, “I’ll be right there” from her, when I thought I called Virgene for help.

Our Greene County road guys were busy this week! They fixed our road in good time, and since I have only one way out, I was glad to see the repairs done so quickly. .

Roy and Phyllis Bardole flew to Washington D C June 24th. We had an invitation to the opening reception of the "American Enterprise" exhibit at the Smithsonian American History Museum. After arriving at our hotel, we heard that there was a "storm" happening at home that was too much like 1993. Thursday morning we walked up to the Washington National Cathedral. It was only a mile, but it was all up hill! Roy had been there a few times, but Phyllis had never been there. The Cathedral is a very impressive structure.
Thursday evening we attended the opening of the exhibit. It includes agriculture, but it really includes all enterprises in the United States from the 1800's. We were able to get a short tour with Peter Liebold, the curator of the American History Museum and the person Roy has spent so much time with on the exhibit. The United Soybean Board contributed to this project, so there were many "soybean friends" there. It was enjoyable to visit with them. Krista Harden who used to be a lobbyist for the soybean group is now the Under Secretary of Agriculture. It was wonderful visiting with her.
We saw a few items from our farm on display, Roy's picture was on the wall in one room, and Grandpa Hawley's draft horses were pictured in a metal book. We inquired about the picture of Roy's mom hauling in beans in the 1940's. Peter said it was on the wall in the Ag Committee room advertising this exhibit! The exhibit will open to the public on July 1st and cost about 37 million.
With all the speeches and 200 attendees, we were not able to see a lot of the exhibit. That will take another trip.It is truly an honor to be represented in two of the Smithsonian museums.

Neese Grandchildren Play Soccer in Chicago

This past week-end The Ovenshire family, went to the Chicago area so Delaney and Keagan, granchildren of Connie Neese, could play in the AYSO ( American youth Soccer Org for youth –This is a Cedar Rapids high school team that plays year round. Their group was the winner of all four games, in their competition.The family was also able to do some sight seeing.

Weaver Family

Gary and Mary Weaver rode to Sioux City with David,Emily and Ada Weaver on Saturday morning to watch Nathan Basye play one of the his last baseball games of the season. Nathan pitched as well as having an inning of catching for the first time.Following the game the family gathered at Culvers for lunch with Matt,Theresa, Nathan,and Lauren and then returned home.

Gary and Mary Weaver met at Jethro's in Des Moines for breakfast Sunday with Mary's former Iowa Methodist School of Nursing classmates and their spouses. Those present were Glenda Duncan Olerich and Bob of Des Moines; Patsy Beadel Arnold and Bob of Shannon City ; Jeane Drehl Ross and James of Dacano,Colorado. They were welcoming Patsy to the 70 year old club now formed by the group. Following breakfast they adjourned to the Olerich home for further visiting.


The Rippey Alumni Association and the Friends of Rippey continue to promote “Buy a Brick Program” to help generate money to pay for the Rippey School Memorial. The bricks will be placed in front of the memorial marker east to the flag pole.

The cost is $50.00 per brick. There can be up to three lines, with 21 letters per line. The first deadline to purchase is July 1, 2015. This will assure they will be in place prior to the 2016 Rippey Alumni Reunion. Payment may be sent to the Friends of Rippey, Box 52, Rippey, Iowa 50235. Questions may be directed to Mary Weaver, 515-360-8046

Bricks may be purchased by Rippey Alumni, former students who were a part of the Rippey Center when it was East Greene School District, former teachers, or anyone wishing to support the Rippey Alumni Memorial.  Several people have purchased a brick to honor past family members who graduated from Rippey.

The Memorial is being built voluntarily by Rippey graduate and mason Keith Devilbiss using bricks from the original building that was razed in October of 2014.

      Mary Weaver

Send your news to jeanb@iowatelecom.net

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