Sunday, February 14, 2021

Our Brother's Obituary - John David Poppen


John David Poppen

October 22, 1952 - February 4, 2021

John David Poppen was the second of four children born to Harold W. Poppen and Elaine Ellen Green Poppen.  John was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa on October 22, 1952.  The family lived on a few different farmsteads where John and his siblings played outdoors with family pets and climbed to the top of barns where the hay lofts provided much room for fun swinging from ropes and landing in the bales of hay below.  Sundays were often spent at his grandparents' homes for dinner followed by afternoons of laughter playing with his many cousins.  

In 1959 John's parents purchased a feed store in Whittemore, Iowa, and a home on 7th Street.  An idyllic small town childhood when it came to always having neighborhood friends and classmates to play with.  At the age of 10 John and his siblings lost their oldest brother to Hodgkins Lymphoma, a huge loss to John especially due to sharing a bedroom with his older brother.

John was a good student throughout his grade school years, even taking a few weeks of classes from his hospital bed which had been set up in the family's living room.  He would connect to the classroom over a radio system so that he did not fall behind on his learning during his days at home recovering from rheumatic fever.  John transferred to the Algona School District in 4th grade attending Lucia Wallace and then Algona Jr. High and High School where he graduated in 1971.  John moved to Arizona in the late 1970's and then on to Long Beach, California, where he fell in love with sailing and fishing while working for cabinet companies finishing kitchen cabinets as well as cabinets on boats.  It kept him near the ocean that he loved so dearly.

John never married, but for the past 20 years enjoyed life with his partner, Sharon Brushwiller.  They retired and moved out of the city in 2019, to Cedar Glen, California.  He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2019 cutting the enjoyment of his retirement years short.

John is preceded in death by both his father and his mother and his brother Gary.  He is survived by his two sisters, Diane Cayton-Hakey and brother in law David Hakey of Fincastle, Virginia, and his sister Denise Groom and her partner, Erik Hanson of Templeton, California; niece Kelly Cayton of Garner, Iowa,  and grand nieces and nephew Anthony Hinz, Meredith Hinz and Malia Hinz also of Garner, Iowa; and grand niece Madeline Hinz of Cedar Falls, Iowa.  Also step-mother Janet Schlesselman (Rich) of Casa Grande, Arizona, and step-sisters Carrie (Eric) Oblinger of Texas, and Angela Worthley (Lee) of Orange City, Iowa.  

Our forever-loved brother John's ashes will remain in California with his partner Sharon, and freed at an undisclosed site of her choosing.  Thank you to those who loved our brother as much as we did.  May he rest in peace.


  1. My caring Diane, Denise . . . sad for you and your families . . .

  2. So sorry for you and your family on the loss of your dear brother, John. You are all in my prayers; please accept my deepest condolences on your loss.

  3. Diane,I am so sorry to hear of your brothers' passing. Sending condolences to you and your family on your loss. May you find peace in your memories