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Darwin was born on August 21, 1940, in Red Oak, IA to the late John (Bus) and Wilma Holtmyer. He was raised on a farm near Greenfield, IA where he graduated high school in 1959. On June 4th, 1962 Darwin married Jeanette Mundt (Allen) in a country church near Massena, IA. Darwin and Jeanette had 6 children together, and raised the family near Greenfield and Stuart areas then eventually settled their family on an acreage outside of Macksburg. Darwin remained in his Macksburg home until the recent decline of his health; moving then to a nursing home in Washington, IA near children.
In high school Darwin purchased and showed registered Guernsey cows, and had great interest in horses. He had a creative mind; while still in high school he developed a bi-level portable calf shed. Later he transformed an old school bus into a portable cattle working facility; completely outfitted with a cattle ramp, running chute, and scale. He could work cattle right on the producer’s ranch, easily running cattle through for: weighing, castration, freeze branding, AI, pregnancy checking, vaccinations etc. He was also a certified AI technician, and trained many people the trade.
Darwin spent 40 plus years as a professional in cattle genetics. He provided AI services to many producers throughout SW Iowa and NW Missouri over the past 40 years. He and his family also managed a dairy cow operation for many years through the 70’s and 80’s.
Darwin trained many cattle horses throughout his career; with a horse by his side his entire life. Later in life he treasured his small flock of sheep. He loved animals and animal genetics, and was a cowboy to the end.
Darwin later married Sharon Beckman, of Des Moines from 1986-1996; and then married Cyrena Durham from 1996-2005, and to that union was born a daughter. Although not married at the time of his death, Darwin enjoyed time spent with special friends at area dances in the last years of his life.
He is survived by his children, mostly all from Iowa: Diana Kramer (Dan Stark) of Leon, Donna (Kevin) Blair of Griswold, Jeffery (Tamera) Holtmyer of Knightstown, Indiana, Jerry (Barbara) Holtmyer of Washington, Denise (Michael) Peiffer of Washington, Debra (Marty) Vohs of Moville, and Rita Holtmyer, of Fort Madison; one brother Lee Holtmyer (Martha), New Virginia; a sister Judy Bullis of Winterset, and a sister-in-law, Pat Ashley of Las Vegas, Nevada; 14 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, an adopted brother Lyle Ashley, and granddaughter Mamie Blair.
Beatty Funeral Home in Washington is handling the Arrangements. In lieu of flowers, the family has set up a general memorial fund; condolences can be sent to Jerry Holtmyer, 415 S 9th Ave, Washington, IA 52353.
So sorry for your loss.I was acquainted with your dad in our office--he could be cantankerous and funny in the space of a half hour.We had many conversations and I'll miss them, especially when his eyes twinkled and his smile glowed (or when he said "I'm not mad at you, but....").His pain has passed and he's at peace now.
G. JoAnn Collins Jun 25 2014 12:00 AM
Your dad was a natural born teacher. Craig learned so much from him and appreciated how hard your dad worked.Darwin recognized how difficult it was for someone to get started in farming and always offered words of encouragement to both of us.Our thought are with all of you .
Craig and Ruth Bolinger Jun 24 2014 12:00 AM
So sorry to hear of your loss. I knew Darwin and Jeanette and several of the older kids for years. Darwin bred our cattle for several years. We spent lots of time at Darwin and Jeanettes house. He was quite a fellow. We had a lot of fun together. He will be missed.Charlotte and Kevin and Kris Frisbie.
Charlotte Frisbie Jun 24 2014 12:00 AM
Sorry for your loss.
Randy Allen Jun 22 2014 12:00 AM