The prairie wind and endless sky out at Salem have soothed many wounds over the course of 150 years as grace and time began their work of healing, but the death of Jessica Luedtke Deemer, 24, who will be buried in the old churchyard today, must surely be the most devastating.
Jessica and a friend, Bryce Mercer, also 24, a native of Gladbrook, were gunned down alongside Highway 14 near Marshalltown late Friday afternoon by Jessica's estranged husband, Kyle Deemer, also a Lucas County native, who apparently had pursued them from Des Moines, then forced them off the road. He is in custody. Bryce's funeral is scheduled for Friday in Gladbrook.
The Des Moines Register, Tuesday, 21 October
Jessica Dawn Luedtke Deemer of Waukee, Iowa, formerly of Chariton, Iowa, died Friday, October 17, 2008, near Marshalltown, Iowa, at the age of 24.
Jessica was born in Iowa City, Iowa on July 17, 1984, to Kevin and Lori (Greubel) Luedtke. She was raised on a farm near Chariton along with Jason, her brother, and Jamie, her sister.
Jessica attended school at Russell Community School until her sophomore year and transferred to Chariton High School. She was a dedicated student and loved to learn. Jessica graduated salutatorian from Chariton High School in 2002. She had completed enough college courses and entered into Indian Hills Community College as a sophomore. In 2003, Jessica earned her associate degree and went on to further her education at Simpson College in Indianola. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business marketing in 2005.
Many memories were made during Jessica’s high school years as she worked her first job in the pumpkin fields with her family. She also worked at Double Dip for Annie and Becca where Jessica was a very dedicated and loved employee. At the time of her death Jessica was employed at Principal Financial in Des Moines as a compliance associate.
Jessica had one son, Ty Deemer, age 6. Above all, her greatest joy was being Ty’s mom. She had a big heart and would sacrifice all for those she loved. Jessica was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside.
Jessica was a genuine friend to all. She was a natural when it came to decorating. Whether it was a friend’s wedding cake or painting Ty’s room, her creativity was endless. She has always loved to exercise and recently began biking and running. This past year Jessica participated in RAGBRAI, the Dam to Dam Run, and Living History Farms Race. She enjoyed the challenge and was always the one encouraging her friends along the way.
Jessica is survived by her son, Ty, her parents, Kevin and Lori Luedtke, brother Jason Luedtke, sister Jamie Luedtke, all of Chariton, Iowa; grandparents: Bob and Colene Greubel, Lacona, Iowa, Orville and Joy Luedtke, Des Moines, Iowa, Joan and Bill Elliott, Indianola, Iowa; great grandparents: Paul and Veda Miller, Lacona, Iowa; mother-in-law, Brenda Rumley, Chariton, Iowa; sister-in-law, Ashley Rumley, Ottumwa, Iowa; grandmother Wilma Deemer, Lucas, Iowa; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
Services will be held Wednesday, October 22, 2008 at 10:30 a.m. at Pierschbacher Funeral Home in Chariton, Iowa, with Pastor Eric Hann and Pastor Paul Olson officiating. Burial in Salem Cemetery in Lucas County, Iowa.
The family asks that memorials be made to Ty Deemer Trust Fund. Online condolences may be left at www.pierschbacherfuneralhome.com.
Jessica grew up on a farm two miles across the fields east of Salem. Her mother, Lori, a letter carrier, often delivers the mail in my neighborhood in Chariton. Her great-grandfather, Paul Miller, 95, is the oldest living member of my late mother's extended family. I last saw him three years ago at my father's funeral here at Salem.
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. (Book of Common Prayer, the order for Compline).