Iris J. Merfeld

Iris Joan Wegmann Merfeld, age 36, of Zwingle, Iowa, passed away on Saturday, September 18, 2021, at Bellevue State Park in Bellevue, IA.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, September 25th, 2021, at St. Joseph Key West Church with Fr. Lyle Wilgenbusch officiating.

A visitation celebration of Iris’s life and legacy will be held on Friday, September 24, 2021, at Leonard Funeral Home & Crematory, 2595 Rockdale Road. Visitation will be from 3pm – 8pm with a prayer service at 3:00 p.m. The family invites all who knew Iris to attend the celebration of her life.  We ask that you bring stories of how Iris impacted you and ways that she made you smile.  We ask that you plant iris bulbs this fall so that she can blossom every spring and always be a reminder of the color, sparkle, and joy she brought to our lives.

Iris was born on May 20, 1985, to Deborah J. Ritt and Robert G. Wegmann in rural Jackson County, IA. Iris attended Bellevue Public Schools and graduated from Dubuque Senior High School in 2004. Iris was trained as a culinary arts chef and went on to have a successful career cooking and baking with love for her family, friends, and those in need of a good meal. She worked for Aramark Food Services located in the Dubuque Law Enforcement Center in Dubuque, IA.

Iris was a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend to many who love her. In 2014, Iris married Thomas Joe Merfeld. Together they raised two daughters: Zoey Mae Benn (age 13) and Aubrey Sue Merfeld (age 6). Iris is survived by her grandmother, May Wegmann of Sebastian, Florida, her mother “Mama Deb,” of Otter Creek Township, IA, and her 7 brothers and sisters: Jonquil Wegmann Johnston (Darian Johnston of Madison, WI), Duane Wegmann (Paula of Young, New South Wales, Australia), Robert D. Wegmann (Sarah of Ames, IA), Mayrose Wegmann (Conrad Musey of Montclair, NJ), Joseph Wegmann (of Zwingle, IA), Holly Wegmann Fernández  (Jonathan of Milwaukee, WI), and Pommella Wegmann (Nate O’Reilly of Zumbrota, MN). Iris is also survived by her father-in-law, Eldon Merfeld (Connie of Zwingle, IA), brothers-in-law Jay Merfeld (of Dubuque, IA), and Brett Merfeld (Julie of Zwingle, IA), and sisters-in-law, Tresa Heber (Dan of Dubuque, IA) and Jenifer Pickel (Edward of Saint Donatus, IA).

Iris adored her nieces and nephews and always created a place for them to learn, grow, and smile. They are: Aidan, Madeline, Charlotte, Alice, Riley, Allyson, Gael, Nick, Rachel, Mark, Megan, great-niece Mia and great-nephew Becker.

Iris was preceded in death by her father, Robert G. “Pa” Wegmann, mother-in-law Sue (Becker) Merfeld, maternal grandparents Duane “Grumpy” and Carol Ritt, and paternal grandfather Robert “Pop” Wegmann.

Iris was happiest when hosting a party for loved ones, sticking her “toes in the water and butt in the sand,” and enjoying a beautiful sunset over the ocean or from her front yard. She was the life of the party, the friend to call when you needed cheering up, and the sister you reached out to when you needed sound advice. She got up each morning with a positive attitude and worked to make everyone’s day a little bit more sun-filled. She turned a crappy situation into the best time of your life. She made everyone smile with her bubbly and outgoing personality. Her smile lit up the world and her kindness knew no limits. Her dance moves, especially on New Year’s Eve with Luke and the girls, got everyone moving. She loved playing Euchre and Cribbage with Papa Eldie and Tommy Tom. She was fiercely competitive, played to win, and took the rare losses hard until the next game started.

Iris loved being a mother and wife.  She was very proud of her two girls and the women they are becoming.  She took time to teach them the importance of looking on the bright side, the value of hard work, the rewards that come with it, and the significance of being an inspiration to those around us.  As a wife, Iris was thrilled being married to Tom and looked forward to being with him for a lifetime or two or ten.  Tom was her rock and a rock to her entire family.

Donations of support for Zoey and Aubrey can be made on Go Fund Me here:

A memorial fund in Iris’ name will be established at a later date.

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