Obituary of Wayne J. Lahr
Wayne Joseph Lahr, 83, of Worthington, Iowa passed away on Monday, December 19, 2022 at Stonehill Health Center, Dubuque, Iowa, after a battle with Parkinson’s Disease.
Visitation will be held 9-10:45 a.m., Wednesday, December 28, 2022, at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Worthington, Iowa.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m., Wednesday, December 28, 2022 at St. Paul’s Catholic Church with burial in the church cemetery. Rev. Chris Podhajsky will officiate. Military honors will be accorded by American Legion Post #528.
At Wayne’s request, a celebration of life ceremony and dinner will be held immediately following the burial, at the Dubuque Shooting Society, located at 10380 US-52, Dubuque, Iowa.
Wayne was born January 18, 1939, in Monticello, Iowa, the son of Raymond and Delores (Westhoff) Lahr. He worked on the family farm from a young age, and enjoyed hunting, trapping, baseball and boxing. After high school (St. Paul’s) he joined the U.S. Army and served for 20 years. Wayne traveled widely, living in various stateside and international postings, and in 1977 returned to Iowa to begin farming near Wayne’s hometown of Worthington, Iowa. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC.
Wayne served with distinction in several elite Airborne and Special Forces units throughout his military career (101st Airborne Division, 82nd Airborne Division, 7th Special Forces Group, 77th Special Forces Group, 5th Special Forces Group, and 10th Special Forces Group). He served two combat tours in Vietnam and was deployed to two other hostile fire zones (Dominican Republic and Greece/Turkey). While in Vietnam with the 5th Special Forces Group, he was assigned to Eagle Flight and MIKE Force, where he trained and led indigenous Montagnard tribes. He repeatedly distinguished himself during combat operations and was recognized for valor with the Silver Star, Bronze Star (Valor Device-two awards), Combat Infantry Badge, and various South Vietnamese Military Awards. He was a fierce warrior; his Commander said the Montagnards thought Wayne had special powers, because of his leadership and success. He was wounded during combat operations in the Ia Drang Valley, where he earned the Purple Heart. Wayne received a Direct (Field) Commission to Lieutenant. He retired with the rank of Major.
After farming for a decade, the Nation called him to serve again. Following the Dayton Peace Accords between Israel and Egypt, the U.S. formed an organization to monitor and enforce the treaty (Multinational Force and Observers). Wayne was selected to serve in an elite element of this organization, the Civilian Observer Unit (COU). Here he served for nearly 10 years (1987-1996), becoming an expert in desert operations and rising to become Chief of the COU. He was recognized with several commendations, including the Director General’s Award for Excellence. An excerpt from the citation reads, “Wayne Lahr is a remarkable man who has brought a wealth of common sense, consummate professionalism and good humor to the Unit.”
After leaving the Sinai, he returned to his farm and to his passions: bass fishing, rod building, and taking family and friends fishing. He regularly competed in fishing tournaments on his Ranger bass boat, until Parkinson’s Disease prevented him from doing so.
Wayne is remembered as an intelligent, noble and kind man, who was generous with his time and attentions. He was a natural leader, true patriot, loving father, good neighbor, loyal friend, and a mentor to many. He and former wife, Heidi, had three children, 12 grandchildren, and three greatgrandchildren (so far). Wayne inspired a legacy of service to the Country – two sons and six grandchildren served in the Army or Department of Defense. He was well-loved, cherished and revered by his family. His honored namesake is carried on by children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. He will be missed.
Wayne is survived by his three children: Steven (Debra) Lahr of Port Charlotte, FL, Angela (Paul) Flynn of Dubuque, IA, and Gregory (Sherry) Lahr of Fayetteville, NC; grandchildren: Sasha Lahr, Tessa (Brandon) Cawley, Wyatt Lahr, Weston (Yvonne) Lahr, Travis Lahr, Maxwel Flynn, Chandler (Mark) Schemmel, Mason Flynn, Charlotte Flynn, Josephine Lahr, Sophia Lahr, and Jackson Lahr; greatgrandchildren: Kennedy Cawley, Owen Cawley, Wayne Lahr; former wife, Heidi (Harold) Knowles of Ellerslie, GA; sister: Patricia (Robert) Wolfe of Dubuque, IA; in-laws: Rosemary (Robert) Lahr, Lois (Harold) Lahr, and Alfred Ortlauf of Columbus, GA.
Wayne was preceded in death by his parents Raymond and Delores; brothers: Robert Lahr of Manchester, IA, Harold Lahr of Earlville, IA, and Herman Lahr of Worthington, IA; sister in-law: Beverly (Herman) Lahr.
Wayne also leaves behind his dear neighbors on Roling Road, especially Don (MaryEllen) Wolfe, and Pat (Lois) Steger; and his Army buddies, Wayne Steffen of Springhill, FL, and Lloyd Smith of Dubuque, IA.
Online condolences may be left for the family at www.kramerfuneral.com or send cards to Kramer Funeral Home 750 – 12th Ave SW, Dyersville, Iowa 52040 in care of the deceased name. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in his honor to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s (Disease) Research.