IWHOF News Articles

Don Gooder, Passes

CRESCO – Donald “Don” Edward Gooder, age 86, of Cresco, Iowa, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, at Evans Memorial Home surrounded by his family.A Mass of Christian burial will be held at Notre Dame Catholic Church on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, at 11 a.m. with Father Jacob Rouse officiating. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery. Visitation will be held at Notre Dame Church on Thursday, Sept. 26 from 4-8 p.m., followed by a prayer service. Visitation will continue at the Church beginning at 9:30 a.m. prior to the service on Friday. Hindt-Hudek Funeral Home is assisting the family.

Don was born on Aug. 31, 1933, to Niles and Ruth (Slifka) Gooder in Waterloo, Iowa, and was raised by a single mother, his grandmother and two uncles. He graduated from Cresco High School in 1951, served in the United States Marines, and married Rose Ella “Rosie” Slifka on Sept. 19, 1953, at Assumption Catholic Church in Cresco.
Though Don was raised in town, he and Rosie began their marriage with a short stint in farming. This was the first of a long list of entrepreneurial endeavors related to agriculture, real estate and business development in which Don pursued his desire to succeed.

Influenced by many people in the Cresco community as a young man, he enjoyed crediting much of his success to the guidance he received from numerous local mentors including Arnie Kratz, Neil McKone, Bob Howard, Ralph Fitzgerald and George Laub, as well as many others who all shared a passion for Cresco’s success. Don loved his community and wanted it to thrive, creating phrases such as “Cresco, the heart of the nation,” meaning every word.

At the age of 29, he purchased a Ford franchise in Cresco, later building it into a “state of the art” dealership. During this time, Don’s interests and involvements included stock cars, snowmobiles and quarter midget racing with the boys. In 1972 Don and Rosie decided to pursue farming, when a family farm in Vernon Springs was listed for sale. In character, Don went against the grain, deciding to focus on a commercial sheep operation, which over time evolved into purebred Columbia and Rambouillet sheep flocks. The success of this enterprise led to winning Premier Breeder at the International Livestock Exposition five times along with numerous other awards and recognitions. In addition, Don earned his broker license to pursue his life-long interest in real estate. For decades he held the Iowa state record for the largest farm land transaction.

In the early 1970s, Don helped found Cresco Industrial Development Corporation (CIDC), became its first director and helped to lead the growth of Cresco industry to an all-time high. A few of the businesses included Donaldson, ADS Plastics, and other businesses throughout the county.

Cresco’s reputation as one of the country’s leading trailer manufacturing centers is the direct result of the couple’s successful sheep business because of their need to transport sheep to eastern markets. Realizing the potential of aluminum livestock trailers, Don convinced Roy Culp to partner with him to build the Featherlite plant. Don told him, “I will take every trailer you can build.” As a result, Don Gooder Distributing became the nation’s largest dealer of aluminum stock and horse trailers for many years. In years to come, this business evolved into Alum-Line, which from the start has involved two of his sons. Don’s business legacy in Cresco lives on.

In retirement, the couple owned a second home on the Mississippi River in Guttenburg, Iowa, where he was again developing real estate including retail buildings and homes.

Throughout his life, Don enjoyed pushing boundaries, taking risks and leading by example. This “no fear” attitude led to his development of numerous professional and community ventures. In part this included Heritage Supper Club, Sport Hut, founding of Driftrunners and Snow Fest, Ag Fest and leadership involvement with community organizations such as Jaycees, Centennial Committee, Chamber, Church Council, Hospital Board, Historical Society, Fair Board, and the list goes on.

He is well-known for his passion and connection to amateur wrestling. Attendance at the NCAA Division I Championship started with him and friends following Cresco native, Tom Peckham’s notable career. As a testament to Don’s love for the sport of wrestling, he was the last surviving founder of the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Don was known for his one-of-a-kind personality, relentless work ethic, commitment to excellence, affectionate humor and living life to its fullest. His crowning achievements however, are exemplified in his devotion to family and friends, and his life-long love and commitment to his wife of 66 years, Rosie. As he loved to say, “Enough said!”

Don is survived by his wife, Rosie of Cresco; children, Patrick (Becky) Gooder of Decorah, Iowa and their children, Shay Gooder, Chris (Coletta) Gooder and children, Adelina, Leo, and Judelyn and Dakota (Bryce) Hruska and daughter, Arietta; Michael (Rachel) Gooder of Cresco and their children, Abby (Dan) Inglis and son, Wyatt, and John (Molly) Gooder and daughter, Ella; Gary (Sara) Gooder of Cresco and their children, Sydney Gooder-Hayes and children, Paxton and Summer, Josie (Brian) Hrdlicka and daughter, Maelyn, and Sierra Gooder; Lee (Jill) Gooder of Cresco and their children, Shelley (Joe) Marshall and Zach (Katie) Gooder and daughter, Autumn; and Gay Duroe of Cresco. He is also survived by a brother, Ross “Bill” Gooder of Cresco.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Niles and Ruth; a son in infancy, John Gooder; and son-in-law, Michael Duroe.

View Full Recap

2019 Border Battle will take place March 9, 2018

Friday, March 9th is the annual Border Battle hosted by the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Tickets $6.00/person.

View Full Recap

2018 IWHOF Banquet will take place April 9, 2018

The Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame’s sole purpose is the promotion of amateur wrestling in Iowa. Open to the public, April 9, 2018 is the Banquet and Induction Ceremony. Call 563.547.3434 to reserve your tickets.

We have a rich history of honoring native Iowans at our annual awards banquet and induction ceremony. The original banquet was held in 1970. When we concluded the 48th annual awards banquet on April 10, 2017, at the Cresco Country Club, our roster of inductees included 125 outstanding individuals for their contributions to amateur wrestling.

View Full Recap

Bill Smith Passes

1972 IWHOF inductee Bill Smith passed away Tuesday March 20 at the age of 89.

Thanks to Mark Palmer, InterMat Senior Staff Writer, for allowing us to post this article Mark wrote about Bill Smith for InterMat.

View Full Recap

2018 Inductees

The Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame, located in Cresco, has announced the 2018 inductees. They are Steve Hamilton, Shane Light, Kirk Myers and Lennie Zalesky. The 49th annual banquet is set for Monday April 9th. Social hour starts at 5:30, dinner at 6:30 with the Induction ceremony following.

View Full Recap

Gene Doyle Passes

The Board of Directors of the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame in Cresco wish to extend our deepest sympathies to the family of 2012 inductee Gene Doyle. Gene passed away Sunday January 14th, 2018.

View Full Recap

Hruska Honored

IWHOF Board Member Jerome Hruska was recently inducted into the Creston Wrestling Hall of Fame. Hruska was inducted along with Dylan Long and the 1972 Creston wrestling team. Hruska coached at Creston from 1969-1979. See attached story from the Creston News Advertiser.

View Full Recap

Flanagan, Kettman Inducted into Brand WHOF of IA

Legendary coaches Chris Flanagan and Tom Kettman were inducted into the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame of Iowa on Saturday June 24th. The Brand WHOF is located in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo. Along with family members, Flanagan was represented by some current members of the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame Board of Directors. The IWHOF is located in Cresco, where Flanagan coached. Flanagan coached many of the current board members.

Pictured in front are Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame Members Sandy Stevens, Dan Gable, Chuck Yagla and Bob Siddens. In back are Jim Sovereign and IWHOF board members Jerome Hruska and Chuck Curtis.

View Full Recap

Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame Announces 2017 Inductees

CRESCO, IA: Four worthy and deserving individuals will be inducted into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame in Cresco on Monday, April 10th. Among them is the first woman to be inducted into the IWHOF, and the sixth set of brothers to be inducted. The 48th Annual Awards Banquet and Induction Ceremony will begin with a 5:30 social hour followed by a 6:30 banquet at the Cresco Country Club south of Cresco. Those being inducted are Joel and Justin Greenlee, Mike Mann and Sandy Stevens.

Waverly natives Joel and Justin Greenlee become the 122nd and 123rd inductees into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame, joining five other families with brothers inducted. That impressive group includes Terry and Tom Brands, Jim and Joe Gibbons, Dave and Paul Martin, Don and Harold Nichols and Doug and Mark Schwab. Both Joel and Justin were state champions at Waverly, All-Americans at UNI, and successful international competitors. Joel attained fourth and second place NCAA finishes, while Justin was eighth, second, and second in his three NCAA trips. Joel is in his 20th year as the head wrestling coach at Ohio. Justin is a research veterinary pathologist for the USDA at the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, IA.

The 124th inductee into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame is Mike Mann. Mike won a state championship wrestling at Marshalltown High School in 1978. He followed that up at Iowa State University with seventh, fourth, second, and second place finishes in the NCAA tournament. He won 113 matches as a Cyclone, was a 1981 Midlands champion and a 1983 Big 8 champion. Mike is the head wrestling coach at Marshalltown High School, where he’s coached since 2012.

Sandy Stevens becomes the 125th inductee in the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame. Sandy has been behind the mic at every level of wrestling competition. She’s announced at state and national championships for Kids, Cadets, Juniors, Espoir, and many state and national high school championships. She did the NCAA D1 tournament 34 years, has been the announcer for the Midlands, Senior World Championships, Pan Am Championships, and the Olympics Games. Sandy received the Order of Merit from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1998, and many other accolades across the USA and the world.

Banquet tickets are available at the Cresco Chamber of Commerce (563-547-3434) and CIA Insurance in Cresco (563-547-2382). Tickets are $25 and advance registration is required.

The Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame’s sole purpose is the promotion of amateur wrestling in Iowa. The IWHOF has a rich history of honoring native Iowans at our annual awards banquet and induction ceremony. The inaugural banquet was held in 1970. When we conclude the 48th annual awards banquet on April 10, 2017, our roster of inductees will included 125 outstanding individuals for their contributions to amateur wrestling.

View Full Recap

Sherwyn Thorson Passes

Sherwyn Thorson, inducted into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2007, passed away peacefully at his home Wednesday April 6th, 2016. He was 75.

View Full Recap

Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame Announces 2016 Inductees

CRESCO, IA: A diverse group of individuals will be inducted into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame in Cresco on Monday, April 11. Their careers span over 50 years. You’ll recognize them as competitors, coaches and a broadcaster. The 47th Annual Awards Banquet and Induction Ceremony will begin with a 5:30 social hour followed by a 6:30 banquet at the Cresco Country Club south of Cresco. Those being inducted are Rick Caldwell, Jim Duschen,Tim Johnson and Mark Reiland.

Knoxville native Rick Caldwell becomes the 118th inductee into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame. Caldwell was a two-time All-American for IWHOF inductee Al Baxter at Buena Vista University. Following graduation form BVU, Caldwell started a coaching career that took him to the highest levels. He coached at BGM-Brooklyn, Iowa Falls and Ames before settling in at Waverly in 1988. In Waverly he was an assistant at Wartburg under IWHOF inductee Jim Miller until 1999, when he took over the Waverly-Shell Rock coaching duties. In 12 years at WSR his teams won 14 state team trophies, including nine state championships (five traditional and four dual), coached 20 Go-Hawk state champions and twice had four state champions in the same year. The Waverly-Shell Rock 2008 team set an all-time, all-class record of 225 points at the traditional state tournament.

East Waterloo’s Jim Duschen is the 119th inductee into the IWHOF. Duschen prepped at East Waterloo, and wrestled collegiately at Iowa State. While at ISU, he earned two Big 8 Championships, a Midlands Championship, All-American honors and was captain of the 1969 ISU National Championship team. Following his career at ISU, Duschen claimed two National Greco Roman Championships, was a ’72 Olympic alternate, and made the ’73 World team. Following his competitive years, he started a successful coaching career that spanned 30 years, from Iowa to Nevada. Duschen is regarded as the dean of high school wrestling in Nevada.

The 120th inductee into the IWHOF is Eagle Grove native Mark Reiland. Reiland was a four time medalist for Eagle Grove from 1984-1987 while wrestling for his father, IWHOF inductee Marv Reiland. He won state titles his junior and senior years. Reiland followed up his successful high school career with a stellar career wrestling for IWHOF inductee Dan Gable at the U. of Iowa. While a Hawkeye, Reiland became a two-time All-American, winning a National Championship in 1991. Upon graduation, Reiland coached as an assistant at Iowa City West, had a short stint at Solon, and then returned to IC West. At West, Reiland has built a powerhouse. His teams are perennially at the top of the class in Iowa high school wrestling.

The Voice of College Wrestling: that’s Morning Sun native Tim Johnson, the 121st inductee into the IWHOF. Johnson has covered the sport for Iowa Public TV, ESPN, Real Pro Wrestling and the BIG 10 Network. He has worked behind the mic for the past 12NCAA Division I championships. Johnson was the Director of Wrestling for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, and is an executive with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He wrestled at Morning Sun for IWHOF inductee Bob Darrah, and at Coe College. During his five years as coach at Mount Vernon, Johnson coached IWHOF inductee Greg Randall to four state championships.

Banquet tickets are available at the Cresco Chamber of Commerce (563-547-3434), Farmers Mill, Protivin (563-569-8501) and CIA Insurance in Cresco (563-547-2382). Tickets are $25 and advance registration is required.

View Full Recap

Mark Palmer, InterMat: Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame unveils mural

InterMat Senior Writer Mark Palmer shares the news on our new mural!

Follow the link to read his article.

View Full Recap

Iowa Icon: Gotch Up There with Feller, Warner, Gable

Thanks to Mike Chapman for sending us this WHO TV spot on Frank Gotch.

View Full Recap

Stop by the Hall of Fame on Monday, April 14th before you go to the Banquet!

The public is invited to stop in on Monday afternoon, April 14, 2014 to see the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame and maybe get a chance to meet and greet the new Inductees before they head out to the Cresco Country Club for the Banquet.

View Full Recap

2014 IWHOF Border Battle will take place March 7, 2014

CRESCO, IA: The top senior wrestlers from northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota who have completed outstanding high school careers will face off in the 13th annual all-star “Border Battle” dual meet at 7:00 p.m., Friday, March 7 at the Crestwood High School.

“Things are still up in the air as far as who will be wrestling for Minnesota,” stated Dennis Meirick, president of the hosting Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame. “Minnesota just finished their state tournament this weekend and will be putting their team together in the next few days.”

Meirick noted wrestlers from Decorah, Turkey Valley, Osage, South Winneshiek, MFL and Crestwood have committed for the Iowa squad.The Border Battle dual meet record is 6-6 after the Minnesota squad picked up a win last year.

The Minnesota team will consist of senior wrestlers from school districts located in Mower, Fillmore and Houston counties. The Iowa team will consist of seniors from school districts drawing students in from Mitchell, Howard, Winneshiek and Allamakee counties. As in the past, both teams could draw a few wrestlers from outside the boundaries.

Iowa wrestlers who have accepted the invitations include eight state place finishers: 132 pound Hunter Slifka who placed third for Crestwood this year and is a three-time state qualifier; 132 pound Chris Hanke, Osage who placed 7th in 2013; 138 pound Christian Fox of Osage who placed third this year and is a two-time state qualifier; 152 pound Douglas Perrin of Osage who is a two-time state place finisher; 182 pound Nathan Howe of MFL who placed sixth at state this year; 195 pound Christopher Brincks of South Winneshiek who placed second at state this year and fifth in 2013; 285 pound Luke Kuennen of Turkey Valley who placed fifth this year; and 285 pound Austin Ashbacher of Decorah who placed 6th last year and is a three-time state qualifier.

Other wrestlers competing for Iowa include: 145 pound Erick Buckendahl of Turkey Valley; 152 pound Riley Meirick of Turkey Valley;152 pound Cody Ritner of Decorah, 152 pound Isaac Hover of Crestwood, 160 pound Tyler Randall of Osage; 160 pound Charles Hadacek of Turkey Valley; 170 pound Dillon Johnson of Osage; 170 pound Levi Henry of Crestwood; 195 pound Brandon Slifka of Crestwood; and 220 pound Kyle Reicks of Turkey Valley.

“We have to thank the coaches from both Iowa and Minnesota who make this happen every year,” Meirick said. “We really have to scramble to make this happen but it’s always worth it because we do this to honor our seniors who have given so much to our sport. It’s always exciting.”

Border Battle organizers hope to feature about 15 to 20 matches again this year.

View Full Recap
Previous Next