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Our Staff

Our staff's commitment to you

Our staff is committed to providing support, compassion, information, and direction as needed to all members of our community, their families, and friends who are dealing with loss and grief.

 

Click an Image for Biography

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Frank Van Steenhuyse
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Rich Farmer
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Bill Ortgiesen
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Brenda McBride
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Debbie White

Frank Van Steenhuyse

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Frank Van Steenhuyse has been a licensed Funeral Director since1994 and has been a resident of Benton County for most of his life. He grew up on a farm near Mt. Auburn and graduated from Vinton’s Washington High School in 1967. After graduating from Loras College with a degree in biology, Frank spent two years in the Army and a year in Washington D.C., working for the Food and Drug Administration.

He and his wife, Kathy, moved back to Vinton in 1975 to raise their family. Frank became a Funeral Director later in life after deciding he wanted to be a caregiver to his friends and neighbors in Benton County. To that end, he attended Worsham College of Mortuary Science, graduating at the top of his class in 1994.

Frank is active in community life, being a member of the Vinton Country Club, the Viking/Vikette Booster Club, past president and secretary-treasurer of the Vinton Lions Club, and longtime member and past Director of Vinton Unlimited. Frank worships at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Vinton, where he has held numerous offices, taught religious education and is an active lector and communion distributor and a Knights of Columbus member. Frank and his wife Kathy have three children: Todd, Kate and Mark.

Rich Farmer

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A Washington High School and University of Northern Iowa graduate, Rich has been a lifelong resident of Benton County, living in Belle Plaine before moving to Vinton at age 7. He worked as a teacher at the Iowa Braille and Sight-Saving School and Vinton-Shellsburg schools for 34 years. Upon his retirement in 2003, Rich began working as a funeral director assistant. 

Rich has been a very active volunteer, participating in City Council, Electric Board, Knights of Columbus and the Palace Theater. Considering himself a local historian, he’s been active with the Vinton Railroad Depot and Museum, Benton County Historical Society and the Benton County Courthouse 100th Anniversary Committee. He loves giving historical tours of Vinton and the cemetery. He is also an active member of St. Mary’s Parish in Vinton.

Rich’s family consists of his wife Nancy, 5 children and 13 grandchildren, with whom he and Nancy love spending time.

Bill Ortgiesen

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After growing up in northern Illinois and graduating from Freeport High School, Bill spent two years in the United States Army. Following this service, he began a career in retail, first for a Midwest shoe store chain. During this twenty-three year association with Leslie Shoes in Illinois and Iowa, he was later assigned to California, where he opened 10 stores, five in the Bay area and five in the San Diego area.


Moving back to the Midwest, he purchased the Florsheim Store in Westdale Mall then opened William’s Shoe Box. When he decided to retire, he closed William’s Shoe Box in Cedar Rapids, ending 50 years of success in the shoe retail business. Years of customer relations have served him well, in addition to all the customers he has had the joy to assist.


Bill is an active member of the Vinton Lions Club, Vinton Country Club and Wildcat Golf Course. He attends St. Mary’s Church in Vinton. He and his wife Margie enjoy community events and getting together with their five children and families.

Brenda McBride

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Brenda was born and raised in Southern California. After graduating high school she moved to Iowa to attend Iowa State University where she met her husband, Jeremy. She started working in the funeral business in 2012 as an office manager in Ames. Jeremy accepted a job in Cedar Rapids in August 2015, after the birth of their son, Ryder, and the couple moved to the Vinton area. Brenda began to work for Van Steenhuyse- Russell Funeral home in December 2015.

She is a proud mother of her son, Ryder, and adores her "zoo" (as her husband calls it) at home which consists of Stella Banana the dog, Rambo & Binx the cats, Jerry the bunny, and Jinx the fish.

Debbie White

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Debbie has been in the Garrison/Vinton area most of her life. She has been working at Van Steenhuyse Funeral Home since 2019 after she retired as a Certified Medical Assistant at Mercy Care Edgewood.

She is married to Doug White and they have 2 wonderful sons. They have been blessed with 5 grandchildren whom they love to spend time with.
Debbie enjoys reading, doing jigsaw puzzles, and helping other people in her spare time.