Steven Thomas Rusley
Heaven gained a kind-hearted man with a shoulder-moving hearty chuckle when Steven Thomas Rusley, 53, rural Lake Mills, passed away Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 at Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa, Mason City. Steve was hospitalized with a brain bleed. Visitation will be Monday, Feb. 12, from 5-7 p.m. at Mittelstadt Funeral Home, Lake Mills and will continue one hour prior to the service at the church. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13, at Winnebago Lutheran Church, rural Lake Mills, with Pastor Bill Peters officiating. Burial will be in the Winnebago Lutheran Church Cemetery.
Steven Thomas Rusley was born March 16, 1964 to Stanley and Alvina (Beck) Rusley at Park Hospital, Mason City.
Steve lived all his life on the family farm established in 1869. Steve was looking forward to the summer of 2019, to be able to celebrate receiving the Heritage Farm award at the Iowa State Fair. This will recognize the family farm being owned for 150 years.
At a very young age, Steve remembers holding onto his dad’s pant legs, walking thru the cattle yard amongst such large livestock. As the years progressed, Steve graduated with many life-long friends from Lake Mills High School, Class of 1982. While in school Steve participated in various sports and a member of FFA. Steve was a member of the Mount Valley Ramblers boy’s 4-H club.
In July of 1981, Steve won Champion Individual Market Hog and Grand Champion Pen of Three at the Winnebago County Fair, Thompson. This was the first year the fair stopped giving out trophies and instead only gave out ribbons. Steve always remembered this, so 30 plus years later, on his birthday, his family presented him with a trophy inscribed with his winning credentials hoping to settle this.
After high school, Steve went to college and graduated in 1984, with a degree from NIACC’s Farm Agriculture Program. Steve started farming full-time raising pigs in earlier years and crop farming corn and soybeans with his dad, which he has continued to do till present. Steve liked to see the budding of trees in the spring, because it was time for another farm planting and harvest season to begin. Steve valued the special bond over the years that existed between him and the retired farmers, who entrusted him to run their acres.
Steve was loyal to the GMC pickup and John Deere Farm equipment. Green and yellow is what should be in the field, except he did own an International 496 disk, which he admits they got right. The first tractor he bought and still owns and insists that tractor will never leave this farm, was a John Deere 4440 from his uncle Kermit. Steve and his dad restored their John Deere 4020 for tractor rides. One in Christ Lutheran Parish established and held a tractor ride for many successful years, everyone thought Linda came up with this, but it was Steve’s idea, Linda only delivered the message.
Steve was baptized and confirmed at Winnebago Lutheran Church. Now part of One In Christ Parish, he considered himself fortunate to be a lifelong member amongst church member friends. He participated in Luther League in youth, church council member and cemetery board committee.
Steve treasured at a young age, neighborhood kids getting together to ride snowmobiles, dirt motorcycles and three wheelers. Three-wheelers with bubble tires turned into four-wheeler ATVs, which he took many trips, as well as snowmobile trips with friends to Wisconsin. Steve commented often “I have the best friends a person could ever have.” He also felt that way about the neighborhood and farming community he lived and worked in and around, lending a helping hand when needed. With family, friends and neighbors Steve liked to pull a prank or a joke with an accomplished grin and smile.
Steve’s pride was being able to introduce and teach Jace about farming, how to operate his machinery, ride snowmobile, dirt motorcycle and four wheelers. Steve’s biggest “kick” over the years has been to watch Jace doing all that he taught him to do, “Nothing Runs better than Jace in a John Deere.”
Steve is survived by his dad, Stanley Rusley; sister and brother-in-law, Linda and Alan Johnson; nephew, Jace Johnson; first cousins, all older, who are like siblings with a world turned upside down saying goodbye to the youngest; second and third cousins, so cherished; and brother-in-law’s father, Orville Johnson.
Steve was preceded in death by his mom in 2003; paternal and maternal grandparents prior to his birth, which he always wished he could have known; all his aunts and uncles so dear; and brother-in-law’s mom, Sharon Johnson.