In loving memory of

Ross Clark River
November 22, 1928 - February 22, 2021

Ross Clark River, 92, passed away on Monday, February 22, 2021 at Clover Ridge Place in Maquoketa. He was born on November 22, 1928 to Roy and Lois (Marshall) River on their farm near Chester, Iowa . As Ross always knew how to make an entrance, his mother was in the middle of butchering a hog when he let her know it was time to be born.

He attended high school in LeRoy, Minnesota and later Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa where he met his wife of 68 years, Vivian (Mukin) River. They married March 25, 1951. Three days later, they left for Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, where Ross served as a First Lieutenant.

In 1953 they settled in Maquoketa, Iowa where they raised their five children and lived the rest of their lives. Ross was a lifelong farmer and agricultural salesman. He owned and ran a feed mill and chicken hatchery and later began selling Harvestores and Wick Buildings. His career with Wick Buildings lasted over 60 years.

Ross had originally wished to continue farming upon his graduation from high school, but his father sold the farm, telling Ross that he wanted him to go to college and "have a better life." However, Ross persisted with his own farming, demonstrating that you can take the farm from the boy, but you can't take the farm out of the boy. Later in life, one of Ross's small farms, where he raised a few cattle, was referred to as "The Rossarosa."

Ross is survived by one daughter, Sue River; two sons, Bruce (Chris) River and Dave (Paula) River; grandchildren, Peyton River, Carter River, Ben Buchner, Amanda (Tyler) Fleck, Ashley River and Robert River; one great-grandchild, Hallie Harrison; a sister, Donna Cook; a sister-in-law, Dora River and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Roy and Lois River; his wife, Vivian; daughters, Jean River and Kay River; brother, Dale River; sister, Ruth Robinson; brother-in-law, Roland Robinson and brother-in-law, Forrest Cook.

A private family service will be held to honor Ross. The service will be livestreamed on the First United Methodist Church Facebook page at Memorials may be made to the Maquoketa First United Methodist Church or the Maquoketa FFA.

The Carson Celebration of Life Center in Maquoketa is caring for the family. Please feel free to call with notes of support or leave words of comfort on the funeral home website at


Mary A McAllister and John Melvold wrote on Mar 5, 2021:

"We are so sorry for your loss."

Sheila Bentley wrote on Mar 4, 2021:

"To the River\'s family I express my deepest sympathy. Ross and Vivian were a great couple and they were dedicated to their community, and church. They will be missed by many. Sheila Bentley"

Angel Schiffer wrote on Mar 1, 2021:

"Lots of memories of Ross ( and Vivian) and the whole family. Our deepest sympathy for your loss. ~ Angel, Wyatt, Kyle Schiffer and Paul Potter. "

Elaine A. Luett wrote on Mar 1, 2021:

"We will miss our long time friend but know he was ready to join his dear wife, Vivian, and daughters Kay and Jean. His visits, phone calls, and letters were always welcome. Ross and Dave could always talk about cattle and sometimes a little politics on the side. He was always concerned about us and shortly before his death wrote us a beautiful letter. Little did we know at that time that he was bidding us farewell. Heaven gained our friend, but we still have the memories. May he rest in peace."

Denny Burzlaff wrote on Mar 1, 2021:

"May you now be in peace with Vivian at your side Thank you for being my friend, mentor to many and like a father to me. I will miss seeing you pull up the driveway and our many talks of busines and life in general. Thanks for being so kind to my children. You where a great supporter of our community and will be missed greatly ! I believe you showed up at every dinner, benifit, show and local sports event. Im proud to have known you."

Connie Hute wrote on Feb 28, 2021:

"Dear Paula and Dave, I was just checking Facebook and saw your father?s obituary. He was always involved in agriculture and all the farmers knew him including my folks. My most sincere sympathy and prayers that God will ease your pain and give you peace. Blessings to your whole family. "

rob rotman wrote on Feb 28, 2021:

"Sue,I am so sorry.We have shared s o much in our lives. I know your mom an d Dad are sayin to Rogers and hammerstein, when our daughter, Kay died.,her friend bobby rotman,sent us the words to youll never walk alone,and that song,helped us a great deal.peace love rob "

Ruth Clayton-Davis wrote on Feb 28, 2021:

"I had the privilege of being Ross? Honor Flight guardian to DC. He was a humble veteran who told me he never left the States (except maybe Mexico when he wasn?t supposed to be there!), so didn?t think he deserved to be on that Honor Flight. I assured him that he wore the uniform and did his part to serve. I sure enjoyed my day with him and even visited him with my husband at his business later."

Allen & Carolyn Oltmanns wrote on Feb 28, 2021:

"River family you have our sympathy. Always enjoyed our visits with Ross. He was always a great supporter Of Ag. Maquoketa area youth.And the Cyclones. Donated blood at the Delmar Lions blood drive until recently. Allen & Carolyn Oltmanns"

Roger & Twila Hingtgen wrote on Feb 28, 2021:

"Dear River family, sorry to hear of the passing of Ross. Always enjoyed visiting with him. He and Vivian were great neighbors (twice). We know they are deeply missed."

James Derganz wrote on Feb 27, 2021:

"Extending my most heartfelt sympathy to the River family!"

Cindy Daniels wrote on Feb 27, 2021:

"Rivers Family, So sorry to hear of the passing of Ross. He was a very nice man. So lost after the passing of Vivian, may they be together again. My thoughts and prayers are with you."

Sheryl Wiggins wrote on Feb 27, 2021:

"I am so very sorry to hear this. I know Dad thought the world of both Ross and Vivian and I bet they are continuing their conversations and solving the world's problems , just as they did for 50 years. Sheryl and Terri Wiggins"

James Derganz wrote on Feb 27, 2021:

"Extending my most heartfelt sympathy to Ross's family!"

Kirk Scheckel wrote on Feb 27, 2021:

"Dear River Family, We are so sad to learn the news of Ross' passing. I've known Ross as an employer and fraternity brother (generations apart); and a counselor in starting my professional life. Ross was a lamb and a lion; kind to everyone and willing to stand up for his beliefs. Worthy son of Adelante, here's to thee! Kirk and Christina Scheckel"

jerry&jillane renner wrote on Feb 27, 2021:

"rest in peace ross,also all the river family are in our thoughts and prayers-jerry& jillane renner"

Joan (Saunders) Ringgenberg wrote on Feb 27, 2021:

"Was very saddened to hear of your loss; deepest condolences to your family."

Sue Cook wrote on Feb 27, 2021:

"Sorry for your loss Ross and Vivian and family were so great to our Franzen Family. Hugs to all. Lee Sue Brad Ashley and Cassie "

Kathleen McCloy wrote on Feb 26, 2021:

"Many memories, many tears and many smiles as you celebrate his life. Many prayers to all his family!"

Judy Bowling wrote on Feb 26, 2021:

"My sincere condolences to the River family in the loss of Ross."

Tom Devine wrote on Feb 26, 2021:

"It is with great sadness I learned of Ross?s passing. What a great Genteman, Pioneer, Steward and Contributor, Ross was to this world and HIS community. Ross always had a smile on his face, an upbeat attitude, and a good story to tell. You will genuinely be missed my friend and I always considered it a priveledge to call you Friend. My sympathies to the River family and so many good friends he left behind."

Bob & Joan Head wrote on Feb 26, 2021:

"Dear Family, We are sorry to hear of your loss. Please accept our deepest condolences ."

Jerry and LouAnn Hora wrote on Feb 26, 2021:

"Sending our sincere sympathy to the entire River Family. Our family connections with Ross date back to the during the years he was attending Iowa State and done his student teaching in Maquoketa. During that time he lived with my grandparents, Dale and Frances Denlinger and their sons. He was a good friend and will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Jerry and LouAnn Hora and family"

Daine wrote on Feb 26, 2021:

"Keeping you all in my prayers! So sorry for your loss."

Fred & Cindy Nissen Hoffman wrote on Feb 26, 2021:

"Sue, Cindy and I are so very sorry to hear of your dad's passing. He and your mom were truly outstanding members of the Maquoketa community and they both will be fondly remembered. Please accept our most sincere condolences, and know that you and the River family are in our thoughts and prayers."

Sue & Michael Van Buer wrote on Feb 26, 2021:

"Our sincere sympathy to all of Ross' family."

Tom and LuAnne Yearwood wrote on Feb 26, 2021:

"Our condolences to the River family, Ross will definitely be missed in the Post-Frame Construction Industry. Our Prayers to his family!"

Cathie Westhoff Jebsen wrote on Feb 26, 2021:

"I always remember being with Kay and listening to your Dad's jokes! Loved being in the River house. He was a nice man. You all have my sympathy. Cathie (Westhoff) Jebsen"

Nancy and Jordan wrote on Feb 26, 2021:

"Ross was a wonderful guy. He would talk to my grandson about farming. You could talk to him about anything. He will be miss. Nancy"

CHERYL HARTWIG wrote on Feb 26, 2021:


CHERYL HARTWIG wrote on Feb 26, 2021:


Joan and Dave Etringer wrote on Feb 26, 2021:

"So sorry for your families loss."

Fred & Cindy Nissen Hoffman wrote on Feb 26, 2021:

"Sue, Cindy and I were so very sorry to hear of your dad's passing. He and your mom were stellar citizens of Maquoketa and both will be fondly remembered. Please accept are deepest sympathies, and know that you and the River family are in our thoughts and prayers."

Kim & Gil Gee wrote on Feb 26, 2021:

"I always enjoyed talking to Ross at the Wick Building meetings...and at the same time Vivian! He taught me a lot about this business we are in and I will forever remember the knowledge he shared. Our sympathies to his family."

Peter and Kelly Nelles wrote on Feb 25, 2021:

"We are sad to hear of Ross' passing. He always had a big smile, a good story, and a firm handshake. Watching he and my dad dream up our pole barn was a thing to behold. Our prayers and well wishes go out to the family. "

Claudia Bisinger wrote on Feb 25, 2021:

"Our sympathy to the River family. May God comfort you at this time of sorrow. Bob & Claudia Bisinger"

Darrell Kolstad wrote on Feb 25, 2021:

"Ross River was a special man who served thousands of farmers, families and businesses in Iowa. My wife and I are blessed to have known him as a business and family friend. Ross was driven to serve others and to be a successful builder. Ross became a living legend within the building industry. He will always be remembered and honored for his many achievements. May God bless the memories of Ross River. Darrell and Jane Kolstad (on behalf of Wick Building s and the Wick Family)"

kathy and Steve klocke wrote on Feb 25, 2021:

"Ross will be missed. HE was one of a kind."

Patsy wrote on Feb 24, 2021:

"No matter long their day was, Ross and Vivian,they were one.Ross would go 100 mph.Its the last Valentine's Day they will be apart."

Randy and Vickie Kuhlman wrote on Feb 23, 2021:

"Truly a great man. We just loved him, We had missed his usual stops at the dealership for some good talks, before he went to nursing home. He left a legacy of hard work, knowledge and how to treat people. Miss you Ross."

Dr. Paul and Valerie Horst wrote on Feb 23, 2021:

"To the River's family, Valerie and I send our sincerest sympathies to you all over Ross's passing. He was truly a Maquoketa icon and he has left his mark on the Maquoketa community. The River's family has played such a part in our Maquoketa experience. Ross and Vivian spent many hours in our office relating their stories and Ross always had a new idea in mind. I spent countless hours with him while building Ohnward and enjoyed his stories about Maquoketa history. Know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers in the days ahead."