In loving memory of

George S. Ronek
April 23, 1936 - January 9, 2022

George Sylvester Ronek, 85, passed away January 9, 2022, at his winter home in New River, AZ. A Celebration Of Life will be held later this spring in Maquoketa.

George was born April 23, 1936, in St Donatus, IA, son of Otto J. and Viola E. (Oswald) Ronek.

He worked on a dairy farm before serving in the Navy. He worked at John Deere, Dubuque, until 1986, then farmed until his death.

He married the love of his life, Mary (Head) McPherson in 1985 and together raised, trained and raced Standardbred harness horses, including the Iowa 2 Year Old Pacer Of The Year. Later in their lives they changed their breeding program to Miniature Horses and raised a World Champion Mare and Foal.

George enjoyed spending time with family and friends, side x side riding, playing cards, working with horses, camping and traveling; especially trips made to the Adirondack Mountains, Florida, Mexico and cruises to the Caribbean and Alaska.

He was preceded in death by his parents; four brothers; two sisters and 3 brothers-in-law.

He is survived by wife Mary, son Jeff Ronek of Marengo, daughter Michelle Moore of Waterloo, step sons Tim (Jean) McPherson, Jim (Kristy) McPherson, and Scott (Brenda) McPherson; grandchildren Ben (Tristan) Vernon, Jon (Nicole) Vernon, Micaela (Brandon) Kemp, Dominick McPherson, Bridget (Jerit) Clark, and 9 close great grandchildren; a brother Dale Kennicker of Delmar; brothers-in-law Frank (Fran) Head of New River, AZ, and Bob (Joanne) Head of Maquoketa; sisters-in-law Peggy Head-Costello, and Lois Ronek; and several nieces and nephews, including a special nephew Terry McAllister.

Online condolences may be left at


Wendy Scott wrote on Jan 13, 2022:

"Mary; Denny & I are so sorry to hear of George's passing. He was always fun to spend time with during Kiwanis activites. Hi smile will be missed. God be with you during this great sadness."

Barb wrote on Jan 12, 2022:

"George oh how i am going to miss you that smile the conversations the hugs. You touched my heart so much an meant more to me then you could know. I was always sad to see you leave for Arizona but I was even more excited when you an Mary would come back through the door at the Restrauant. I am so very thankful an grateful I got to see you one last time before you left I got my last smile my last hug I will hold that in my heart forever I know you are riding those horses up there in heaven I?m not going to say goodbye for you will live in my heart forever thanks for being such a special part of my life. Mary an family I am covering you all in my theory an prayers I am so sorry "

Rusty and Renne Lietz wrote on Jan 12, 2022:

"George was a great softball cheerleader! Along with Tim, Rusty, and others, he sat on the sidelines and coached Mary and friends for many years! Just one of the memories of good times with George that made us all laugh. He even talked me into milking a goat, totally a "George-thing"! We have a lot of memories to remind us upon that great smile."

Kenny and Peggy Head-Costello wrote on Jan 12, 2022:

"Our sincerest concondolences to Mary, family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. There are so many great memories shared with George and Mary. Family functions, horse back riding on the beach in Mexico (Jorge in his poncho and sombrero), Jim buying a limo just to pick you all up at the airport in Phoenix, the horse races, lots of card games around Hazel's kitchen table after church services. George, you are one of the great ones. Give all of our family members up there our love and hope Jim, and Mick have your favorite beverage in hand. "