Dustin Pope, affectionately known as Panda, was born on December 17, 1990 in Denison, Iowa. He was the son of Keith "Shorty" and Marcia (Kluver) Pope. He was baptized and confirmed at Bethel Lutheran Church in Kiron. He attended Odebolt-Arthur High School, where he graduated in 2009.
For many years, Dustin was a farmhand at Waldemar Farms while still in high school and continued there until he began his truck driving career. He began driving for Hoefling Trucking until he purchased his first truck and Pope Trucking was born. He built his business and eventually it was necessary for him to stay off the road and dispatch. At that time, he began to dabble in custom cattle feeding and Pope Cattle was formed. Dustin worked hard and he played hard. He would give you the shirt off his back and had friends all over the United States from his trucking adventures. He was happiest in the driver's seat of one of his trucks or on a tractor out among the cattle.
On Monday, May 15, 2023, Dustin passed away suddenly at his farm in Schleswig at the age of 32 years, leaving behind a legacy of laughter and kindness. Dustin was a cheerful individual with a distinct personality who was never ashamed to display it. He had a great sense of humor and was always ready for a laugh. He will greatly be missed by his family and many friends.
He was preceded in death by both his parents, Keith "Shorty" and Marcia Pope; maternal grandfather, Everett Kluver; paternal grandparents: Jack and Betty Pope; aunts: Karen Irlbeck and Donna Kluver; uncles: Kevin Pope who was a second dad to him, Eddie Kluver, and Donald "Butch" Kluver.
Dustin is survived by his aunts: Kathy Pope Diersen and her husband Don of Kiron, Kristy Munden and her husband Jim of Grand Island, Nebraska, and Bonnie Harper and her husband Bill of Denison; maternal grandmother, Phyllis Kluver of Kiron; cousins: Jason, Derrick, Justin, Jordan, Jeremy, Taylor, Jenny, Chad, Eric, and Jake; Dustin's four-legged companion, Waffles; along with the Pope Trucking and Pope Cattle family and many friends near and far.
Visitation with Family Greeting Friends will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. with a Celebration of Life to follow at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, 2023 at the Huebner Funeral Home in Denison. Interment will be in the Bethel Cemetery in Kiron. Memorials may be directed to the family.
The family has requested all guests in attendance to dress casually and wear their "Pope" brand clothing.
Blue Shaffer wrote on May 18, 2023:
"I finally got to meet Dustin in Big Spring, Colorado. I had just delivered a load of feeders from VA to Imperial, Nebraska when Desmond Grady called me to see if I'd help get his load off the road and deliver the fats to Ft Morgan. I dropped mine at the Ogallala stockyards. I'd do it all over again just to shake his hand once more. Rest in peace cowtrucker, your friend Blue"
Roger Hickerson wrote on May 17, 2023:
"Dustin you were a good friend to talk to and give advice from R.IP buddy my thoughts and prayers go out to your family "
Joey Hoefling wrote on May 17, 2023:
"Dustin, your smile, laugh, videos, and love for people will be missed. I am humbly grateful that our Lord blest me with you in my life. You are such a genuine person. I pray that our good Lord is holding you in his loving arms and that you now understand how much you are loved. Rest in peace my beautiful friend!"
Jodi loomis wrote on May 17, 2023:
"Dustin you had a short time in our lives and I?m thankful that my daughter Kelly & boys got to have you in their lives. I enjoyed our visits face to face and on the phone, I believed in you and I knew you were a good person ?? I pray you are at peace and are surrounded with hugs from your family in heaven , you will always be the one I called Iowa, and blue bibber? you will be deeply missed from all who knew you from montana! RIP Dustin ??????"