- February 11, 2023
Georgene Stapleton, 96, of Cedar Rapids, passed away peacefully on Feb. 8, 2023. Born in Dawson, Iowa, and raised on a farm, she attended Perry High School and Drake University. She graduated with a teacher’s certificate in the late 1940s. Georgene was a Drake Homecoming Queen. She married Keith Stapleton, also of Perry, Iowa, in 1948. They both moved to Los Angeles, where she taught for a year and-a-half in Long Beach before returning to Iowa. They settled in Cedar Rapids to raise children and she taught at Arthur School while Keith entered the practice of law.
Georgene was very active for many decades in Cedar Rapids in civic organizations that included PEO, Junior League, St. Luke’s Hospital Auxiliary and head of Volunteers, Seminole Valley Farmstead where she served as president, Cedar Rapids Art Center and Museum, Cedar Rapids Symphony, Cedar Rapids Library as the story teller in the 1950s, African American Museum, Questers, and a myriad of clubs from Shakespeare to Beethoven and Mozart to Linn Law Wives. She was known to host many parties for daughters of many friends that were expecting or getting married and she stayed active until the last three years of her life.
Georgene traveled the world seeing all of Europe, North Africa and Egypt, Russia, Israel and went back a second and third time to many of these places. She rode camels and elephants, had a cobra placed around her neck to just feel the texture of the animal and was one of the last to go down into King Tut’s Tomb in Egypt. She adored Austria, was fond of Ireland and loved Florence, Italy. Her only regret was not getting to Greece in her lifetime. Georgene also did some modeling in her younger years. She made friends with total strangers in seconds and had an innate and driving curiosity about the world that served her all her life, a lifelong quest of learning. It was part of her character and drive. One particular event she approached in N.Y. the comedian Jack Benny who was ready to dismiss her until he learned she had lunched with his friend Isaac Stern and sat her down to talk. No one intimidated her.
She is survived by her two sons, Kirk (Judy) of St. Louis Park, Minn., and Cort of Cedar Rapids. Her husband, Keith, passed away in 2005. She is also survived by grandchildren, Brooks (Kanesha) Stapleton of Minneapolis, Minn., and Molly (Brian) Stapleton of Chicago, Ill.; a niece, Diane ( Ron) Roybal of Denver Colorado and Dr Alexander (Zeschan B) Roybal of Chicago, Ill., Mallory Roybal of Denver, Colo., and Colin Roybal of Denver, Colo.; and her cousin, Jane Killilea of Yonkers, N.Y.
She was the daughter of the late George and Elizabeth Bristle of Perry, Iowa; and had a younger sister, the late Verna Mae Weber of Golden, Colo.
There will be no service but graveside for the family. She will be cremated and interred in Perry next to her husband.
Georgene worked many years as a second grade teacher at Arthur in the Cedar Rapids Community School District, for Frank Magids and Associates, and as head of volunteers for St. Luke’s Hospital, also serving on its board. Her greatest achievement amongst many was securing Surgicare for the hospital and breaking ground on it with Mayor Canney. She thought it very important for the future of Cedar Rapids. Georgene would want to be remembered for the light she brought to people and the joy she helped create in the form of her many talents and entertainment and for being of service. She was an extremely fine mother.