Rex Louie Vana

Rex Louie Vana

Rex Louie Vana

Cedar Rapids

Rex Louie Vana was born on Aug. 1, 1926, in Montour, Iowa, the middle child of Louis and Violet (Tvedt) Vana. On Thursday, May 11, at the age of 96, he passed away at the Dennis and Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy in Hiawatha, being remembered as a beloved husband, dad and grandpa.

Rex was preceded in death by his parents and

sister and brother-in-law,

Faye and Melvin Lenhart.

He is survived by his wife of nearly 53 years, Sharon; son, Justin of Cedar Rapids; daughter, Marcy (Steve) of St. Louis; grandchildren, Max and Sam of St. Louis; brother, Bill (Barb) of Marshalltown; nieces, Susan (Bill) and Teresa of Montour, Mindy (Mike) of Mitchellville; and nephew, Mick (Lori) of Cedar Rapids.

Rex graduated from Montour High School, a star baseball and basketball player – even having an opportunity to play with the Harlem Globetrotters when they stopped in Montour.

After high school he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, training at the U.S. Naval Air Gunners School in Miami, Fla., and receiving his wings. Upon completion of service, he returned home where he attended junior college in Marshalltown, followed by the University of Iowa where he received his degree. At Iowa he played centerfield on the Hawkeyes baseball team earning his Letterman’s ring and becoming a member of the Letterman’s Club. He also played with the Ansons, a semi-pro baseball team in Marshalltown and coached there at a baseball school. He continued to play basketball for many years as well and was inducted into the AAU Hall of Fame in 1982 in Marshalltown. Rex later received his master’s degree from Iowa, and upon graduation, he spent 10 years as a teacher, coach and mentor at Elwood High School in Elwood, Iowa. There he coached boy’s and girl’s basketball as well as the 1961 State Champion baseball team. Over the years in Elwood, he developed many close relationships that still last today. He also taught and coached in Benton Community and South Tama. Rex finished his teaching and coaching career in Cedar Rapids, teaching there for more than 30 years.

Being a lifelong sports lover and participant, when Rex retired from teaching and coaching, he continued to stay active by golfing at many different courses around the state and exercising at the MAC. As an Iowa fan he attended football games for nearly 70 years being a season ticket holder for a majority of that time, while also attending many basketball and baseball games. The family also had fun on several Hawkeye Bowl trips. Rex was a Cubs fan, going to Wrigley Field, watching them on TV, and spending summer family vacations in St. Louis to see a Cubs/Cardinals series. Rex also enjoyed supporting and being involved in his kid’s sports and activities, spending countless hours at practices and games as well as many other events. Rex was a member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, especially enjoying the Sunday services he attended in the chapel.

Memorials may be made to the baseball program at the University of Iowa, the Dennis and Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy in Hiawatha, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church or the charity of your choice.

Visitation: 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 25, at Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home. Memorial service 10 a.m. Friday, May 26, at Cedar Memorial Chapel of Memories. A livestream of the memorial service may be accessed on the funeral home website under the obituary for Rex Louie Vana, under the video tab starting at 10 a.m. Friday, May 26.

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