INDEPENDENCE – Charles M. Conklin, 86 years old of Independence, died from heart failure, Sunday, Jan. 20, at Covenant Medical Center, Waterloo. He was born Nov. 19, 1926, in rural Buchanan County, the son of George Davis Conklin and Alta Elvina (Deke) Conklin. He graduated from Independence High School with the class of 1945. Charles served in the US Army Air Corp for 2 ½ years, stationed in Germany. On Feb. 14, 1947, he was united in marriage to Audrey May Soener at the First Presbyterian Church in Independence. He also attended the Vogue School of Design in Chicago, Ill., graduating in 1948. He did interior and exterior design and decorating, General Contracting, as well as owning and operating the retail Conklin Decorating Store in Independence from 1950 to 1992.
He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Independence where he held the position of Head Usher for many years, and also had served as Elder and Trustee, and was a member of the church men's club. He was a past recipient of the Independence Chamber of Commerce's Citizen of the Year award. He had served on the Independence School Board, Wapsipinicon Golf Club Board, Buchanan County Wildlife Board, Camp Ingawanis Boy Scout and Northeast Iowa Boy Scout Boards, and was a Boy Scout Troop 47 and Little League Baseball volunteer. He was a member of Becheter-Boise V.F.W
. Post 2440 and Sheehan-Tidball American Legion Post 30.
Charles was also a volunteer fireman
in Independence from 1950 to 2007. On the Independence Fire Department he served 27 years as Fire Chief. He had also served as Secretary and Treasurer, and had been Assistant Fire Chief for four years. He had served as president of the Buchanan County Fireman's Association, and was the first president of the Buchanan County Fire Chief's Association. At the state level he was a member of the Iowa Firefighters Association for 57 years, had served as their president four years, and vice president four years. He was a member of the International Fire Chiefs Association (Missouri Division for 27 years), was an Iowa Fire instructor, Member of the National Fire protection Association, Buchanan County Emergency Management, Assistant Coordinator, Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Iowa State Fire Institute, Joint Council Fire Service of Iowa board member and member of the Fire Marshall's Fire Service Training Fund Committee.
Mr. Conklin is survived by his wife Audrey of Independence; five daughters, Jackie Conklin of Palmer, Cindy (Keith) Osborne of Derby, Kan., Mary Conklin of Des Moines, Pam Conklin of Independence, Cathy Conklin of Urbandale; two sons, Paul (Karen) Conklin of Eldridge, Charles B. "Charlie" (Beth) Conklin of Independence; 17 grandchildren, Tracy, Jenny, Brian, Brittany, Matt, Sara, Megan, Ben, Andy, Will, Chris, Patrick, Austin, Brooke, Ashley, Charles and Clayton; 10 great grandchildren, Zac, Lexie, Belle, Gibson, Colin, Jaden, Charlottem, Amelia, Presley and Kaleb; and one brother, Carroll (Marian) Conklin of Independence. He is preceded in death by his parents, one son, Jeffrey Conklin and one granddaughter, Audrey Fitzgerald.
Funeral services will be 11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24, at the First Presbyterian Church, Independence, with Rev. John Hougen officiating. Burial will be at Mt. Hope Cemetery, Independence. Visitation was from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and from 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the White Funeral Home, Independence, where there will be a 7 p.m. Military Memorial Service Wednesday.
Memorials will be directed to the Iowa Fire Fighters Association Memorial in Coralville; the First Presbyterian Church, the Independence Public Library, Boy Scout Troop 47, and to our local Buchanan County