Rick Harper

  • Born: August 12, 1952
  • Died: September 20, 2015
  • Location: Moravia, Iowa

Lange Funeral Home & Crematory LLC

1900 South 18th Street
Centerville, IA 52544

Tel. (641) 856-2000

Tribute & Message From The Family

Rick Clay Harper, age 63, of Moravia, Iowa passed away Sunday, September 20, 2015 at Mercy Medical Center in Centerville, Iowa.

He was born August 12th, 1952 in Bloomfield, Iowa, to Deverre Harper and Mattie Mills. He graduated from Davis County High School and then later received a Bachelor's Degree in Architecture and Landscape Design from Iowa State University.

Rick was able to spend 22 years with his best friend Jackie White where they resided in Moravia, Iowa.

Rick was a member of the original group, Syndrum of Soul, playing drums from the time he was 14 years old and founding the first band with Gary French in 1966.

He always shared his passion for live music, going to concerts and dancing with his daughter and friends. His love for landscaping, flowers, and planting trees helped shape many communities in Bloomfield, Albia, Centerville, and Moravia, Iowa.

He was involved in running several establishments, including Fat Annies, the Kozy Inn Motel, and the rental business with Jackie "Bubs" White for 22 years together. They helped initiate several activities within the community such as Gobbler's Ball, the Fat Ride, the Moravia Easter Egg Hunt, weekly euchre, and served as President of the Moravia Housing Board. He was well known for his love for racing, the Iowa State Cyclones, and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Rick's greatest passion was spending time with family and friends celebrating life. In every way. From camping, to boating, playing in the band, and being "an enthusiastic collector," the greatest legacy he leaves behind is his love and happiness of life.

He is survived by his daughter, Dustin Marie Cardona Harper, and son-in-law, Ivan Dario Cardona Ospina of Bogota, Colombia. Also, his life partner and best friend, Jacqueline Ann White.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Mattie B. Mills and H. Deverre Harper of West Grove Iowa, and his aunt Kathleen Hill, of Bloomfield Iowa, his grandmother, Jewel "Baa" Mills, of West Grove, Iowa, and his great grandparents, Clay and Hazel B. Harper of West Grove, Iowa.

Funeral services will be held at 12 PM, Friday, September 25, 2015 at the Grace United Methodist Church in Moravia, Iowa with Pastor Cindy Finn officiating. Burial will follow in the West Grove Cemetery. A visitation will take place at Lange Funeral Home in Moravia on Thursday, September 24 from 10AM to 8PM, with the family present from 5-8 PM. Memorials have been designated to the family of Rick Harper and may be mailed to Lange Funeral Home 1900 South 18th Centerville, Iowa 52544. Condolences may be shared online at www.langefh.com.


Condolence & Memory Journal

I lived next to Baa till I was 4 years old and my dad JD worked with Rick. I have a lot of memories of all the Harpers. Baa was my best friend as a little girl and I loved spending time with her in her house. When I moved away my dad and I would come back and visit Baa and the rest of the family til she passed away. I miss her. I wish i could of had another 30 years with her. I saw Rick about 5-10 years ago at the Bloomfield Country Club, he remembered me and it made my day. The Harper family was and still is close to my heart. I'm sorry for your loss.

Posted by Melissa Devereaux - Bloomfield, IA - Friend   October 03, 2015

Jackie and Dusty,
We want to share our sympathies with your families at this difficult time. Rick (and Jackie) have been wonderful hosts when we come down deer hunting every year. Rick will be dearly missed from the Minnesota Boys.
Marcus and Chad

Posted by Marcus Hopp and Chad Wilson - New Ulm, MN - Friends   September 28, 2015

Rick was the most caring man and helped so many. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jackie and his daughter.

Posted by Shawn and Jackie Richardson - Moravia, IA - Friend   September 22, 2015

I send my sincere condolences to the famly of Rick Harper. I have many wonderful childhood memories of Rick, his parent, Deverre and Mattie, his grandma Harper and all of the characters from West Grove and the Harper Lumber yard days. My parents owned and operated the only cafe/gas station/auto repair business in West Grove. Many times Rick, Deverre and the guys would stop in for an ice cold Pepsi or Dew from the reach in, water cooled, pop cooler. They were especially good on those really hot Iowa summer days. These quick stops turned in to a long afternoon of talkin sports and politics (Mattie was a Democratic state Representative) along with strong opinions regarding the Farming recession, the white crosses on the Davis county court house lawn. Each cross signifying a farm lost to a bank foreclosure followed up with a sheriffs auction on the steps of the court house. Heart breaking. Gas prices soared past $1/gal over night. All of it cussed and discussed over those ice cold glass bottles of pop. The simple life of the early 1970's by todays standards but, it was life. Anyone who came in contact with the Harpers and were in need, Deverre would carry them. They were good for it in his eyes. Rick inherited those same qualities. A Legacy of sharing and a gift of giving even if it meant the very shirt off of his back. What a tragic loss. May God Bless you Rick. Rest in Peace Friend.

Posted by Tim Leonard - Creston, IA - Neighbor-West Grove   September 22, 2015

I will never forget, when Raymond and I got our son Chris, Rick brought us a tree that he didn't need. He planted it in the front yard and he named it the Baby Hamilton tree. Which we still call it that today. It is a beautiful, full oak tree. Just like Rick was full of life and love for all. Thanks Rick for that tree and I will always think of you when I look at it. as I always have. Renita Murrell

Posted by Renita Murrell - Bloomfield, IA - friend   September 22, 2015


So very sorry for your loss, Dusty. You are in my thoughts and prayers.WA

Posted by MaryLouise Bryan - Las Vegas, NV - Dustin' s Aunt   September 22, 2015

Dear Pal-O'Mine ,

You (and your dear mother) played key roles in the hands-down highlight of my teen years :-)
I can still see you -- grinning behind me -- as you rolled-out the drum lead-in to the first song ("Bend Me, Shape Me") on our SOS set-list.

The first member of our eight-piece rock-'n'-soul band to pass-on from this life into the next, may a multitude of blessings and good chi accompany this Little Drummer Boy as he arrives "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" (In The Garden Of Eden) . . .

Posted by A. Joseph Wyse - Iowa City, IA - Fellow Member -- Syndrum Of Soul   September 22, 2015

I was one of the roady's that followed your dad and the SOS band when I was home from college. The band came to Davenport performed then stayed at my trailer.

Posted by JL Stogdill D.C. - Pulaski, IA - Friend   September 22, 2015


I worked for Rick at Harper's Plantation for 12 years. Dusty, I know you won't remember me, but I remember you. Your Father would bring you in to visit us when he had you. We all looked forward to your visits. You were such a sweet, cute little girl. we could just see the pride & love in your father's eyes when you were with him. He loved you so very much. I know you will miss him very much. I am so sorry for your loss! Sincerely, Nancy Byrn

Posted by NANCY (Proctor) Byrn - Queen City, MO - former employee & friend   September 22, 2015

So glad we got to know you, really enjoyed visiting with you at the football games, who would of thought that the Lamoni game would have be our last, I know you will be watching. Prayers and strength to your family. RIP Rick

Posted by Frank and Deb Ollinger    September 22, 2015

My thoughts and prayers for family and friends. Rick was my boss at the flower shop in Bloomfield when I was in high school

Posted by Ronda Comer Hipsher - Oskaloosa, IA - Friend and coworker   September 21, 2015

When Rick ran the florist shop, he would go there at 6 AM on my birthday to meet my husband with a bouquet of red roses for me. Jim would place them on the
kitchen table for me to see when I got up.
On my first birthday after my husband died, Rick came to my house with a bouquet of red roses. He said Jim would have wanted me to have them.

Posted by Carol McKee - Bloomfield, IA - friend   September 21, 2015

At the last Monterey Auction Rick and I said our usual bs and I always had a new joke for him. This time it was a joke about him. "Hey Rick, I was reading a Western book yesterday that mentioned you in the story. They said a lady had run away with the local drummer." He always enjoyed my jokes and his stories were pretty darn good, and usually true. Well I guess we can't bid against each other now. Rich mentioned wanting to get that old car out of that corn crib south of West Grove to maybe fix up and sell. Perhaps there's a car person out there that could buy it and fix it up to sell as Rick wanted.

Posted by Danny Smith - Bloomfield, IA - Friend   September 21, 2015

Rick you have touched so many lives in a positive way. We never told you enough how much we appreciated you. Your life was to short but you accomplished much. RIP and know you are missed. Heaven got a winner when they got you. Miss you. Brenda

Posted by Brenda Hoffman - Moravia, IA - friend   September 21, 2015

A wonderful guy that was taken to soon. I'll never forget the many times he escorted me out of the bar when I was under age. Then he'd laugh about it the next time he saw me. I'm sure my dad and Rick are enjoying a cold one together now. Rest In Peace.

Posted by Alyssa Cossel - Unionville, IA - Friend   September 21, 2015

Shared many a car ride, baseball game and numerous other activities not to be mentioned here. Rick was a great friend, classmate and drummer. He will be surely missed by family and friends. Rest in Peace my friend. I shall see you again someday!

Went to many a dance in my younger days when Syndrome of Soul were playing. I always enjoyed watching Rick play the drums. He was pretty damn good!

Posted by Mike Ritter - Omaha, NE - Classmate 1970   September 21, 2015

Hoop, I first met you in January of 1995, when you came to my house to see if I was interested in singing for your band, Hired Guns. What a ride we had!! Opening for .38 Special... Jeff taking me out for my birthday, and we wind up in West Grove with a flashing road sign in your bedroom... (The Boys Are Back, The Boys Are Back LOL)... several "Fat Ride" shenanigans... several "4th of July" celebrations at "The Hut"... and who can forget the "Butterface Incident?" LMAO!! I am going to miss you so much!! Thank you for being my friend... for being someone that my sons could look up to... thank you for just being YOU. Until we meet again...

Posted by Johnny Whicker - Ottumwa, IA - Friend   September 21, 2015

What a great guy! I worked for Rick 30 years ago at Harper's Landscaping in Centerville. Needless to say we had more fun than anything else. You will be missed.

Posted by Merle Jones - Keokuk, IA   September 21, 2015


Rick made everyone feel like family. Sorry to lose a great man so soon.

Posted by Eric Sayre - San Antonio, TX - Friend   September 21, 2015

I have too many memories to count. Rick and I were cousins, nearly the same age. We grew up together. I have wonderful memories of all the major holidays: Christmas Day at Grandma Harper's, Easter egg hunts, 4th of July fireworks at Rick's house, Thanksgiving dinners. I also remember riding ponies and bikes together, playing in the giant sandpile at Grandpa's lumberyard, playing games, playing with Rick's train set, and Tonka toys in his front yard. I remember going to his Little League baseball games, and riding to Texas in the backend of a station wagon. I remember Rick coming to get me in Kirksville when my dad died, and I remember him sitting in my mom's house with tears running down his face when his dad died.
We were together through good times and bad, all during our growing-up years. I love you Rick, and will miss you. I am glad you were my cousin.

Posted by Pam Andrews - Newton, IA - cousin   September 20, 2015