Cover photo for Victoria "Vicki" Susan Wittgraf's Obituary
Victoria "Vicki" Susan Wittgraf Profile Photo

Victoria "Vicki" Susan Wittgraf

September 21, 1949 — January 26, 2024

Cherokee, Iowa

Victoria "Vicki" Susan Wittgraf

    

            Victoria (Vicki) Susan Wittgraf passed away on Friday, January 26, 2024, following a four-month battle with colon cancer. She was at home in Cherokee with her family beside her.

            Born September 21, 1949, in Iowa City, Vicki was the first child of a second-year law student, S.J. Brownlee, and his wife, Shirley (Sherry) Somers Andersen Brownlee. S.J. moved his young family back home to assist his ailing father in his expanding farm operation. Vicki was raised in Emmetsburg, with her brothers, Craig and Mark. The family spent summers swimming and sailing in West Lake Okoboji. Vicki frequented concerts at the Roof Garden in Arnold’s Park.

            Vicki, a popular cheerleader and Homecoming Queen, graduated from Emmetsburg High School in 1967. After her freshman year at Cornell College, she transferred to the University of Iowa to study psychology. In the fall of 1968, she was promptly crowned the University’s Dolphin Queen. Vicki relished her time in Iowa City with her Pi Beta Phi sorority sisters – hanging at The Airliner, listening to Motown.

            Upon graduation in 1971, Vicki moved to Washington D.C. to work for United States Senator Jack Miller. Vicki flew back to Iowa to assist with Miller’s ultimately unsuccessful re-election campaign. Waiting for her at the Des Moines Airport behind the wheel of her mother’s station wagon was Lieutenant Governor candidate Art Neu’s campaign manager, a first-year law student named George.

            In this moment, Vicki met her future husband of 50 years, George W. Wittgraf.   A “thank you” dinner at Maxie’s quickly blossomed into a relationship. By year’s end, Vicki had completed her congressional employment, and George flew to Washington to drive Vicki and her trailer-towing Cutlass back to Iowa.

            Vicki and George were married at Plymouth Church in Des Moines on June 16, 1973. In August, they honeymooned in San Francisco. Vicki worked for American Republic Assurance Company and received a lucrative offer to relocate to Chattanooga, but she chose to remain in Iowa and ended her business career with the birth of her son Jason in 1975.

            The following year, Vicki and George and their newborn son moved to Cherokee, as George began his law practice there. The family settled in a new home in the Ament addition and eventually expanded their family with the births of John and George, III, in 1979 and 1980.

            The nurture and support of her three sons was the primary focus of Vicki’s life. From teaching them to read, to supporting all of their curricular and extra-curricular activities, to helping them with their professional and business endeavors, Vicki devoted herself wholeheartedly to her sons and their success. She decorated and maintained an immaculate yet cozy home, spoiling her boys with incredible baked goods. Vicki was masterful in the kitchen and renowned for hosting events.

            Vicki also supported her husband’s political avocation, which increasingly pulled him away from Cherokee. In 1987, while Vicki was the president of the School Board, she hosted and introduced sitting Vice President George Bush to the entire student body and local community in the Washington High School gymnasium.  George’s work in political campaigns also afforded Vicki rare but exciting opportunities to leave her boys and join him on the road and at national political conventions.

            Over the Thanksgiving holiday of 1988, Vicki and George flew to Washington D.C. to consider moving to the Capitol area. They then flew directly to Houston to tell soon-to-be President Bush that the Wittgraf family would be staying in Cherokee. 

            Vicki also served the Cherokee community in many ways, including seven years as a member of the Cherokee Community School District Board of Directors, as a leader of the Cherokee Athletic Boosters Club, as a member of Cherokee’s Chapter E.E. P.E.O., and as an active supporter of many Republican Party candidates. Vicki belonged to Cherokee’s Memorial Presbyterian Church for more than 45 years, serving as an Elder, as a Deacon, and as a Sunday School and Vacation Bible School teacher.

            Vicki will be remembered by those who knew her for a rare combination of inner and outer beauty. Her natural beauty was matched by her unfailing kindness and generosity. Vicki has been admired and revered for all of her 74 years.

            Left to cherish Vicki’s memory are her husband George, her sons Jason (Ann), John and George, III, her grandsons Noah and Wesley, her step-granddaughter Stephanie Tabor and her step-grandson Reid Tabor. Vicki also is survived by her brother Craig (Jennifer) Brownlee, and his children Kate (Drew) Krejci and Sam (Hannah) Brownlee, and by her brother Mark (Janie) Brownlee, and his children Jack (Jenna) Brownlee and Jordan (Nick) Johnson, as well as by her uncle Richard (Martha) Andersen. Vicki was preceded in death by her parents and by her sisters-in-law, Susan (Rick) Golden and Sallie (Ed) Kushlan. 

            A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, February 2, 2024, at Cherokee’s Memorial Presbyterian Church, with Pastor Philip Beisswenger officiating. A lunch will be served at the Church immediately following the service. Visitation will take place from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Thursday evening at the church lounge. The personnel at Greenwood-Schubert Funeral Home are assisting the family with the memorial service and committal arrangements.

            Memorial gifts may be directed to the Cherokee Rotary Club for its Backpack Buddies Program or to the Memorial Presbyterian Church Foundation.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Victoria "Vicki" Susan Wittgraf, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, February 1, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Memorial Presbyterian Church

127 E Willow St, Cherokee, IA 51012

Visitation will take place from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Thursday evening at the Memorial Presbyterian Church Lounge.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Friday, February 2, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Memorial Presbyterian Church

127 E Willow St, Cherokee, IA 51012

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Friday, February 2, 2024, at Memorial Presbyterian Church in Cherokee, IA. Pastor Philip Beisswenger will officiate.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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