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Rex P. Kepford

Rex P. Kepford, 82, died peacefully at his home of 57 years, Thursday, July 27th, with his family by his side. He was a beloved son, husband, father, grandpa, great-grandpa, and friend. He leaves behind a legacy of love, passion, and cherished memories that will be treasured by his family and friends.


Rex was born and raised on the east side of Des Moines, graduating from Tech High School in 1959, starting the following Monday at John Deere, where he worked for 38 years, retiring in 1997.


Rex was an avid outdoorsman, where his joy of hunting and fishing took him to both Canada and Newfoundland. He also loved the hunt of a morel mushroom, and ginseng. He was an accomplished wood carver, winning various competitions at the Iowa State Fair, however, his favorites were the ones made specifically for a family member or friend.


Rex had a sharp mind and was always wanting to learn more. He built a telescope while attending classes at the Science Center, obtained his pilot’s license, and was a black belt in judo. He was a master of crossword puzzles, and always had a dictionary nearby.


When Rex retired, he added “baker and chef” to his many talents. Bernard Crocker, as he was known to his wife Nancy, had developed unmatched culinary skills. For a favorite dish, or dessert, everyone knows, you just called Rex. It was in his kitchen, where you would feel the warmth, the love, and the laughter.


In the end, it is Rex’s greatest abilities that stands out the most. It was the way he cherished his wife Nancy, children, and grandchildren, instilling his love, values, and kindness. He always offered support and guidance with a warm smile, gentle spirit and unwavering love that will be deeply missed.


Rex is survived by his wife Nancy; children, Teri O’Donnell (Dennis), Rex Jr., and Jill Messler (Tim): grandchildren, Aron Reimers (Brittany), Alyson (George), Cole, Chase, and Carsen Kepford; great grandchildren, Kayla O’Donnell, Jayce Wolver, Dash Kepford, Grayson and Isla Reimers, Draxton Moreno, and baby to be Adelia Reimers. He was preceded in death by his father, Rex W., Mother, Dora “Billie,” and brother Sherman Kepford. His loss is mourned by all who had the privilege of knowing him, and his memory will continue to inspire and bring joy to those whose lives he touched.


A special thanks to the love and kindness shown to Rex and our family by Mercy Hospice, especially his RN Renee.


A celebration of Rex’s life and his many accomplishments will be held on Saturday, August 5th, from 10:30-12:30 at Merle Hay Funeral Home, 4400 Merle Hay Rd. A lunch will be provided.





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