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Dr. Harold Hallberg
August 24, 1924 - February 27, 2017

Dr. Harold Clay Hallberg, MD, 92 of Oelwein passed away on Monday, February 27, 2017 at Oelwein Care Center.  Visitation will be on Friday, March 3, 2017 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Geilenfeld Funeral Home in Oelwein. Services will be on Saturday, March 4, 2017 at 10:30 am at Grace United Methodist Church, Oelwein, with Rev. Connie Markle officiating.   Interment will be at “Doc’s runway” in Woodlawn Cemetery at Oelwein.  Lunch will follow at the church.  In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established to go toward some of “Doc’s” favorite Oelwein charities.  For condolences, please visit www.geilenfeldfh.com.

Harold (also known as "Hod" or "Doc") was born August 24, 1924 in Oelwein, Iowa, the son of Clay and Matha (Schlumbohm) Hallberg.  He attended and graduated from the Oelwein School District.  At the age of 9, Harold contracted the disease osteomyelitis, which was nearly fatal to young Harold and caused him to undergo years of treatments, difficult surgeries and blood transfusions at the University of Iowa.  His left leg ceased growing at this age due to the disease, which is what caused Harold's need to wear his trademark "big shoe."  It was because of Harold's many months of treatment at the University that he decided to go into the field of medicine himself.   

Despite his “disability, “ Harold worked incredibly hard, often doing intense physically-demanding outdoor work like ditch-digging to put himself through college and med school at he University of Iowa, graduating in 1951.  During med school, Harold met a pretty young nurse named Joan Marple.  They were united in marriage in Sioux City, Iowa, on October 4, 1952.  Together, Harold and Joan opened their hearts and home to four children, and eventually to multiple grandchildren and great grandchildren.  Hod and Jo built a wonderful life together in Harold’s home town of Oelwein, where “Doc” opened and managed a successful family medical practice where he cared for the many people of his community for nearly 50 years.  Harold was a true family physician, serving patients from birth (he delivered thousands of babies) to death and everywhere in between.   He was also a general surgeon and prided himself in being meticulous—as with all things—in “sewing people up.”  He was accessible to patients 24 hours a day with a phone call or a trip to Doc’s family home where one would often find him “taking a look at” folks in their car in the driveway or in the entryway of his house.

In addition to medicine, “Doc” enjoyed learning about new things and pursued leisure activities enthusiastically.   “Hod” was known to read and study and pursue what interested him voraciously.   Because he had not learned to swim as a child, he had a pool added to his family home so his wife could teach him to do so.   This proved to be the center of the Hallberg home and life, where his children, grandchildren, (and many other loved ones) spent their summers.  Harold taught himself to excel at woodworking and built a large workshop in his basement, where he’d spend hours “puttering.”   Hod and Jo were very involved in the AFS program in Oelwein and hosted an exchange student from Germany in 1980-81, Eckart Wirthwein.  This led to a life-long friendship that Doc enjoyed with the entire Wirthwein family; Doc enjoyed his many travels with Jo and the Wirthweins in Europe.

Above all other activities, though, Harold’s life love was that of aviation.  He took his first flying lesson while in med school internship in Michigan, and his life was changed forever.  He became a life-long avid aviation enthusiast, learning to fly and expanding his knowledge with multiple aircraft “ratings”; he also became a flight instructor and enjoyed sharing his knowledge with others.  He owned and cherished his single and twin-engine planes and was frequently found on sunny days flying around the Oelwein area and enjoyed “tipping his wings” at those he saw and knew.

Harold was active in the Oelwein Airport Commission for many years as well as the NE Iowa Aviation Enthusiasts and Quiet Birdmen.  He eventually became a member of the Civil Air Patrol in Naples, Florida where he and Joan enjoyed winters for many years.  Harold was a member of Grace United Methodist Church, and the Hebron Masonic Temple of Oelwein.

Harold is survived by his four children: Christopher Hallberg of Oelwein, Clay Hallberg of Oelwein, Charles (Diana) Hallberg  of Hiawatha and Heidi Hallberg (Chaun) DeJong of Marion, his German “son” Eckart (Andrea) Wirthwein Dautenheimer, 14 grandchildren (including step grandchildren, and AFS grandkids) Nicole Hallberg, Amanda Hallberg, Matt Hallberg,  Amy (Jesus) Gonzalez, Cory (Miranda) Hallberg, Brian Hallberg, Tom (Kelly) Hallberg, Emily DeJong, Connor DeJong, Maddie DeJong, Casey (Beth) Kingdon, Chantel Keller,  Lukas Dautenheimer and Lena Dautenheimer; and 12 great grandchildren; a sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Ed and Trudie Bigelow, and many cherished nieces, nephews and their children.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his beloved wife Joan Marple Hallberg, his sister, Betty Davis and her husband, Jamie; and his sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Linda and Charles Marple. 


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Robin and Bill Rosenstiel on March 10, 2017 at 7:02 PM said:

Chris and to all of Dr.Hallberg's Family,Wanted to let you all know that we are very sorry to hear of Doc's passing.He delivered 2 out of our 5 kids and when I was 9 mon's pregnant with no. 3 and due at any time,I was in a OCHS homecoming parade reunion,so there I was sitting on top of the back seat of a convertible and as we drive by Doc's office,he and his staff were standing outside watching the parade go by,He saw me and shook his finger at me and yell at me that he better not get a call from me that night. Well he did and we had our 3rd son,He was a great Doctor with a great sense of humor .
Michelle Stasi Moran on March 8, 2017 at 6:44 AM said:

What great memories of such an outstanding Doctor. Our family was fortunate to have him for a Doctor. Remember him making numerous house calls to come and "unlock" my knee. Truly the epitome of kindness, intelligence, and humor all rolled into one lovable giant of a personality you called dad. May you carry on his legacy and cherish memories.
Ken and Lisa Hartung on March 5, 2017 at 12:54 PM said:

Dear Chris, Clay,Chuck, & Heidi,
So many memories from Ken and his family, lived at the pool during the summer, dinners out after church where Hod and Jo would pick up the bill as Ken's family couldn't at that time. He would like to think he somewhat made up for that when we would come to visit them in Florida and take them out to a nice place. Can never completely make up for all their kindness and generosity to both Ken and Wilma and later to Ken and me. Great people, both of them!
Lisa (Lindaman) Kuch on March 5, 2017 at 7:11 AM said:

Doc has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I spent as much time at the Hallberg house as I did at my own. He renamed me Linda Lisaman and I don't believe he ever called me by any other name. Doc was larger than life to me. He had a passion for his patients, a smile that was contagious, a dry sense of humor that was hilarious, and a love for his family that was endless.
Rest In Peace Dr. Hallberg.
Shannon & Debbie Hershey on March 4, 2017 at 2:29 PM said:

To the Hallberg family,
We are so sorry to hear of your loss. He was a great man to the town of Oelwein. May he rest in peace. Our thought and prayers are with you.
Mary Anne Knight on March 3, 2017 at 2:07 PM said:

Like so many others' here - Doc delivered the last 2, of my 3 sons, at Mercy Hospital in '60 and '61. I stopped, a few times, at Oelwein Care, to say Hello to him and chat a bit.
I suggested that he write a book and if he ever did - I wanted an autographed copy of it! Clay - if that happened,
I still want it.
I am very glad to have known your dad - and he will always stand out, in my mind, as "one of a kind"! Because he WAS!
I am so sorry for your loss.
Mary Anne Knight
Dave Poggenklass on March 3, 2017 at 4:39 AM said:

So very sorry to hear of your dad's passing. I just talked with him the last time I played at Oelwein Care.
He will be greatly missed by many who knew him. He was not only a great Doctor, but a fine man.

Dave Poggenklass
Guttenberg, IA
Jim and Alice Stanek on March 2, 2017 at 6:45 PM said:

Our son was one of the last babies delivered by Dr. Hallberg at Mercy. In reading the obit we can relate to the statement he was accessible to patients with a trip to Doc’s home where one would often find him “taking a look at” folks in their car in the driveway. Great everyday doctor.
Mike Reyerson on March 2, 2017 at 2:12 PM said:

Chris, Clay, Chuck, Heidi and families,

On behalf of the Wood and Reyerson families, please accept our most heartfelt condolences at the loss of Doc. He was a very special and accomplished man, not only as a doctor, but as a husband, father and grandfather, friend, aviator, community leader and role model.

I always will remember the time Doc pulled up at the gas pump at airport. I walked out to greet him, and he told me that he needed five bucks worth of gas and a California road map. Always the joker!

So, I wish for Doc clear skies, smooth air, and of course, a tailwind. God Bless!
Dick and Dixie Crump on March 2, 2017 at 1:28 PM said:

Our heartfelt sympathy to Heidi, Chris, Clay, Chuck and
their extended families. You are indeed blessed to have had such loving parents and they will live on in the happy memories you all share. We, too, have happy memories of
times shared with Jo and Hod....wonderful, generous friends.
We have yet to find a better more compassionate doctor and
will always admire his acceptance of his incapacity during
his final years.
Alexa Mayner on March 2, 2017 at 1:23 PM said:

It's been years now but I have never forgotten how welcomed my father felt when he opened his practice in Oelwein and the tremendous respect he had for Dr. My heart is heavy for your loss.
Bob &I Helga (Goldsmith) Berry on March 2, 2017 at 11:35 AM said:

Halllberg family,
Please accept our deepest sympathy in the loss of your wonderful Dad. He was such a caring and compassionate Doctor. Our family was fortunate to be one of his many patients.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Cindy (Geinzer) Groff on March 2, 2017 at 8:57 AM said:

The dear Doctor delivered me on December 8th, 1958. I heard every year on each birthday how I was born during a terrible snow storm, I was the first of eight babies born that day at the Oelwein hospital, and Doctor Hallberg delivered six of them. Dr. Hallberg delivered two of my siblings as well. Mom remembers him fondly. His devotion will be long remembered.
Christy (Kane)Paul on March 2, 2017 at 6:40 AM said:

Dear Chris and the Entire Hallberg Family,
Our Sincere Sympathy in your loss. Doc was a Great guy and will be missed by all who new him. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Sincerely, Jesse & Christy(Kane)Paul.
Charles & Georgia Butler Hutchison on March 1, 2017 at 9:16 PM said:

When we visited Hod the last time at Oelwein Care, we recalled the years past. We both appreciated the care we received in Iowa City. Like Hod I contacted osteomyelitis when I was 5. I remember I was in for my 5th surgery when Hod was in for his 13th, he was 12. Few people have this disease,it is a very painful one, but Hod always seemed to have a smile and a positive attitude. Oelwein was very blessed to have him and his family living there all these years. God Bless all of you.
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