Stephen Thorpe

Apr 3, 2021
Thorpe, Stephen news


Family graveside services will be held at Waterloo Memorial Park Cemetery.


Visitation is 3:00 to 7:00 PM, Thursday, April 8, 2021 at Locke Funeral Home, 1519 West 4th Street, Waterloo.


Waterloo Memorial Park Cemetery, Waterloo


In lieu of flowers, Memorials may be directed to First Congregational Church, Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa Operation Warm or Nicaragua Project, Waterloo Schools Foundation, Cedar Valley Hospice, or a charity of donor’s choice.


Stephen Thorpe, 81, passed away on Saturday, April 3, 2021, at his home in rural Denver. He was born December 6, 1939, in Des Moines, the son of Philip and Ruth (Mote) Thorpe. He graduated from Waterloo East High School in 1958, attended Grinnell College, Iowa State University, and graduated from Upper Iowa University. He was a member of the Iowa Army National Guard for 14 years.

Steve married Kathryn Denny on September 6, 1963, in Des Moines; they later divorced. Three children were born to this union, Lynn Fiorendino of Minneapolis, Laura (Joel) Meyers of Cedar Falls, and Steve of Kailua, HI.  In 1995, Steve married Liz Juhl, who has four children, Theresa Juhl of Iowa City, Daniel (Christine) Juhl of Snohomish, WA, Christine (Aaron) Ferrie and Sarah Juhl, both of Waterloo.

Steve began his professional career during college as an intern with Northwestern Mutual Insurance. He retired after 56 years with this company in September 2020.

He was a member of First Congregational Church and served as Moderator, Deacon and was a member of several Boards and Committees.

Community service was a lifelong passion for Steve. He was involved with many organizations including being a Girl Scout and Boy Scout leader for his children’s troops. He also served with Junior Achievement, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, MercyOne Foundation, Gateway International, Waterloo Community School District School Board, Waterloo Downtown Rotary Club, Rotary International District Governor, Shriners International, and Hope and Relief International Foundation, among others. For the past 20 years, Steve and Liz have traveled to Nicaragua delivering necessities to the extremely impoverished areas near Chinandega.  Steve was a longtime supporter of Iowa State, the Nicaragua project in Chinandega, the Kampala Hospital in Uganda, and the Rotary Youth Exchange program.  He loved to travel and was a collector of a variety of things of interest, including rocks.

Survivors include his wife, Liz; his three children; Liz’s four children; sixteen grandchildren: Rose, Boon, Jacob, Audrey, Kate, Trevor, Carter, Ben, Lilli (Bryant), Andy (Thanri), Pete (Sierra), Christian, Logan, Lucy, June, and Madoc; one great granddaughter, Ezza Mae; nephews, Matt and Mark Dolliver and their wives and children; and his dog, Bella, a cherished companion following in a long line of pets.

He is preceded in death by his parents; and his two sisters and their husbands, Pat and Mac Dolliver and Sandy and Sonny Layton.

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  1. Patricia Ipsen | Apr 17, 2021
    Steve was a great inspiration with is quiet leadership in Rotary.  I was fortunate to have known him.
  2. steven j schmitt | Apr 12, 2021

    Steve was the model of the Servant Leader!  Those of us who had the pleasure of working with Steve (and Liz) on his various Rotary projects will be forever grateful for all his good works!


  3. Bartlett Family | Apr 11, 2021

    Liz and family our sincere condolences to you.

    Steve was wonderful and he was a special part of our lives. Celebrating so many of life’s events together will always be remembered. Thank you for sharing his time with us. Steve was also a very kind and compassionate man that connected with everyone at a personal level. A sincere hand shake, warm smile, and kind words were always followed by pleasant conversation. His love of life and helping others was infectious.

    Together you and Steve graciously supported so many helpful organizations. Liz we admired your support and energy you devoted to these worthy endeavors. A remarkable team that helped so many. Living a life in service of others in need is a life well lived in honor of our Father in Heaven.

    We were very fortunate to have had Steve as a good friend. Our lives were enriched for it and we want you to know our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Love, Susan, Jason & Karin, Ellen & Micheal, and family.

  4. Edward J Gallagher | Apr 08, 2021
    I extend sympathy and thoughts and prayets to Liz and the rest of the Thorpe family. I knew Steve through the Waterloo Rotary Club and he exemplified the service above self principles of Rotary in club, community and international service. I know know he served many other organizations in the community for many years, including his church and scouting programs. He will be missed but I believe his example will be followed by those he worked with in providing service.
  5. John Curran | Apr 08, 2021

    Young John Curran here from London. My father worked with Steve for many years. I have wonderful memories as a small boy seeing Steve in the office when I went to work with my Dad on Saturdays. I have a strong recollection of Steve helping me extract a stuck Orange Crush bottle from the old fashioned soda machine at the office. As an older boy, I remember mowing the Thorpe lawn - never very efficiently, but I always got the job done. 

    Steve, and the circle people in my Dad's work life played a big role in the man I have become. Best wishes to the whole family.

  6. Creighton Randolph | Apr 07, 2021
    I was fortunate to have worked for the same company as Steve, Northwestern Mutual.  In many respects, I owe my survival and longevity to the experience, wisdom and consistency of effort exemplified by Steve over the years.  I only hope that my life will inspire someone that comes after similarly to how Steve lived and impacted for so many what a quality life, and a life of service looked like.  My sympathies to Steve's family and friends.    
  7. Creighton Randolph | Apr 07, 2021

    I'm fortunate to work for Northwestern Mutual, the same company that Steve worked with, and in many respects owe my survival and longevity in part to the wisdom, experience and effort exemplified by Steve on a consistent basis.  I can only hope that my life could have similar positive impacts on some who come after.  His life and accomplishments are truly a legacy, and so many were blessed to have known him. My sympathies to all family and friends of Steve. 



  8. Nick and Kelly Jans | Apr 07, 2021

    Where to begin. We lost a true servant this past weekend, and heaven gained a bright soul. I first met Steve 10 year ago through Northwestern Mutual in Waterloo. It didn't take long for him to take me under his wing and start teaching me the mechanics of building a sound financial services practice. My favorite part of this process was hearing all of the incredible client stories and spending hours in the car together, learning about his passion for the outdoors. Steve was a true servant in nearly every aspect. He has left quite a legacy behind him. I am forever grateful for all that he poured into me and hope to reflect it through the way I live and plan with our clients.

    Liz, you have always been a saint as well. Steve seemed to have many bright ideas and you made them become a reality. He leaned on you more than you know and cherished all the moments with you. Kelly and I (and Charlee) are so grateful for our friendship with you. We are praying for you and your family in the days and months that lie ahead. 


  9. Jamie Lang | Apr 07, 2021

    Liz and family,

    Keelan and I are so sad to hear of your loss. We were blessed to have had the opportunity to meet Steve and participate in a few activities with you both. Praying for your well being and strength to go forward with happy memories and love.

    Jamie and Keelan Lang

  10. Curtis Austin | Apr 07, 2021

    He will be missed by so many.  May the Lord bring you peace and happy memoires of Steve be forever in your thoughts.  My prayers go out to all of the family. 

    God bless,


  11. Maelou Baxter | Apr 06, 2021

    Dear Liz and family,

    I'm very sorry to hear of Steve's death. I know how hard it is to lose a beloved spouse.

    May you be comforted by your happy memories.

    With love,


  12. George Justice | Apr 06, 2021

    I began my career with Northwestern as a Lieutenant in the Iowa National Guard. Steve and I had several things in common. 

    Steve was always available to help me and any other Financial Representative. His character was beyond approach and he was a very special community citizen.

    God Bless him and his family.



  13. Robert Regenwether | Apr 06, 2021
    I always really enjoyed being around and knowing Steve as a Rotarian. He was a very good man who helped a lot of people.  Service above self was certainly a statement he lived by.   Best wishes to Liz and the rest of the family.  He will be missed!
  14. Dr. Eldon Swanson | Apr 06, 2021

    Sarah and Family,

    We were sorry to read of Steve's passing. During these difficult times, always remember that God will never bring us to something without bringing us through it. Our prayers are with you and we are with you in the spirit.

    Dr. Eldon and Vicki Swanson

  15. | Apr 06, 2021

    Sarah and Family,

    Sorry to read of Steve's passing. During such a difficult time, always remember that God never brings us to something without bringing us through it. Our prayers are with you.

    Dr. Eldon and Vicki Swanson

  16. Jeanette and Kevin Steffen | Apr 05, 2021

    Liz, your unconditional support  of everything Steve was involved  with is inspiring  to me.

    I met Steve first as a client, then as his employee.  Steve  taught  me so much about insurance and how to help other people. Working with Steve for 15 years changed me for the better. I especially enjoyed helping with his Shoebox project  and Operation  Warm.

    Steve definitely touched everyone he came in contact with.

    Jeanette Steffen

  17. Joe Gitta | Apr 05, 2021
    Rotary has lost a giant, dedicated man.  We will miss you Steve 
  18. Tom N Taber | Apr 04, 2021

    Very sorry and saddened to hear about Steve's passing!  I started my career in Insurance at NML with Steve in 1971.  Steve was always willing to help the 'new guy' out, answering questions, giving guidance, and always LISTENING!  It is a honor to say "Steve was my Mentor, Colleague, and Friend! R.I.P. Stephen, you have earned it!

    Tom N. Taber

  19. Georgene and Tom Arthur | Apr 04, 2021
    Liz and family.  We first met Steve though his work as a very active volunteer parent though West High School.  His commitment to volunteerism and leadership has been evident throughout his adult life.  His organizational skills must have touched hundreds of thousands of people both locally and internationally.  I can remember standing by Steve in the hallway at Five Sullivans after a Rotary Meeting and Steve, by himself, in less than five minutes, securing pledges from two different organizations for over $20,000.00 for Operation Warm.  I helped with the VGM Conference Room Monitors as Steve was setting up funding sources for Operation Warm.  Steve was a quiet leader, but could keep people and organizations focused on the good projects he supported.  In my life, I have never encountered an individual that served so many others though hard work and dedication.  He will be missed by so many.  Rest in peace, Steve, your journey though life stands as an inspiration to us all.  Georgene and Tom Arthur
  20. John and Mary Kay Beecher | Apr 04, 2021

    Saddened to hear that Steve has left us to be with his friend Doug and be with God. It was a privilege to serve with Steve and you Liz through service in the Waterloo Rotary Club. Steve truly lived the Rotary motto "Service above self" having developed the international Shoebox project (to help young mothers in Nicaragua) and the locally known Operation Warm (distributing winter coats).

    We remember Steve with our thoughts and prayers today for his family as you celebrate his life. 🙏🙏🙏

    John and Mary Kay

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