Norman J. 'Joe' Stender

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Norman Joseph Stender, “Joe,” passed away peacefully in the loving arms of his family on Sept. 7, 2021, in Iowa City.


Joe was born Jan. 16, 1951, in Davenport, to Norman Henry Stender and Dorothy Pearl (Willich) Stender. After graduating from Davenport West in 1969, he went on to pursue his bachelor of science at the University of Iowa. In 1974, he returned to the University of Iowa College of Dentistry to receive his doctorate of dental surgery, graduating in 1978. It was there he met his dental hygienist and future wife, Debbie. 


Taking a suggestion from a friend to visit northeast Iowa for a practice location, Joe and Debbie drove into the small community of Elkader. They were met with open arms. Starting a business and raising two children, Elkader became their home for 43 years. 


Joe was an avid reader and lifelong learner. Being an Iowa alum, he was a devoted Hawkeye fan, attending numerous sporting events and enjoying many game-watch get togethers. This complemented his love of good food and drink. He shared the game of golf with family and many life-long friends. Mostly, Joe found the greatest joys in the simple things in life and spending quality time with his wife, children and close family and friends. Joe’s awe of nature was reflected in his love of long outdoor walks and the daily ritual of sitting on his back deck, overlooking the view and enjoying the activity of birds and wildlife. 


Joe’s legacy will continue with his wife Debbie; two children, Sheldon Stender and Kiana Jo Stender; sister Sonya Smith of Walcott; and niece Tricia Shannon of Walcott.


In commemoration of Joe’s life, memorials may be sent to MercyOne Elkader Medical Center ER Department, Elkader Ambulance Services, Elkader Fire Department or the Main Street Design Committee in support of the downtown hanging baskets. Condolences may be mailed to the Stender Family at P.O. Box 250, Elkader, IA 52043. 


Leonard-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service is assisting the family.

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