Roland Louis McCombs, 86, passed away on August 13, 2023, in Chariton, Iowa. Roland lived a full life of enjoyment and love.
Roland was born at home in a little house across the street from the Methodist Church in Tracy, Iowa on September 20, 1936, to Edith Arlene (Johnson) and Alec McCombs. About a year later, the little family moved to rural Leighton, Iowa to help take care of the family farm and Alec's parents and Roland's grandparents, Joe and Viney McCombs. Roland was raised with two siblings, Patricia Louise and Delbert Lee, who were 2 and 5 years his junior. They attended Rock Island School, a one room school, under the guidance of their beloved teacher, Freda Reed.
In 1946, his father Alec died at Christmas time of pneumonia, leaving a small farm, a widow, and three little ones under ten years old. With a lot of hard work and help from family and neighbors, Arlene stayed on the farm and kept the kids together. Roland, from age 10, worked hay baling, worked in the tomato fields, and at other jobs to help support his family's income.
He attended Pella High School and graduated in 1954. He then attended Central College in Pella and graduated in 1958. He returned another year to Central to receive his education classes and teaching certificate.
During his time at Central, he worked at Vander Ploeg Bakery, Vande Voort Meat Market, and at Shum Donai's Shell Gas Station in Pella to pay his way in college. Many summers, he also worked in construction after he graduated.
While in high school and college, he met several life-long friends. He also met Doris Couchman at the skating rink in Oskaloosa, and they dated about 6 years until they married. They were married in the Knoxville Methodist Church on June 8, 1958. To this union, 4 sons were born: Jeffrey Charles, Ross Alan, Todd Lewis, and Matthew James. He enjoyed the boys' activities and deer hunting and fishing with them.
In the fall of 1959, he began teaching high school math for BGM in Brooklyn, Iowa where he taught for almost 40 years. He received his Master’s from Missouri State College after many long nights commuting and also summers. He then worked summers at Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance as a crop adjuster for 35 years. He served as a volunteer ambulance driver, Cub Scout Master, and a little league baseball coach. He enjoyed many years as a football and basketball referee. After his retirement from teaching, he drove a BGM school bus for another 13 years. He was a 50-year member of the Masonic Lodge and Brooklyn Methodist Church.
In 2015, Roland and Doris moved to Knoxville, Iowa where he enjoyed walking, gardening, fishing, and deer hunting. They enjoyed travels to Isla Mujeres, Mexico, Alaska, and the Netherlands. He loved his fishing trips to Canada with his friends and the fishing trips to the Great Lakes with his sons.
Roland is preceded in death by his parents: Arlene and Alec McCombs; stepfather, Amon Long; and his brother, Delbert. He is survived by his wife, Doris; sons: Jeff, Ross (Cherie), Todd (Pam), and Matt (Kris); grandchildren: Corbin McCombs, Melanie Carlson, Dakota McCombs, Nicole Arens, Natalie Weise, Nathan McCombs, and Noah McCombs; 8 great grandchildren; his sister, Pat Roozeboom; as well as many nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.
Roland was loved and will be missed by his many friends and family. He is revered by his many math students.