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In loving memory of
Jonathan “Jon” Lee Vessey
  • December 05, 1951
  • -
  • March 13, 2021

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Obituary

Jonathan “Jon” Lee Vessey passed away at age 69, on March 13, 2021 in Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach, Florida surrounded by family members. Jon was born on December 5, 1951 in John Burns Hospital Belle Fourche, South Dakota to Reverend Robert G and Helen L (McConnell) Vessey. He came into this world in an unusual way.  Jon was born with a neural tube defect known as spina bifida.  The prognosis in those days was not good.  At six months old he was taken to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for surgery to repair the opening on his spine. He survived and overcame a multitude of challenges. He attended elementary school in Sioux Falls, SD., junior high and three years of high school in Huron, SD. His courage, positivity, and drive to succeed enabled him to graduate from Mitchell High School (SD), and Dakota Wesleyan University. He earned a Master’s Degree in Mass Communications from the University of North Dakota.

After graduate school he taught English in North Dakota for one year, coached debate and taught English at Yankton (SD) High school for one year. He moved to Fort Dodge, Iowa and taught high school English from 1978 until 2016.  His passion for music and mass communications led him to initiate a radio club where his students produced a Sunday evening broadcast. He later started a video technology class. He was often enlisted to tape athletic contests, graduations, and other Fort Dodge community events.  He operated a part time business called Personal Memories Video specializing in wedding videos.

At the age of sixty, health issues forced him to retire from teaching. He remained active in Civitan and Junior Civitan and the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, working to enhance business, education, community growth, a successful employment climate, and industry in Fort Dodge. He spent many summer days at the Market on Central and at Frontier Days.

Jon was a committed Democrat and belonged to a group of like- minded politicos affectionately known as The Tribe. His training as a debater, his love of lively conversation, and especially for our country and its diverse people drove him to be an informed and active citizen.

Jon enjoyed golf and cheering for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, He was an avid reader with an impressive personal library.  His favorite author: John Grisham.

He spent five winters in Florida, staying with his cousin Betsy McKay a gifted nurse who cared and advocated for Jon’s health concerns.  She encouraged him to buy a twin home in Ormond Beach, Florida. In October of 2019 he left his home and beloved friends in Fort Dodge for the sunshine state. He enjoyed going to the beach and eating at the many great seafood restaurants in the Ormond and Daytona Beach area. The pandemic of 2020 kept him from traveling and enjoying the friends and family he left in Iowa and South Dakota. He wanted them to know he loved them all and wishes them well. He gave instructions to not mourn his death, but to celebrate his life. Please rejoice, with his family, in the promise of God’s grace for an eternal home, free from pain and physical limitations.

Grateful for his inspirational life are his sister, Mary (Lynn) Frederick of Sioux Falls SD, brother David Vessey of Brookings S.D., nephews Luke (Kate) Frederick of Sioux Falls, and Ty Frederick of Sioux Falls, great nephew Ryder Frederick and great niece Roxy Frederick, Aunt Ruth McConnell of CA, cousin Betsy McKay, FL, cousin Bill (Linda) McKay of RI, cousin Jackie (Marc) Kline of MI, cousin Russell Randall of CA, and several second cousins and many faithful friends

He was preceded in death by his parents, Aunt and Uncle Dorothy and Bill McKay, Aunt Betty McConnell, Aunt and Uncle Randy and Sue Randall, Uncle Tom McConnell.

If you care to honor Jon, consider a contribution to Dakota Wesleyan University, 1200 W University Ave., Mitchell, SD 57301: or the Fort Dodge Iowa Junior Civitan Club 819 N. 25th Street, Fort Dodge Iowa 50501. Any cards or messages for the family, please contact Baldwin Brothers, 1185 W. Granada Blvd. #11, Ormond Beach, FL 32174, 386-947-7273.


Tribute Wall

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  1. Catrina says:
    16 Sep 2021
    You were a great teacher and a great person, Mr. Vessey. You will be so missed!

  2. Shelly Thoen lit a candle:
    23 Jun 2021
    Lit since June 23, 2021 at 6:03:06 PM

  3. Matt Johnston says:
    01 Apr 2021
    I co-taught English classes with Jon when I was a special education teacher at FDSH. He was such a kind man who truly cared about his students. His involvement in the community and bettering the lives of others will be remembered. You will definitely be missed, Jon.

  4. Toni Hood says:
    24 Mar 2021
    Jon and I taught together at Fort Dodge for many years, and we often went out to eat with other friends. Jon's courage in the face of his many health obstacles was an inspiration to all who knew him. He was a committed academic and really enjoyed working with the kids and sharing ideas with colleagues. Jon was always charitable and generous in his interactions with others; he was a very, very kind man. The last time we visited he told me he missed his friends in Iowa, but he really enjoyed Florida and was glad to have family close by. I will miss our phone visits.

  5. Lora L lit a candle:
    24 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 24, 2021 at 3:46:11 AM

  6. Shari Van Roekel says:
    23 Mar 2021
    He was a great teacher and friend. I took his mass media class and did the radio show every weekend. He liked to allow you creative freedom and would help guide you in ways to accomplish it. He never said you couldn't do it, it was always 'how' can you do it successfully.

  7. Shari Van Roekel lit a candle:
    23 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 23, 2021 at 3:13:21 PM

  8. Dee Huyck lit a candle:
    23 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 23, 2021 at 3:24:11 AM

  9. Lora Ludvigsen (Taos,NM) says:
    23 Mar 2021
    Hats off to a wonderful, kind compassionate teacher and mentor who was incredibly driven with every task he accomplished. He will be deeply missed. Heaven awaits to give Mr.Vessey his academy award Oscar in film and communications. Thank you and Bravo to you....

  10. Benjamin Robinson posted an image:
    22 Mar 2021
    He was always "Mr. Vessey" to me.
    He was always "Mr. Vessey" to me.

  11. Benjamin Robinson says:
    22 Mar 2021
    In my freshman year of high school, I desperately wanted to get into Mr. Vessey’s media class to start to learn about filmmaking. When I was finally admitted, he didn’t disappoint; in fact, he became one of the biggest inspirations of my life. He let me borrow his own lighting and camera equipment to make two movies of my own, staying late at school while I painstakingly edited them. He hired me to work for him at his production company, giving his own time and attention to provide me with valuable experience that has served me throughout my career. I will always remember his upbeat attitude and patience. Thank you, Mr. Vessey, for being so instrumental in the first chapter of my life as a film editor and scholar, for staying in touch throughout the years, and for always providing encouragement and advice. You will be missed and fondly remembered.

  12. Scott Wiblemo says:
    22 Mar 2021
    Jon was an intelligent, friendly and fine man.

  13. Lynne Herndon lit a candle:
    22 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 22, 2021 at 3:28:50 PM

  14. Hilary Ferrand lit a candle:
    22 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 22, 2021 at 3:04:49 AM

  15. Zach & Kati Lemberg lit a candle:
    22 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 22, 2021 at 3:39:38 AM

  16. Kathryn Mullins lit a candle:
    22 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 22, 2021 at 3:03:05 AM

  17. Sam lit a candle:
    21 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 21, 2021 at 3:03:04 PM

  18. Carrie Whittaker lit a candle:
    21 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 21, 2021 at 3:29:46 PM

  19. Carrie Whittaker says:
    21 Mar 2021
    Jon was such a great teacher and kind man. He did the video for my wedding and I treasure it...his work was amazing. Blessings to his whole family.

  20. Nate Haggard lit a candle:
    21 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 21, 2021 at 3:35:24 PM

  21. Cindy G Fellers lit a candle:
    21 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 21, 2021 at 3:34:38 PM

  22. Angela Petraline lit a candle:
    21 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 21, 2021 at 3:35:39 PM

  23. Rev. Dr. Marcha Barbosa lit a candle:
    21 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 21, 2021 at 3:23:32 PM

  24. Loren Miller lit a candle:
    21 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 21, 2021 at 3:02:17 PM

  25. Loren Miller lit a candle:
    21 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 21, 2021 at 3:01:03 PM

  26. Regina Roest lit a candle:
    21 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 21, 2021 at 3:30:41 PM

  27. Lisa Ewing lit a candle:
    21 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 21, 2021 at 3:09:58 AM

  28. Lisa Ewing lit a candle:
    21 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 21, 2021 at 3:07:57 AM

  29. Deanne Beran lit a candle:
    21 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 21, 2021 at 3:47:58 AM

  30. Becky Twigg lit a candle:
    21 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 21, 2021 at 3:21:25 AM

  31. Christine Garcia lit a candle:
    21 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 21, 2021 at 3:28:43 AM

  32. David Boone lit a candle:
    20 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 20, 2021 at 3:05:36 PM

  33. Chris Corcoran lit a candle:
    20 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 20, 2021 at 3:37:24 PM

  34. Chris Corcoran lit a candle:
    20 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 20, 2021 at 3:36:24 PM

  35. Niki Conrad lit a candle:
    20 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 20, 2021 at 3:46:28 PM

  36. Lauren Miller lit a candle:
    20 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 20, 2021 at 3:46:16 PM

  37. Megan Srinivas posted an image:
    20 Mar 2021


  38. Megan Srinivas lit a candle:
    20 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 20, 2021 at 3:29:12 PM

  39. Megan Srinivas lit a candle:
    20 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 20, 2021 at 3:28:48 PM

  40. Jonathan Payne lit a candle:
    20 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 20, 2021 at 3:53:56 PM

  41. Mary Estes says:
    20 Mar 2021
    To the Vessey Family,
    My sincere sympathy to all of you on Jon’s passing. Jon was a well respected teacher at Fort Dodge High School. He taught my children and was a good mentor for them. Jon also was a tenant of ours for his Personal Memories Video business. He was always friendly and will be missed. My thoughts and prayers for your families.
    Mary Estes, Fort Dodge, Iowa

  42. Debra E. Carlson lit a candle:
    20 Mar 2021
    Lit since March 20, 2021 at 3:48:27 PM

  43. Obituary Admin posted an image:
    17 Mar 2021
    Family
    Family

  44. Obituary Admin posted an image:
    17 Mar 2021
    Jon
    Jon

  45. Obituary Admin posted an image:
    17 Mar 2021
    Jonathan Lee Vessey
    Jonathan Lee Vessey

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