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Jon Crose

Posted August 01, 2013 in Obituaries, Greene County, West Des Moines

January 1, 1934 – July 30, 2013

Jon Crose

Jon Crose

Jon Crose, 79, passed away peacefully on July 30, 2013, at The Mercy Hospice House surrounded by family and friends. Jon was born on January 1, 1934, to Fred and Jean (Dunlop) Crose and grew up in Scranton, Iowa, graduating from Scranton High School in 1952. Always the entrepreneur, Jon left his mark on Scranton by opening a weekend popcorn stand in town as a youngster and designing and building a house for his parents while in college.

Jon graduated from Iowa State College in 1956 with a degree in Landscape Architecture. He served in the US Army shortly after graduation. After two years of service, Jon returned home and married Kay Harper. Together they raised two children while Kay supported Jon’s drive and ambition. Jon started his career working for the State of Iowa State Conservation Commission. In 1965, he launched the firm, Jon Crose and Associates, which operated out of his home. Rich Gardner joined Jon in 1969 and in 1972, it became known as Crose Gardner and Associates. Jesse Lewis joined the two in 1973 as an intern and never left, becoming a partner in 1990. The business eventually became part of RDG Planning and Design and grew to include offices in Des Moines, Ames and Omaha. Over the span of his career, Jon mentored many landscape architects and set a high standard for excellence.

Jon taught classes at Iowa State University, served on several boards, including the Anawim Housing Board, the Landscape Architecture Registration Board and held every officer position within the Iowa Chapter of ALSA. In 1976, Jon chaired the committee to establish Landscape Architecture licensure law. Jon was also a member of the original Downtown Des Moines Reciprocity Club, the Des Moines Rotary Club, and on the Advisory Board of the Blank Park Zoo Foundation.

In 2005, Jon was the recipient of the first ever Iowa ASLA President’s Award recognizing his significant service to the profession. Jon was inducted into the American Society of Landscape Architects Council of Fellow in 2006 – among the highest honors the society bestows. Jon retired at the end of 2009. He was able to leave a legacy by designing spaces which create memories for others – most notably the design of The Des Moines Blank Park Zoo and Grays Lake Park.

In 1989, Jon married Patricia Leeper Graves and together they raised Pat’s daughter Elizabeth. Pat and Jon spent many years together entertaining, gardening, traveling and enjoying children and grandchildren. Pat became a loving caregiver to Jon in his later years and enabled him to live out his final years at home with dignity and grace. Jon fought Parkinson’s armed with great determination and a keen sense of humor and had an amazing will to live. The family would like to thank the numerous doctors, nurses, caregivers and friends that contributed to his care over the years.

He relished his 26 annual fishing trips to Canada with his fishing buddies. Most of all, Jon enjoyed his family, especially his grandchildren. In addition to his loving wife, Pat, he is survived by his children, Scott (Linda) Crose, Urbandale, Marcy Suntken, Highlands Ranch, CO, and Elizabeth Graves, Des Moines; granddaughters, Sholly Crose, Annapolis, MD, Cassie Crose, Urbandale, and Jamie and Abby Suntken, Highlands Ranch, CO. Jon is also survived by in-laws, Miles and Gladys Leeper, Garden Grove, IA, sister-in-law, Judy (Jim) Lane, Williamsburg, brother-in- laws, Mike (Heidi) Leeper, Des Moines, Ron (Deb) Leeper, Des Moines, Jim Leeper, Norwalk, Fred (Michelle) Leeper, Wichita, KS, John (Maria) Leeper, Independence, MO; Kay Crose, Des Moines, Jeff Suntken, Highlands Ranch, CO; nieces, Jennifer (Luke) Cunningham and Kelly Miles, New Jersey, Cindy(Ben Fee) Lane, Milwaukee, WI, 11 other nieces, four nephews, eight great-nieces and three great-nephews and numerous other relatives, extended family, friends and many, many colleagues. He was preceded in death by his parents, and his sister, Margaret Jean and her husband, Dick Miles.

Visitation and a celebration of Jon’s life will be from 5:30-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, August 6, at St. Augustin Catholic Church at 42nd & Grand, Des Moines. At the visitation, we will be honoring Jon’s wishes by sharing prayer, fellowship, refreshments and storytelling! The funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m., on Wednesday, August 7, at St. Augustin Catholic Church.

Memorial contributions may be directed to The Blank Park Zoo Foundation or Anawim Housing.


Information provided by:
Iles Funeral Homes
Westover Chapel
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA 50322

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