Greg “Herrb” passed, comforted by family on Saturday, December 3, 2016 in West Union, Iowa at the age of 56.
Funeral services will be held 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, December 7, 2016, at the United Methodist Church in Hawkeye with Mona Christie, Lay Servant officiating. Interment will follow at Bethel Cemetery, rural Hawkeye. Friends may call from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 6th at Becker-Milnes Funeral Home in Hawkeye and for one hour preceding services at the church on Wednesday. Memorials may be directed to the family.
Greg was born to Milton & Velma (Jean) Jones on January 7, 1960. He was baptized and confirmed at Alpha United Methodist Church, Alpha, Iowa. Greg attended North Fayette Schools through January 1978.
From birth until his passing, Greg nourished the people around him with practical jokes, humor, and quick-wit. Seeming to be born with a wrench in his hand, he possessed a keen skill for working on cars or machinery at a very early age—he just knew he could create, repair, and rebuild anything he could get his hands on—or so it seemed. His unwavering commitment to live life to the fullest remained his inspiring motivation after his diagnosis of terminal cancer. All the doctors, nurses, and hospice personnel complimented him on his positive attitude and willingness to choose to look forward with his diagnosis and to live life.
Greg was articulate and chose to use this skill in many job adventures. At 18, as he described it, he ran away from home to join the carnival, Merriam’s Midway. Here he encountered life-long friends that remained in touch over the years. After giving the carnival a whirl, he decided to take on an even bigger adventure on an off-shore rig in the in the Gulf. He always had a spice for life and was able to hone his cooking with Cajun spices during this adventure. Upon nourishing that journey, he returned to the Midwest and worked in traveling sales for Sentinel Gold. Although surprising to even himself, he felt the need to be grounded a bit more, and returned to Iowa and enrolled at Hawkeye Institute of Technology to complete his GED. Upon completing the GED and earning a scholarship for his high aptitude, he continued at Hawkeye Tech in the Auto Mechanics program where he graduated with a Diploma in February 1988. Upon graduation, he took no time for himself and started work the following Monday at Holdiman Motors in Cedar Falls. He worked there for five years upon which time he decided he wanted to unleash his entrepreneurial skills and start his own business as Herrb’s Speed & Pro automotive shop. After years of wrenching, he decided his hands and back needed a change of pace. He worked in northeast Iowa for a couple of farmers, most recently being Donna Lein, of Arlington. Greg took great pride in assisting with the sheep operation after Donna’s husband, Jim, passed. He loved telling stories about the new baby lambs and how he was now watching those original lambs birth their own babies. He took great pride in this role and appreciated the confidence Donna & Jim bestowed to him.
Greg was active in FFA, football, and wrestling in high school and boasts of the bench-presses he could do in his high school days. Greg’s hobbies included working on cars, truck-pulling competitions, rock collecting, ultra-light aircraft, and of course, the deep love for all his dogs, but most recently Bear and Bubba.
Greg was a loyal friend and loved his family. As with any family, there are trials and tribulations and Greg knew he brought his share to that table, but the commitment of his family helped to ground him at times. He wanted to remind friends and family that he leaves behind to watch out for one another and support each other in life.
Beyond all the adrenaline and excitement Greg found in his various careers and life choices, nothing compared to the pride for his daughter, Laysie. Raised by her mother, Tracy, Laysie is an intelligent, hard-working, compassionate and extremely loving young woman, daughter, wife, and mother. Greg found joyful tears on the day he attended Laysie’s wedding in November 2011 in Arizona. He was so proud to meet her husband and two sons and cherished the weekend he had to spend with all of them. His most recent time with Laysie was on Friday, November 4. He shared the excitement for that day with everyone he encountered. That day meant the world to him and helped bring peace to him in many ways. He was blessed to have two wonderful grandsons, Kash and Dezmon, added to his family. Nothing brought bigger smiles and tears than seeing pictures of Laysie and her boys over time.
Greg is survived by his daughter Laysie (Zach) Valdivia; grandsons Kash and Dezmon Valdivia of Arizona; parents Milton & Jean Jones of Hawkeye; sisters Sherry (Jack) Knipp of Waterloo, and Connie (Scott) Buhr of Sumner; brother Daryl Jones of Hawkeye; Nieces Libby (BJ) Funke of Des Moines, and Joelle (Nick) Gallick of Norwalk, Goddaughter Alyssa (Nick George) Buhr of Hawaii, and Kaylee Jones of Westgate; Nephews Jason (Livia) Knipp of Windsor Heights, Weston Buhr (Lacey Mason) of Sumner, Tylor Richmond and Dylon & Ben Jones of West Union; Great Nieces Romey, Clara, and Stella and Great Nephew Henrik; uncles, aunts, cousins, and an exceptionally devoted group of life-long friends.
Greg was predeceased by his faithful furry companions, Lucky, Snow, Fido, Bear and Bubba, his maternal grandparents, uncles, aunts, great uncles and aunts, and cousins and paternal grandparents, uncle, and great uncles and aunts.