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John J. Paper, 76, State Center

John J. Paper, 76, of State Center, entered into eternal life on November 1, in the peace of his home overlooking his farmland. Due to the pandemic, private family services are being held at St. Paul Lutheran, State Center, with Pastor Myron Herzberg officiating, and will be available online for the public to view on Saturday, November 7 at 10:00 A.M. The service will also be available to view after the livestream on the St. Paul Lutheran Facebook page. Interment will follow at Hillside Cemetery. In lieu of visitation, please send written condolences and fond memories to the family. To send a condolence or for instruction on how to attend the service via the internet, please visit his obituary at or call 641-844-1234. Memorial contributions may be directed to St. Paul Lutheran Church, Iowa River Hospice, or to the ALS Association of Iowa.

John Jay Paper was born on August 10, 1944, the youngest child of Henry and Mabel (Brandt) Paper of Missouri Valley, Iowa. He spent his first sixteen years in Missouri Valley, developing his love of fixing things by spending time at the electronics and appliance store that his parents owned. He was baptized and confirmed at First Lutheran Church – Missouri Valley. After his father’s death in 1960, John and his mother moved to State Center and he graduated in the last class of State Center Community School in 1962. He bought 160 acres north of town in 1966 and began his lifetime career of grain and hog farming. On April 7, 1968, John married Janella (Jo) Edler at St. Paul Lutheran Church and they were blessed with 52 years of love and companionship. In addition to farming, John worked for Edler Inc. with grain handling equipment, the sales department at Hubbard Implement and as a West Marshall school bus driver for 15 years. He always enjoyed joking with the students as he got them safely to and from school. 

An active community member, John served in the Army National Guard, and as a trustee and council member for St. Paul Lutheran Church, as well as Thrivent Board president.

He loved tinkering with Cub Cadets and Lionel trains, tractor rides and advising his family on how to solve their latest automotive, electrical or construction challenge. His gift of gab brought many smiles and lasting friendships. John’s absolute favorite place to be was fishing at South Turtle Lake in Ottertail County, Minnesota, which he enjoyed with five generations of Papers and many friends over 50+ years to enjoy the tales that were often bigger than the catch. 

Those left to cherish his memory are his wife, Janella; children: Jason (Valerie) Paper, Juli (Micheal) Hermanson and Jami (Ryan) Lercher; his grandchildren: Brittany (Jeremy) Annis, Bo (Emma) Ambler, Nicholas (Jennifer) Busma, Bobbi Paper, Benjamin Paper, Katelyn Hermanson, Andrew Hermanson, Lucille Lercher; his great grandchildren: Malia, Ava and Asher; sister, Virginia (Charles) Johnson, and five nieces and nephews and their families.

In eternal life, John has been reunited with his parents, and brother, James Paper.  

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