Russel Jordan

Former Rolfe area farmer, Russel Jordan, age 88, died on Tuesday, February 19. He had Parkinson's Disease for twenty years and was enrolled in Hospice for the past several weeks. He died at the Heritage House in Atlantic, Iowa.

Russel and his wife Mary Jane moved to a farm that they rented southwest of Rolfe in 1951. They returned to the Jordan family farm in the Atlantic area in 1975 after raising six children who graduated from Rolfe High School. Russel also was president of the Rolfe school board.

One of Russel and Mary Jane's daughters, Jeanne (RHS class of 1969), is a film editor in the Boston area and produces PBS-style programs. She and her cinematographer husband, Steve Ascher, produced a documentary about the Jordan homeplace that had been in the family since the Civil War.

Russel and Mary Jane nearly lost the farm to the bank in the early 1990s. The film, Troublesome Creek: A Midwestern, won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award in 1996. It was shown in theaters across the nation and around the world. It also became part of the public television series, The American Experience. Both Russel and Mary Jane had key roles in the film; however, Russel was the most out-spoken, and being a wonderful storyteller, he became somewhat of a international celebrity. Mary Jane died in 1995 after being ill with Lou Gehrig's disease.

Russel and Mary Jane are survived by their children, Pam (Gary) Wolfe of Elk Horn, Judy (Joe) Marnin of Anita, Janet (Mike) Sharpe of Red Oak, Jeanne Jordan (Steve Ascher) of Newton, Mass., Jim (Gini) Jordan of Atlantic, and Jon (Kim) Jordan of Atlantic. They also have many grandchildren and probably some great grandchildren. We have heard that Russel's memorial service will be on Sunday, February 24. His obituary in the Atlantic News Telegram says, "Services are pending at Roland Funeral Home in Atlantic."

Russ and Mary Jane Jordan

Russel "Russ" Jordan

James Russel "Russ" Jordan, 88, died on Tuesday, February 19, at Heritage House in Atlantic of complications of Parkinsonís Disease.

Russ was born on September 17, 1919, on the Jordan family farm on Troublesome Creek Road north of Wiota to James Warren and Grace A. (Russell) Jordan. He graduated from Wiota High School in 1937; in 1941 he married Mary Jane King of Hancock. They farmed in the area for several years, moving in 1950 to a farm near Rolfe, Iowa, where they lived for 25 years until returning to the area in 1975, purchasing the Carl and Marie Keller farm north of Atlantic and continuing to farm the Jordan family Century Farm.

In 1995 Russ and Mary Jane were featured in the documentary Troublesome Creek: A Midwestern, written and produced by their daughter Jeanne and her husband Steve. The movie highlighted the farm crisis in the Midwest, and won many awards, including the Sundance Film Festival and an Academy Award nomination. Russ enjoyed receiving calls and correspondence from all over the world, including two visits to Atlantic, by Australian tour groups in the late 1990ís. The movie continues to be aired on television and DVD.

Russ was an expert on John Deere machinery, and enjoyed collecting and restoring historic tractors. He was a remarkable story teller who always enjoyed meeting new people and sharing their stories. Russ will be remembered and missed by all who knew him.

He is survived by six children, Pam (Gary) Wolfe of Elk Horn, Judy (Joe) Marnin of Anita, Janet (Mike) Sharpe of Red Oak, Jeanne Jordan (Steven Ascher) of Newton, MA, Jim (Gini) Jordan and Jon (Kim) Jordan, both of Atlantic. He leaves eleven grandchildren: Mike (Connie) Wolfe of Plattsmouth, NE; Jan (Armando) Rosales of Dayton, OH; Jenny (Joe) Claggett of McKinney, TX; Jenna (Justin) Stoia of Franklin, NC; Justin (Becky) Sharpe of Bettendorf; Jordan Ascher of Newton, MA; Grace Jordan and Will Fahey of Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Jesse (Jared) Strong of Norwalk; James Jordan of Norwalk; Elliot Jordan of San Francisco, and Emily Jordan of Dayton, OH; and seven great-grandchildren, Caitlin, Mairin, and Brian Wolfe of Plattsmouth, NE; Nina and Emma Rosales of Dayton, OH; Josey Claggett of McKinney, TX; and Matthew Stoia of Franklin, NC; along with several nieces, nephews, and many friends

He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Jane in 1995; his parents, Warren and Grace Jordan; his four sisters and spouses, Adele (Harry) Osen, Virginia (Clarence) Osen, Geneva (John) Birk, and Janice (Richard) Fitch; his great-grandson, Joseph Michael Rosales; Mary Janeís parents, Charles and Luella King of Hancock, and her siblings and spouses, Charles (Keren) King, Ruth Haskins, and Esther (Keith) McMartin.

For more information on Troublesome Creek or to get a DVD go to: West City Films

Funeral Information

James Russel Jordan
Born September 17, 1919 north of Wiota, Iowa

Tuesday, February 19, 2008
At the age of 88 years, 5 months, 2 days

Sunday, February 24, 2008
Roland Funeral Home ~ Atlantic, Iowa

Pastors Bonnie Peterson & Mike Wolfe

"Hymn of Promise"
"Great Is Thy Faithfulness"

Connie Wolfe

Jared Strong, Justin Stoia, Justin Sharpe, James Jordan, Elliot Jordan, Jordan Ascher

Jan Rosales, Jenny Claggett, Jenna Stoia, Grace Jordan, Jesse Strong, Emily Jordan

Cass Inc

Wiota Cemetery ~ Wiota, Iowa

Russís family invites you to return to Rolands following the committal for coffee and fellowship