Rippey community mourns loss of Keith Devilbiss

~by Luann Waldo, Editor, The Scranton Journal

The Rippey community is mourning the loss of a volunteer who in the past two years has made a big impact on the community. Keith Devilbiss, 78, died from injuries suffered in an ATV / pickup crash Wednesday, June 15, at 2:55 pm.

Devilbiss was traveling west on Howard St in Rippey while Nicholas Carter Rice, 18, of Rippey was southbound on Second St. The incident report filed by the Iowa State Patrol states that Devilbiss failed to yield the right of way to the Rice vehicle at the uncontrolled intersection. The ATV struck the front driver’s side of Rice’s 2005 Ford F-150 pickup.

Devilbiss was ejected from the ATV and suffered fatal injuries. His funeral service was held on Tuesday.

Last year, Mary Weaver submitted a story about Devilbiss and his tireless work to build a memorial to the Rippey school. He worked as a brick mason, beginning his career when the Rippey gymnasium was constructed in 1957 by carrying mud. Devilbiss worked in central Iowa and eventually began his own business, Devilbiss Construction.

Although he was retired from the business, Keith put his expertise to work in designing and constructing a memorial to the Rippey school. Using the “Rippey Consolidated School” sign, the identification signage and bricks that were salvaged, he constructed a beautiful wall that will stand the test of time and allow the Rippey community to forever remember their school.

With assistance from family and friends, engraved bricks were installed this spring in the surrounding area so that everyone could be a part of the memorial. That work was finished just in time for the Rippey Alumni banquet on May 28.

Sharon Ulrich called me late in May and suggested that Keith would be a good subject for a feature story. She even provided me with photos so that all I had to do was give him a call and interview him.

Time got away from me. Now I can’t reach Keith for the interview to write the story to give him the credit he most certainly deserves. I will always regret that.

Weaver’s information from 2015 stated Devilbiss had plans to move the school playground equipment to the Rippey baseball park area. He also hoped to refurbish the skating rink into a usable area for the youth.

 While Keith’s participation in these projects has ended, I have no doubts that the good folks of Rippey will see them through to completion. His work is done now and may he rest in peace.


Print or share article:Print this page
Email this to someone
Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on Facebook