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Berleen, Dennis Joseph (1946-1968)


Posted By: Debbie Greenfield (email)
Date: 9/28/2017 at 13:14:41

Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, Iowa, Thursday, March 21, 1968

Head-on Crash Kills 5 at Ft. Dodge

2 local youths, ex-Webster City couple victims

Five persons, including two Webster City young men and a former Webster City couple, were killed early this morning in a head-on crash on Highway 20 about eight miles east of Fort Dodge.

Dead were Dennis Joseph Berleen, 21, and Gary Dean Brownfield, 25, both of Webster City; Mr. and Mrs. George Harold Garth, former Webster Cityans who resided near Fort Dodge, and Mrs. Mildred McCain, 49, Fort Dodge.

Glen McCain, 51, whose wife was one of those killed, was seriously injured in the crash and was taken to Mercy hospital in Fort Dodge where he was reported in fair condition.

Relatives here in Webster City reported that today was the birthday of both Mr. Garth, 65, and his wife, Hallie, 64. The Garths' younger son, Chester, residing in Cedar Rapids, also was born on March 21. The Garths formerly lived in Webster City before moving to Clear Lake where Mr. Garth was in the implement business for many years. The family had lived in the Fort Dodge community about 15 years and Mr. Garth was branch manager for the New Idea Implement Co.

Fort Dodge officials said the two couples were returning from the Iowa High Schools Boys basketball tournament in Des Moines after seeing the Fort Dodge Dodgers win their first tournament contest last evening.

According to the highway patrol, the accident occurred shortly after midnight, and Iowa Highway Patrol officers, headed by Darold Stinman of Fort Dodge, head investigator, said indications were that the eastbound Webster City youths' car, registered to Berleen, apparently had crossed the center line shortly before the impact.

Officials said the Berleen car was spun around by the impact and came to a halt in the westbound lane, facing west. The auto caught fire shortly after the crash, and some Fort Dodge high school students, coming upon the scene of the accident, pulled Berleen out, but he was reportedly already dead. The Vincent and Fort Dodge fire departments were called to extinguish the blaze.

Highway patrolmen and others called to the scene helped shove the other car, reportedly driven by Garth, away from the blazing Berleen auto to prevent it from catching fire, too. All the crash victims were apparently pinned inside the autos which had come to a stop on the pavement, both heading west.

The collision tied up traffic on Highway 20 for about two hours. A string of Fort Dodge school buses, coming home from the game in Des Moines, arrived on the scene shortly after the accident. Among the riders in one of the buses was a son of Mr. and Mrs. McCain.

Berleen rites on Saturday

Funeral services for Dennis J. Berleen, 21, will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Foster Funeral home with the Rev. A.E. Rau officiating and with burial in Cass Center cemetery.

Dennis Joseph Berleen, son of John and Dorothy Berleen, was born Nov. 14, 1946, at Webster City. He received his education in the Webster City schools being graduated with the class of 1965. During his school days and after graduation he worked at United Foods store here. Later, he was employed at the Franklin Mfg. Co., and for the past year had been working in Des Moines.

Surviving are his parents, two brothers and two sisters, Pvt. Clarence Berleen, with the U.S. Army at Fort Lewis, Wash., Carol Berleen, Floyd Berleen and Nancy Berleen, all at home.

Also surviving are the grandparents, Mrs. Rosie Berleen, Mrs. Pearl Boswell and Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Boylan, all of Webster City.

He was baptized and attended the Evangelical United Brethren church in Webster City.


Hamilton Obituaries maintained by Janelle Graham Martin.
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