Flag Eagle

Darrel Emery Hardersen

February 5, 1947 ~ September 28, 2019 (age 72)

Obituary Image


Darrel Emery Hardersen, 72, of Onawa, Iowa passed away on September 28, 2019, at the Creighton University Medical Center, Bergan Mercy Campus in Omaha, Nebraska.  He courageously battled chronic medical problems for years but never let that define him.  Darrel inspired his family and many others by defying the odds time after time throughout his 12 year journey on dialysis, always having a positive attitude despite very difficult circumstances.

Funeral services will be 11:00 A.M. Wednesday, October 2, 2019, at the Faith Lutheran Church in Onawa, Iowa, with Pastor Marsha Smith officiating. A luncheon will follow at the Onawa Country Club. Burial will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery, Sioux City, Iowa with Military Honors provided by the 185th Air Refueling Wing-Base Honor Guard of Sergeant Bluff, Iowa. Visitation will be 5:00 – 7:00 P.M. Tuesday, October 1, 2019, at the Rush Family Chapel, Onawa, Iowa. Arrangements are under the direction of Rush Family Care Service, Onawa, Iowa.

Darrel was born on February 5, 1947, to Emery and Helen (Larson) Hardersen in Sioux City, Iowa.  Darrel was the oldest of five children growing up on the family farm just outside of Hinton.  Darrel graduated from Hinton Community High School in 1965 prior to attending one year of college at Wayne State.  He received his AA degree in 1979 from Sioux Empire College in Hawarden, Iowa. 

Darrel honorably joined the Air National Guard in 1966 and completed basic training at Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio, Texas.  He was called to active duty with the United States Air Force in Vietnam in 1968 and spent a year involved in the war.  Upon return of his service from Vietnam, Darrel continued his military career as an aircraft mechanic at the 185th Fighter Wing in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa spending many years as a Flight Chief.  Darrel received many awards and service medals over the course of his time in the Air National Guard and eventually retired in 2000.  Soon after, Darrel worked as a security guard at the Air Base in Sergeant Bluff for several years.  In 2003 one of Darrel’s fighter jets that he served as the Crew Chief for over 16 years, an A7D Corsair II, was transferred to Onawa and the Monona County Veteran’s Memorial Museum where it sits today just a few blocks from his home. 

Darrel was united in marriage to Cheryl Kovarna in 1970, making their home in Onawa, Iowa, where they enjoyed all stages of life and shared priceless experiences together for 49 years.  Darrel and Cheryl welcomed their first child, Melissa Rae, on May 30, 1975.  Their second child, Jonathan Darrel, was born on April 29, 1977. 

Golfing was a passion of Darrel’s and he always looked forward to getting on the course.  He thoroughly enjoyed playing nearly every day leading up to his death despite not feeling well.  Many friendships were established and extremely valued while playing the game of golf.  Darrel also enjoyed playing, coaching, and attending many sporting events, especially when it involved his kids and grandkids.

Darrel is survived by his loving wife of 49 years, Cheryl (Kovarna) Hardersen of Onawa, Iowa; daughter, Melissa Hardersen, of Omaha, Nebraska; son, Jonathan Hardersen and wife Lisa, of Urbandale, Iowa; grandchildren, Cooper, Hadley, and Davis Hardersen of Urbandale, Iowa; brother, Larry (Donna) Hardersen; sisters, Marlene (Tom) Baumann of Washta, Iowa, Marilyn (Bill) Murra of Schaller, Iowa, and Judy (Dan) Schwartz of Iowa City, Iowa; and several nieces and nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Emery and Helen (Larson) Hardersen; nephew, Kierian Hardersen.

Darrel was a genuinely kind soul and he lived his life to the fullest.  Although he will be greatly missed, his life will no doubt have a lasting impact on others for years to come. 

Condolences may be left online for the family at www.rushfamilycareservice.com

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Darrel Emery Hardersen, please visit our floral store.


October 1, 2019

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Rush Family Chapel
1629 10th Street
Onawa, IA 51040

Funeral Service
October 2, 2019

11:00 AM
Faith Lutheran Church
316 15th Street
Onawa, IA 51040

© 2020 Rush Family Care Service. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA