Our staff's commitment to you

Our staff is committed to providing support, compassion, information, and direction as needed to all members of our community, their families, and friends who are dealing with loss and grief.

Nishna Valley Funeral and Cremation Service

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John P. (Pat) Leece Manager - Funeral Director
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Ashley Erickson Licensed Pre-Need Sales Agent & Aftercare Coordinator
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Barbara Cox Part-Time Receptionist / Visitation Assistant
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Mildred Elliott Part-Time Receptionist
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Linda George Part-Time Receptionist / Visitation Assistant
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Dee Shepard Part-Time Receptionist
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Charles "Sarg" Vaile Funeral Assistant
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Tom Brodersen Funeral Assistant

John P. (Pat) Leece

Manager - Funeral Director
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Pat Leece is the managing funeral director at the Nishna Valley Funeral Home in Shenandoah.  

Born in Omaha, Nebraska, I lived in Millard, Nebraska until the age of six.  I spent a short time in Springfield, Nebraska before moving to Essex, Iowa.  I attended the Essex Community Schools and graduated from the Essex High School with the class of 1989.

I attended Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri for two years before receiving my Bachelor's degree in Animal Science from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln in 1994.  I have been blessed  to be able to come back home and raise my family while serving families in Shenandoah and the surrounding communities since receiving my Mortuary Schence degree from the Dallas Institute of Funeral Service in August of 1995.

My passion for funeral service began the summer of my freshman year of college when I started setting stones for a local funeral home.  As I worked at the funeral home throughout college and experienced all the different aspects of funeral service, I felt a strong calling to do this as my life work.  I have always been a compassionate person and feel kindness is paramount in any situation.  My greatest satisfaction comes from helping people through a most difficult time in their lives.  The highest pay I receive is a hug at the end of a funeral.

I still live on the family farm at Essex near the Pierce Creek Recreation Area.  It is there where I find sanctuary in the daily chores and upkeep involved with any acreage.  I am most proud of my family, which includes my wife Carrie (Aistrope); two sons, Colton (attending Iowa State) and Cade (attending sixth grade); and two daughters, Addison (attending third grade) and our baby, Lynlee Quinn.  I stay active in the community as a member of the Shenandoah Rotary Club, having served as past president.  I am also active with the local Meals on Wheels, serving on the Shenandoah Booster Club board, and a member of the Shenandoah Elks Club.

I am proud and humbled with my expanded role with Nishna Valley Funeral and Cremation Service, in service to all of you.

Ashley Erickson

Licensed Pre-Need Sales Agent & Aftercare Coordinator
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Ashley Erickson is the licensed pre-need sales agent and aftercare coordinator for Nishna Valley Funeral and Cremation Service. Pre-arrangements (also known as "pre-need" or "advance planning") can relieve families from the strain of making at least one set of decisions during a very emotional and stressful time.  Ashley works with individuals and families to make sure they understand all the options that are available and help them select only the services they want.  With affordable pre-payment options, this significantly relieves loved ones from future financial responsibilities and burdens and gives "peace of mind" that final arrangements are taken care of.  As the aftercare coordinator, Ashley understands that when the funeral ends the healing process begins and that grief support and recovery is an important portion of the services offered at Nishna Valley Funeral and Cremation Service.  An aftercare program is offered to our families in the community and surrounding area.  It is our hope that the information from the program helps understand some of the "feelings of loss" that might be happening and provide comfort and support.  Ashley also takes the time to check with families in the weeks and months following to see if they require assistance with any issues.  She and her husband Scott Erickson, funeral director at Loess Hills Funeral and Cremation Center, make their home in Glenwood, Iowa.  They have two children, Jaxon and Vivian.  Along with being a busy mom and wife, Ashley and her family are members of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church in Glenwood.  She is also a member of MOPS and is enrolled as a part-time student at IWCC in Council Bluffs.

Barbara Cox

Part-Time Receptionist / Visitation Assistant
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Barb is a part-time receptionist at Nishna Valley Funeral and Cremation Service.  She greets families, visitors and vendors, in person and on the phone.  She also helps with visitations.  Barb is a native "Shenandoah-an", born and raised by her parents, Wayne and Flossie Greer, and is a proud graduate of the Shenandoah High School with the class of 1965.  She continued her education throught Iowa Western Community College and received her BAchelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Buena Vista College.  She and her late husband Lyle have one daughter, Deanna, born in 1975.  Deanna and her husband Paul Berning and their two delightful children, Will and Madi, have brought much joy to Barb's life.  Barb was employed at the Shenandoah Family Dentistry for 24 years until her retirement in 2014.  She enjoys traveling with family and friends and spending time with her grandkids.  Barb considers her fortunate to be a part of the Nishna Valley Funeral Home team and making them a part of her family also.

Mildred Elliott

Part-Time Receptionist
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Mildred is a part-time receptionist at Nishna Valley Funeral and Cremation Service.  She greets families, visitors and vendors in person and on the phone.  Mildred was born on a ranch in Yuma, Colorado, raised on a farm until age 15 and moved to Shenandoah.  Mildred graduated in 1951 from the Shenandoah High School.  She started keeping books right out of high school and was married in 1954 to Bob Elliott.  They were blessed with two daughters.  Mildred kept the books for their trucking business and farm.  She worked for the Atchison County mail for 8 years, keeping books and writing articles.  Throughout the years, Mildred has been involved with clubs and church and served as a 4-H club leader for 11 years.  She loves to cook and entertain and hosting open house events during Christmas; making all the goodies and decorating her home.  Mildred truly enjoys people and has worked at the funeral home since 2003.  

Linda George

Part-Time Receptionist / Visitation Assistant
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Linda is a part-time receptionist at Nishna Valley Funeral and Cremation Service in Shenandoah.  She greets families, visitors, and vendors, in person and on the phone and also helps at visitations.  She and her husband Larry have three daughters, one son and five grandchildren.  Linda worked in the cosmetology field for 35 years; owning and operating a beauty shop in Riverton, Iowa, as an instructor at SWICC in Shenandoah, managed a shop in Coin, with work done in Fremont and Page counties.  Linda was an activities director at Elm Heights Park Crest in Shenandoah.  Now in her retirement years, Linda considers it a great pleasure to be working at Nishna Valley Funeral and Cremation Service.

Dee Shepard

Part-Time Receptionist
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Dee is a part-time receptionist at Nishna Valley Funeral and Cremation Service.  She greets families, visitors, and vendors, in person and on the phone.  Dee was Colorado born and raised, but her life has been deeply embedded in southwest Iowa.  For 50 years she has been married to the love of her life, Gary.  They have two fantastic children, Mike and Sandy, and their spouses, Michelle and Rick, whom they consider their kids (not in-laws).  Dee and Gary have six very special grandchildren, Torie, Bruce, Brian, Brett, Torenton and Tinley, who center their lives perfectly.  Dee also enjoys camping, boating and cheering on all their kids as they are water skiing, knee boarding or wake boarding during their family camping trips to their favorite lake.

Charles "Sarg" Vaile

Funeral Assistant
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Charles "Sarg" works part-time assisting the funeral director, helps with funerals and other tasks at Nishna Valley Funeral and Cremation Service.  Charles was born in Iowa City, Iowa and grew up in Des Moines.  He graduated from Roosevelt High School in January 1960, enlisted in the United States Marine Corp in February 1960, released from active duty on Feburary 1, 1964 and was honorably discharged.  He attended IWCC in Council Bluffs and Clarinda in Criminal Justice.  Charles became a member of the Iowa State Patrol in September 1964, assigned to the Shenandoah, Iowa area and was a member of the Iowa State Patrol for 36 years.  in 1993, he was promoted to Sergeant in 1993 and was assigned as Assistant District Commander for District 3 in Council Bluffs.  Charles retired in June 2000 and began working for the funeral home.  He and his wife Sharon have two children, Michael and Wendy and have four grandchildren.  Charles has been a member of the American Legion Post 88 in Shenandoah for the past 41 years, served on the Shenandoah Fire Department for 23 years, was a member of the Shenandoah Lion's Club for 15 years, and a past member of the SW Iowa Peace Officers Association.  He is a current member of the Iowa State Retired Troops Association.  Charles is proud of living and retiring in Shenandoah and being able to serve the community along with his work at Nishna Valley Funeral and Cremation Service.

(We thank Sarg for his military service to our country)

Tom Brodersen

Funeral Assistant
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Tom works part-time assisting the funeral director, helps with funerals and other tasks at Nishna Valley Funeral and Cremation Service.  Arthur T. "Tom" Brodersen grew up on a farm in central Missouri with one brother and three sisters.  After graduating from Otterville High School in 1952, he worked various jobs; truck driver, bookmobile driver and a carpenter until a cousin from Shenandoah, Iowa offered him an apprenticeship in his barber shop if Tom would attend barber college in Des Moines.  In 1957, he moved to Shenandoah to barber, but was drafted into the United States Army.  He served two years with time spent in Germany.  In 1960, he and Doris Savage were married.  They have two sons; Steve and his wife Dawn live in Lexington, Kentucky and Bob and his wife Beth live in Adel, Iowa.  Tom and Doris have three grandsons and one granddaughter.  Tom was a Jaycee Club member and later, the Rotary Club, Elks, and helped with the local boys' scout troop.  He enjoyed camping with his familly.  Tom purchased the barber/beauty shop from Dennis Boldra in 1968 and retired in 2010....totalling 53 years serving the public.  He and his wife Doris were honored as Grand Marshals of the Fall Shenfest Parade.  Tom like doing his own home projects, follows school sports, plays golf, and is active in the Presbyterian Church.