John Lewis Fatland, named after his grandfathers, John Fatland and Lewis Larson, was born January 2nd, 1925 in Colfax to Dr. Olaf S. and Luella B. Larson Fatland, to join an older sister, Kathryn Jean. He attended the Colfax public schools, graduating from high school in 1943. He subsequently attended the University of Iowa, where he earned a B.A. in Liberal Arts in 1946 and an M.D. in 1949. On October 31, 1948, he married the love of his life, Donita V. Hendricks. They'd go on to spend 64 beautiful years of life together, shared with numerous friends, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, and made sweet by countless memories, rollicking good stories, laughter, adventures around the globe, and generous amounts of love and affection.
Dr. Fatland enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1949 and went on to become a naval flight surgeon, serving overseas at Sangley Point in the Philippines during the Korean War from 1951-1953. Upon his discharge, Dr. Fatland and Donita briefly relocated to Council Grove, Kansas before moving once more for John to complete his four-year residency in Urology at the University of Iowa. In 1959, Dr. Fatland began a career in urology that would span nearly three decades. He retired from office practice January 1, 1985, and for the next decade would assume a number of teaching and part-time positions at the V.A. and the University of Iowa Medical School. Dr. Fatland felt it a great privilege to practice medicine and honored the respect many patients afforded him--but his wife and children were the loves of his life. Between the years 1949 and 1962, John and Donita were blessed with six children, one of whom died shortly after birth on Christmas day 1954. John loved and respected the individuality and beauty of each of his sons and daughters, and his life was enriched immeasurably by their family closeness, provocative suppertime discussions, and cherished family vacations. John considered Donita to be his ultimate blessing, and their natural chemistry was clear to all those in their presence over the many decades of their matrimony. Their passion for one another was accentuated by a mutual passion for flight--and together they took many trips all over the country in three different aircraft he piloted over the years. Outside the United States, the two travelled the globe, from Bolivia to Scotland and many destinations in between. Travel was an important part of the couple's life together, and in 1991 they decided to purchase a condo for winter use in Arizona, where they hosted nearly all their family and friends over the years. In Iowa they took up residence at the Farm, which quickly became the geographical and spiritual core of John's family for the better part of twenty years. There, John and Donita hosted holidays, grandkids' campouts, and their friends at the bridge table. Family was always welcome in the big red house, and many memories were made under that roof.
As John himself puts it in his personal notes, "He was not a perfect man by any means and was known to be pretty set in his ways and hard headed, but he could not have asked for a better life... he realized he was just an ordinary average person who was fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time for exceptional things to happen." While his family may disagree that John Fatland was anything less than an extraordinary, it is certainly true that his life was exceptional--and many lives were made exceptional by his presence and influence.
John will be dearly missed by those who survive him, including his five children, Tami,Todd (Linda), Tracy, Lars (Karen Giolli), and Heidi (Jeff Eaton); nine grandchildren, Elizabeth Maas (Ryan), Jon Blair (Darlene), Amanda Blair, Sarah Fatland (Cam Humphres) , Julie Knapp (Jason), Kathleen Fatland, Donita Grace Fatland, John Nile Fatland, and Jillian Fatland; and his nine great grandchildren, Mara and Rowyn Maas, Sophia, Wyatt, and Summit Knapp, Shayne Quick, Andrew Basden and Grayson and Lawson Blair. Those who preceded him in death, including his beloved parents, his infant son, his sister and his sweetheart Donita, are surely happy to be reunited with him at last.Funeral services will be held on Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at Coburn Funeral home in Colfax. Burial will follow at Colfax Cemetery. The family will greet friends starting at 12:30 at the funeral home. Memorials may be directed to the Alzheimer's Association or Colfax Library.
Just wanted to let you kids know how much we enjoyed your dad throughout the years. Sorry we can't make the service but wanted to let you all know were have you in our thoughts and prayers. Larry & Alice Woods
I'm saddened to learn of Dr. Fatland's passing and, at the same time, I'm smiling knowing that his wife, Donita, and my parents, Maury and Betty Gonder, are welcoming him with so much love and revelry. I recall meeting the Fatlands when they graciously accepted our invitation to help us celebrate my parents' Golden wedding anniversary in Golden, CO. What a beautiful couple and the love shared by Dr. Fatland & Dad was a special, brotherly-type love. Please accept my condolences during this time.
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