The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

August 2, 2013

Secret of 'Lighthouse Island' revealed

OTTUMWA — One of Ottumwa's secrets, held by one man for 10 years, is now coming to light.

Gerald Brees, who just celebrated his 71st birthday this week, has a storyteller's voice, low and soothing. He reflected on his life Friday afternoon and revealed a secret he's kept for the last decade: He put the lighthouse in the middle of Ottumwa Park's pond.

"Well, I went over to South Hy-Vee to pick up some bread and milk and as I was coming back through the lot they had their garden center ... set up and I seen this tall lighthouse," he said. "It struck me, so I stopped and I talked to the gals, and I bought it."

The "two young gals" delivered the lighthouse, weighing 200 to 300 pounds, to Brees' home.

"I'm sure when I brought home a quart of milk, two loaves of bread and a Hy-Vee truck, unloading a $200 statue, that she did kind of question my sanity," he said of his wife, Kay.

He sanded down the lighthouse in the garage and took a solid month to paint it; his grandchildren gathered around to watch every stroke. Everyone asked him, "What are you going to do with it?" He didn't answer. People said, "There's no place in your yard for it."

"Well, I didn't buy it for the yard," he said. "I bought it for the loaf of bread and gallon of milk she sent me after. I said, 'That's going on the island over in the park, and nobody's going to know where it came from.'"

But the next problem was how to lug the huge structure to the pond. That's where their three sons-in-law came into play: Brad (Kim) Timberlake, Kurt (Shellie) Stevens and Matt (Tara) Bresch. Breese's grandchildren, Wyatt and Sydney Timberlake and Jaden and Sage Stevens, went along for the ride.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0723 OTT Riverfront color photo -L -M Ideas flow at Riverfront Renaissance workshop OTTUMWA — Ideas flowed as freely as the river itself Tuesday evening as more than 100 Ottumwans shared their vision of what the riverfront can be.The Riverfront Renaissance design charrette, sponsored by the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, drew p

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kids … not cash OTTUMWA — From a project that started with nothing, supporters created a top-notch education facility for at-risk youth. Someone in on the project from the beginning shared the story. Wapello County Supervisor Jerry Parker addressed a community advis

    July 22, 2014

  • Staying healthy during extreme heat OTTUMWA — After unusually cool temperatures last week, it may have been easy to forget how the heat of summer feels, but an incoming heat wave will quickly remind you. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, heat is the No.

    July 22, 2014

  • Shooting ruled homicide OTTUMWA — The death of a man shot in Wapello County has been ruled a homicide. The Wapello County Sheriff’s Office on Monday received a 911 call of a shooting 4 miles southwest of Ottumwa. Deputies discovered Clinton Gus Leedom, 49, of Bloomfield, to

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723 OTT flood file photo Over $1 million to fight floods EDDYVILLE — It's not the way a town wants to get $1 million, but the damage suffered by Eddyville in recent floods has prompted the federal government to cut a check. Actually, it's Area 15 Regional Planning Commission, a community assistance agency

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Driver's license services temporarily suspended KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Treasurer’s Office has notified the Iowa Department of Transportation that it has suspended driver’s license services due to staffing issues in the county treasurer’s office. It is anticipated suspension of the services

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723 OTT Canoe Camp color photo -L -M -T Canoe Camp teaches water safety OTTUMWA — Six children at Pioneer Nature Area and Nature Center pond were making waves and getting wet as they flipped their canoes over in attempt to rescue each other. Since summertime and water activities go hand-in-hand, the goal of the activity

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0723 OTT Seth Techel mugshot -T Techel jury may begin deliberations Wednesday DAVENPORT — The jury in the third trial of a Wapello County man accused of murdering his wife may begin deliberations as early as Wednesday in Scott County, Davenport. The jury was excused mid-afternoon Tuesday while Judge Daniel Wilson, who continue

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Three appointed to Board of Adjustment OTTUMWA — Three new faces will appear on Wapello County Board of Adjustment, thanks to help from the county’s newspaper of record, the Ottumwa Courier. Four applicants applied for the positions and three were selected. New members include Marcia Week

    July 22, 2014

  • Slain woman's boyfriend: I didn't kill her DAVENPORT — A married man who had an affair with a slain Wapello County woman testified this morning that he did not kill her. Jason Tinnes, a jailer who worked with the late Lisa Caldwell Techel, said their affair ended shortly before she died. Tinn

    July 22, 2014

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook