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The Magnitude Of Loss

Rose Frantzen
Rose Frantzen
"Portrait of Maquoketa" is the landscape view of Maquoketa, IA, painted by Rose Frantzen. The portrait was first shown at the Figg Art Museum in Davenport, IA in 2012/2013.

Maquoketa is a beautiful small town nestled in the hills of Eastern Iowa with a population of approximately 6,000, very close to the number of Iowans who have died of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

On this podcast of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe and her guests discuss the magnitude of the lives lost in Iowa and echo the message that behind each one of those numbers is a human life. A person who was loved and is missed.

The conversation starts with the The Iowa Mourns Project — a partnership between nine daily newspapers in Iowa in which reporters talk to the loved ones of those who have died in order to share their memories and help people in their community remember the lives lost in the pandemic. Local news editor of The Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier Meta Hemenway-Forbes talks about her contribution to the project and highlights the lives of Day Rey, John Brucher and Julie Ebel.

Later, artist Rose Frantzen and retired pharmacist Bob Osterhaus talk about the individuals that make their town of Maquoketa special. Frantzen and Osterhaus describe what it would be like to lose an entire community of that size. More than 6,050 Iowans have died of COVID-19.

Then, historian Leo Landis, curator of the State Historical Museum of Iowa, joins the program to put the loss into historical perspective.


  • Meta Hemenway-Forbes, local news editor of The Courier, Waterloo-Cedar Falls
  • Rose Frantzen, artist
  • Bob Osterhaus, retired, former owner and chief pharmacist at Osterhaus Pharmacy, Maquoketa, IA
  • Leo Landis, state curator, State Historical Society of Iowa
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Matthew was a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa