Skip to main content

John Lee Scuffham

Kossuth County Advance - Staff Photo - Create Article

April 13, 1945 - May 24, 2023

Funeral services for John Scuffham were held on Tuesday, May 30, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Algona with Reverend Chris Burtnett officiating. A visitation was held 5 to 7 p.m., Monday, May 29, at Oakcrest Funeral Services in Algona. Memorial contributions may be made to the First Congregational Church Endowment Fund or to the family to distribute to local non-profits.  To leave an online tribute, visit

Military honors conducted by Hagg-Turner Post #90, Howard D. Omdahl V.F.W. Post # 2541 and Iowa National Guard Honor Guard.

John Lee Scuffham was born April 13, 1945, to John and Mildred (Gerber) Scuffham at Algona. He entered into eternal rest with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Wednesday, May 24, 2023. He lived his entire life on the family farm just northeast of Algona on Plum Creek Road. From an early age he loved the land and farming was in his blood. He began his formal education in country school, transferring to Algona Public Schools in 5th grade and graduating in 1963.

Growing up he was involved in 4-H and in high school with FFA, where George Seifert was his teacher and mentor. Through FFA he earned his Iowa Farmer Degree.

John joined the Iowa Army National Guard in May, 1965, attended the Iowa Military Academy and was commissioned 2nd LT as a Field Artillery Officer. He was later commissioned 1st LT before resigning his commission and separating in 1973. It was his time and experience in the military that sparked his passion for education.

John and his brother Rod were partners in many things. They formed Scuffham Brothers Poland Chinas and enjoyed showing their hogs. He followed Helen to Iowa State where he received his associate degree in Farm Operations in May 1970. John and Helen (Skow) Scuffham were united in marriage at the First Presbyterian Church, Algona, on June 20, 1970. They shared almost 53 years of marriage. Their love was blessed with two sons, Matt and Mark, who enriched their lives beyond measure.

While at Iowa State he became a lifelong Iowa State Football fan, holding season football tickets for 52 years. He helped raise funds for the new stadium and received an Outstanding Alumni Award. His passion for ISU women’s basketball began in 1999 when Matt, then a student, invited him to come to a game. The whole family got involved: “Once a Cyclone, always a Cyclone!”

John rarely missed a Sunday service at First Congregational UCC. John loved his Lord and practicing his Christian faith. He was always active in serving the church and serving in leadership roles. National Presbyterian Mariners was special to the whole family as they traveled and met friends from around the country as the boys were growing up.

John began farming after high school and, along with his brother Rod, formed Scuffham Brothers Inc. in 1979. Over the years they raised hogs, sheep, cattle and row crops. He was also active with the Kossuth County Pork Producers. In his last years John liked to say they became ‘gentlemen farmers’ as they discontinued raising livestock and went to only corn and beans, but of course John still had his garden.

John became a member of the Algona Community School Board in 1973 at the age of 28, the youngest Algona board member ever. He served on the board for 28 years and during that time served terms as vice-president and president. The board received an Award of Merit as the top school board in the state of Iowa in 1999. When  John left the Algona Board he had the 2nd longest tenure of K-12 school board members in the state of Iowa. He then became a member of the Algona Community School Foundation Board until his death. He loved being involved with education and young people.

The start-up of Matt’s and Mark’s Pumpkins in 1985 led to Scuffham’s Garden. He enjoyed attending the Iowa Fruit & Vegetable Growers Conference where he would exchange ideas with other growers. Among other things this got him interested in growing big pumpkins. John had a lot of fun trying to grow a BIG pumpkin with lots to talk about and some success. The year 1990 was the first Jack-O-Lantern Lane, which became an amazing annual tradition for many, blocking traffic on Plum Creek Road and which brought smiles and good memories to so many. There were 34 years of pumpkin floats in the Algona Band Day Parade with John and Helen being honored as Grand Marshalls in 2006. Things grew and changed to where John became well known at Kossuth County Farmer’s Market, especially for his tomatoes and gladioli. He took great pride in entering his glads at the Kossuth County Fair and Clay County Fair, winning top placings. He made many people happy with his beautiful flowers.

John was a man of commitment. When he took something on it was all the way. He lived on the same farm all his life, was a dedicated church member for 64 years, farmed for 59 years, spent 52 years with ISU football season tickets, was married 52+ years, spent 28 years on the Algona School board, 22 years on the Algona School Foundation Board, 37 years with Scuffham’s Garden and a lifetime of love for God and family.

John is survived by his wife Helen, son Matt and wife Emily and their children; Parker and Taylor, of Urbandale; son Mark and wife Aileen, of Omaha, Neb.; as well as brother Rod and wife Rita, of Algona. There are also many in-laws, cousins, nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to the First Congregational Church Endowment Fund or to the family to distribute to local nonprofits.







Sign up for News Alerts

Subscribe to news updates