The Runge Mortuary & Crematory

838 East Kimberly Road, Davenport, IA


Lew R. Zabel

December 2, 1947July 23, 2019
Play Tribute Movie

Lew R. Zabel, 71, of Bettendorf, IA passed away Tuesday, July 23, 2019 at Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House. Funeral Services will be 10:00 am on Monday, July 29, 2019 at the Bettendorf Christian Church located at 3487 Town Pointe Dr. Visitation will be from 8:30 to 10:00 am on Monday at the church. You are encouraged to wear Hawkeye attire to the services. Memorials may be made to the family. Online condolences may be expressed at www.rungemortuary.com.

Lew was born December 2, 1947 in Davenport, IA to Lester A. and Martha (Lightner) Zabel. Lew was united in marriage to Cathy Bingham on April 24, 1970 in Davenport, IA. Lew was employed as a Chief Deputy Assessor for Scott County, Iowa.

He was an avid Hawkeye and Chicago Cubs fan. He loved bowling, hunting and playing baseball. But above all he loved his Lord and Savior and enjoyed helping others. Lew was the strength, the rock of his family.

Those left honoring his memory include his loving wife of forty-nine years; daughter, Stacey Zabel-Hudson; son, Sean Zabel; siblings, Ken Zabel, Rhonda Malito and Ted Zabel; grandchildren: Alex, Cheyenne, Gage, Spencer, Emma and Josslyn; lifelong friends Dr. Wayne “Butch” and Lynn Carney, Ron and Elaine Beckenbaugh ; numerous nieces and nephews.

Lew was preceded in death by his parents. You're encouraged to wear Hawkeyes attire to honor Lew and his love for his favorite team.

The family would like to express a special thanks to the remarkable staff at Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House.


  • Lester A. Zabel, Father (deceased)
  • Martha (Lightner) Zabel, Mother (deceased)
  • Cathy (Bingham) Zabel, Wife
  • Stacey Zabel-Hudson, Daughter
  • Sean Zabel, Son
  • Ken Zabel, Brother
  • Rhonda Malito, Sister
  • Ted Zabel, Brother
  • Lew is also survived by his grandchildren: Alex, Cheyenne, Gage, Spencer, Emma and Josslyn; lifelong friends Dr. Wayne “Butch” and Lynn Carney, Ron and Elaine Beckenbaugh ; numerous nieces and nephews.

  • Sean Zabel, Honourary Pallbearer
  • Ken Zabel, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Ted Zabel, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Bob Malito, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Craig Stiles, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Andrew Hudson, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Butch Carney, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Ron Beckenbaugh, Honorary Pallbearer


  • Visitation Monday, July 29, 2019
  • Funeral Service Monday, July 29, 2019


Lew R. Zabel

have a memory or condolence to add?

Mick Beckenbaugh

July 29, 2019

Remembering warmly the many lazy summer days playing "slugger" with Lew at the old Bettendorf High School ball diamond. His home was just across the street. Lew's mom and dad treated Lew's friends just like family. There was such humor in that home! In the many years that have passed since that time, I have enjoyed the comfort of knowing that Lew was my brother's best friend.. a kind, generous, loyal, fun-loving, caring person... another brother of sorts.

To all of Lew's family and friends, please accept our deepest sympathy.
Mick and Ludi Beckenbaugh

Linda & Mike Johnson

July 27, 2019

Cathy and family,

We have a lot of great "Assessment days" memories of Lew.
All of you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Our deepest sympathy,
Linda (former Muscatine County Deputy Assessor)
and Mike Johnson

Paul & Linda Thomsen

July 26, 2019

Our deepest sympathies to the family of Lew on his passing. We knew Lew through the East Central District of Assessors and always saw him as a dedicated associate. He was always polite and courteous and quite distinctive with his military style, flat-top hair cut. At district and state meetings, PT often greeted Lew as Sergeant Carter. That always brought a smile to his face and a chuckle throughout the Assessor group.

John Boedeker

July 24, 2019

I have known Lew for many years. I found him to be very friendly and funny. I considered him to be a friend. I asked him to serve on my program committee when I was ISAA President and he did his best and didn’t disappoint me. He helped make it the success it was. RIP!

Penny Ravlin

July 24, 2019

I have very fond memories of Lew. He was a wonderful, kind, friendly person. I loved watching him bowl! The assessment profession will dearly miss him.

Starr Vogel

July 24, 2019

My deepest sympathies. My prayers are with you all. May God wrap his loving arms around you and give you comfort and peace.

Stacie Winrow

July 23, 2019

Lew had such an awesome spirit and a great sense of humor. He was the "cool" dad to have. Loved going to their house when Stacey and I were teenagers! Always laughter around him! Love him! He will be deeply missed by his family more than anyone can imagine. Much love and prayers to you Cathi, Stacey and family and Sean and family.

Stacey Zabel-Hudson

July 23, 2019

Everyone is encouraged to wear Hawkeye attire to the visitation and funeral, to honor my dad!!!

Chad Phillips

July 23, 2019

I met Lew at the bowling alley. Andy asked me to come sub one night and you would have thought he knew me forever. He was kind and very funny. Will never forget that bowling season and how much fun bowling with him was. RIP Lew. Now you get to knock down those heavenly pins. Till next time we meet, here’s to you. Cheers



Lew R. Zabel was a natural leader whose winning presence allowed him to take control of various situations with ease. Equipped with a clear and calculating focus, he possessed a tough-minded, “take charge” attitude. He had the ability to make even routine situations seem exciting, and he was at ease with the role of playing problem solver. Lew always sought out the scene of where the action was. Sociable, analytical and pleasant, Lew was an individual who enjoyed life’s challenges.

Lew was born on December 2, 1947 at St. Luke’s Hospital in Davenport, Iowa. His parents were Lester A. and Martha (Lightner) Zabel. Lew was raised in Davenport, Iowa and Bettendorf, Iowa. Always able to express himself well, Lew possessed strong interpersonal skills. He was optimistic in his outlook on life and was able at all times to be open and direct in his communication. Armed with a great wit, Lew was raised to be accepting of others and to implement a strong personal work ethic.

Blessed with a balanced attitude, Lew was able to relate well with others. His occasional role as family mediator gave him the opportunity to ease tense situations when they occurred. Lew was raised with three siblings. He had two younger brothers, Ken and Ted and one younger sister, Rhonda. Lew had a strong desire to be treated fairly and would readily offer others the same fairness in return.

As a young child, Lew showed his creative ability in many ways. He was outgoing and animated. Lew enjoyed new activities and pursued a variety of interests. He took part in baseball, football and basketball. In his spare time he liked comic books, apple fights and raising hamsters. Lew's memorable achievements included Bettendorf Park Board Events.

Known to others as a focused, logical, open-minded and somewhat driven individual, Lew was able to utilize these qualities to succeed in high school. His curious nature was spurred by his ability to maximize his personal learning style through employing a hands-on approach. He was good with facts and had an excellent memory. He graduated from Bettendorf High School in 1966. He enjoyed some courses more than others, having favorite classes and teachers.

When the goal of college was in sight, it became important to Lew. Again, his direct, “down to earth” approach served him well. He was able to absorb complex concepts and had an acute sense of how things worked. He attended Clinton Community College, earning his Associates Degree in Drafting. His favorite courses were drafting.

Friends and acquaintances found Lew an easy man to get to know, and those close to him would often praise his open, practical style of communication and relaxed approach to life in general. Lew was uncomplicated and straightforward in his relationships, which allowed him to accept people for what they were. While growing up, some of his best friends were Ron Beckenbaugh, Bill Whisler and R. J. Ashley. Later in life, he became friends with Dr. Wayne "Butch" and Lynn Carney, Marj and Ott Soehl and Jim and Sharon Burke. Lew remained friends with Ron and Elaine Beckenbaugh.

On April 24, 1970 Lew exchanged wedding vows with Cathy Ann Bingham at the First Christian Missionary Church of Davenport, Iowa. Lew was attentive to Cathy's feelings, and he charmed Cathy and others with his gift for being able to give freely and generously. A good listener with an engaging personality, Lew was able to bring pleasure and unexpected humor to the relationship.

Very much like a kid himself, Lew identified with the inquisitive and creative side of his children’s personalities. He was able to direct his energy and spontaneity towards helping his children acquire added common sense skills. Lew was blessed with two children, a daughter, Stacey and son Sean. They were also blessed with six grandchildren, Alex, Cheyenne, Gage, Spencer, Emma and Josslyn.

Lew was a flexible worker who was able to draw the best from others around him. A persuasive individual who was quick to make necessary decisions, Lew’s strengths included being able to think on his feet. He could be a leader who sought impact for his decisions. Gifted with an incredible ability to read body language, Lew was able to positively manipulate situations and motivate others in order to get a task completed. He was a good negotiator who enjoyed new challenges. Lew could multi-task, and he was endowed with entrepreneurial spirit, allowing him to think beyond standard norms when it came to resolving issues in his work environment. His primary occupation was Chief Deputy Assessor. He was employed for twenty years at the Davenport City Assessor’s Office and twenty-six years at the Scott County Assessor’s Office.

Lew was an Army veteran. Lew was a cool thinker who could handle himself well in a crisis. He was in the basic training at Fort Polk and medical training at Sam Houston and stationed in Fort Richardson, Alaska. He achieved the rank of SP/5. He received several awards including a National Defense Service and Good Conduct-Rifle. He showed leadership qualities and could make tough decisions when he was called upon to do so.

Lew enjoyed his leisure time by taking part in various hobbies. He had something of an artistic flair in many of the things that he did. He put this creativity toward all of his pastimes. His favorite pursuits were bowling, hunting, gardening, and playing baseball. He was content to enjoy his hobbies alone but was also willing to share his interests with others.

Because he liked to take risks, Lew was a perfect match for athletics and exercise. He was enthusiastic and confident about these activities. In high school, Lew played football. Recreational sports included bowling, softball and hunting. Lew was also something of a sports fan and enjoyed watching his favorite events whenever he got the opportunity. Tops on his list were Iowa Hawkeye football and Chicago Cubs baseball.

Lew was a gifted problem solver who worked hard to help accomplish group goals. This skill made him a wonderful asset to the various groups and organizations to which he belonged. Always matter-of-fact about what needed to be done, Lew worked steadily to meet any organization’s goals. Throughout his later years, Lew was an active member of the Bettendorf Jaycees.

Lew was a generous man who prized that same quality in others. So it’s little wonder that he was so active and giving in his community. Lew was a blood donor and enjoyed helping others. He also volunteered for almost twenty-five years for the Bix 7. Politically, Lew was a strong supporter of the Republican Party.

Lew held close traditional values and as a result, faith was important to him. He was a member of Bettendorf Christian Church for twenty years. During that time, he was head of the Communion Ministry for eleven years, participated in Marriage Encounter for five years, attended several Iron Sharpens Iron gatherings, Monday Night Men's Group, Promise Keepers and bible study fellowship for five years.

Travel and vacations were experiences that Lew truly enjoyed. He preferred to seek out excitement wherever he went and he was partial to vacations that were casual and laid back with an atmosphere of “live and let live.” He was willing to leave his plans open and flexible, just in case something more interesting came along. Favorite vacations included family vacations in Michigan.

Lew was a lover of animals and cherished his pets. One of Lew’s favorites was Nicky, a Siberian Husky. Lew also fostered and adopted numerous greyhounds.

When Lew’s retirement finally came in 2016, he was well prepared. He used logical analysis of his retirement options in order to ensure his retirement would be fulfilling. Still, he was able to easily adapt to possible changes and enjoyed just having fun and being relaxed. In retirement, he found pleasure in volunteering, bowling, landscaping, playing games with friends and spending time with grandchildren.

Lew passed away on July 23, 2019 at Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House in Bettendorf, Iowa. Lew fought a brave and courageous battle with pancreatic and liver cancer. He is survived by his loving wife of forty-nine years; daughter, Stacey Zabel-Hudson; son, Sean Zabel; siblings, Ken Zabel, Rhonda Malito and Ted Zabel; grandchildren: Alex, Cheyenne, Gage, Spencer, Emma and Josslyn; lifelong friends Dr. Wayne “Butch” and Lynn Carney, Ron and Elaine Beckenbaugh ; numerous nieces and nephews. Lew was preceded in death by his parents. Services were held at Bettendorf Christian Church. Lew was laid to rest in Davenport Memorial Park in Davenport, IA.

Lew was the kind of person who could win others over easily. A concrete communicator, he relied on his senses to increase his involvement and awareness of others. He was always able to provide amusing repartee to his friends and acquaintances, offering a seemingly endless supply of quips, anecdotes, jokes and stories. If Lew had a theme song written about him, it might well have been “The Dance” by Garth Brooks. He enjoyed his life and the experience of living it. This is how everyone will remember Lew R. Zabel.