Richard Frederick Stageman

September 25, 1926August 21, 2020

Richard Frederick Stageman of Norwalk, Iowa passed away on August 21, 2020. He was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on September 25, 1926. He graduated from Sioux City, Nebraska, High School. He, then, joined the U.S. Naval Air Corps and served in WWII as a combat aircrewman and bombardier in American, Philippine, and China theaters. After his honorable discharge, he received his B.S. and J.D. degrees from Creighton University.

He practiced law in Nebraska and Iowa after receiving his degree in 1951. During his time with Smith, Pogge, and Stageman, he was elected to the Iowa 59th General Assembly as a Representative from Pottawattamie County.

In 1962, he was appointed Referee in Bankruptcy for the Southern District of Iowa by District Judge Roy L. Stephenson. In 1973, he was appointed in 1984 as a full-time Magistrate. Later that year Judge Stageman was appointed as a full-time Bankruptcy Judge for the Southern District of Iowa. He retired from the bench temporarily in 1986 but was recalled 2 months later to serve pending the appointment of Judge Lee, M. Jackwig.

During his tenure, Judge Stageman was active as a seminar participant and director with the American Bankruptcy Institute. He testified before a U.S. Senate Subcommittee about a proposed inclusion of a Chapter 12 Bankruptcy Code. Under the auspices of Iowa State University and Niel Harl, he consulted with the Czech Republic Bankruptcy and Reorganization when that country was privatizing property. In 1990, Judge Stageman was made a Fellow in the first class of the American College of Bankruptcy. Over his active career, Judge Stageman wrote over 65 publications and seminar papers. He taught many seminars around the country. He revised and taught the Bar Review Outline for Drake and Iowa Law Schools. His greatest challenge as a U.S. Court Judge was navigating the “Farm Crisis” in the ’70s and ’80s.

Before his final retirement, he practiced privately with the Des Moines firms of Davis, Hockenberg, Wine, Brown, Koehn, and Shors and later with Phil Watson, P.C.

He was licensed to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. District Court of Iowa and Nebraska, and the Supreme Court of Iowa, the Board of Immigration Appeals, the Patent Office, and the U.S. Tax Court. Besides being a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, he was a member of the Iowa Bar Association.

He is survived by three of his children, Susan Stageman (Tim Mikus) of Dallas, TX, Richard Stageman (Kim Stageman) of Norwalk, Iowa, and Emily Rollison (Dave Rollison) of Des Moines, Iowa. A second son, William Stageman died in 2014. In addition, he leaves 7 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Grace A. Yeiser (married 1950), mother of his 4 children, and Mary E. Desenberg Baker (married 1982). His favorite pastimes were spending time with his family, traveling, reading, painting, writing, and golfing.


  • Celebration of Life (Pending), Burial with military honors (Pending)


Richard Frederick Stageman

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Emily Smith

August 30, 2020

Dear Sue, Rich, and Emily,

I'm sorry to hear about your dad's passing. My parents loved him so much. I remember all the fun they had during those long ago days on Greenwood / Woods Dr.

Torry, Robin, Liz, and I send our condolences to you and yours.
Emily Smith

Roy Messerschmidt

August 30, 2020

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of my good friend and golf friend I really enjoyed my relationship with him and his wife Mary We haven’t been in much contact lately because of age We were both of the same age except for a few days. My thoughts and prayers are with you with loss at this time

Tom Hildebrand

August 26, 2020

Condolences to all. Judge Stageman was "of Counsel" to the Davis Law firm when I worked there, 1988-1992, and I recall being in his court a few times during my banking career. Dick was always friendly, genuine and a credit to the legal profession. As a fellow Norwalk resident, I used to see Dick from time to time around tow and was always greeted by his smile! Thoughts and prayers to all. Tom Hildebrand

Ruth Taylor

August 22, 2020

To the family of Richard— I was honored to have had the privilege of caring for Richard— he was truly an honorable man, highly educated and a well traveled person who shared his many stories of his travels and life experiences. I will treasure my fond memories of the times I spent with him and the chuckles, laughter, and opinions we shared on life. He lived a very well rounded life, and enjoyed his family. My sympathies to all— he really hasn’t left as he continues in your hearts...remember those precious memories and share your stories and thoughts, whether good or bad as he he realized his life held both and wanted to be remembered with both sides of his personality as that is what each human being holds. He was a gentle person with a fun quick wit about him and a side of devilishness mixed with goodness! ❤️