Carmelene A. “Carmie” McDonnell Decker, 90, of Bernard, passed away Thursday, June 24, 2021 at her home in Bernard, surrounded by her family.

Visitation for Carmie was held from 8:30-10:30 a.m. Tuesday June 29, 2021 at the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Garryowen, where services for Carmie were held at 11 a.m., with the Rev. Mark Osterhaus presiding. Lectors were Alyssa McDonnell and Lisa McDonnell. Eucharistic Ministers were Margie Gassman and Judy Coyle. Giftbearers were Erin Adams, Nicole Curoe and Kassidy Townsend. Placing of the Pall was done by Rick McDonnell, Kathy Ries, Tom McDonnell, J.J. McDonnell and Pat McDonnell. Burial was held in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Garryowen.

Casketbearers for Carmelene were Brad McDonnell, Colin McDonnell, Doug McDonnell, Mitch McDonnell, Brian Ries and Chad Ries.

The Reiff Funeral Home in Cascade is in charge of arrangements. Anyone not able to attend may send memorials to Reiff Funeral Home, ATTN; Carmelene Decker family, P.O. Box 430, Cascade, Iowa 52033

Carmelene was born June 28, 1930 in Bernard, daughter of Carlisle and Mary (Lambe) Small. She is a graduate of St. Patrick High School in Bernard. She then attended the University of Dubuque where she received her BA in Teaching and later attended Clarke College in Dubuque, where she received her Master’s Degree in education. At the age of 18 she began her teaching career in a one room schoolhouse. She taught in several township schoolhouses from 1948 to 1961, then at Western Dubuque Schools until her retirement in 1991. Carmie had a deep devotion to her faith and embraced her Irish heritage;, she especially cherished spending time with her family. She was an avid reader, euchre player and loved to do crossword puzzles.

On June 7, 1950 she was united in marriage to Ignatius D. McDonnell at St. Aloysius Church in South Garryowen. He preceded her in death on Feb. 27, 1984. On Oct. 20, 1989 she was united in marriage to Earl J. Decker at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Garryowen. He preceded her in death on March 4, 1991.

She was a member of St. Patrick Parish in Garryowen and its Rosary Society, a member of the Bernard Senior Citizen’s, the Bernard Commercial Club, several card clubs and a Promoter of the Miraculous Medal.

She is survived by five children, Rick (Phyllis) McDonnell, J.J. McDonnell both of Bernard, Kathy “Kate” (Charlie) Ries of Strawberry Point, Tom (Kathy) McDonnell of Cascade, and Pat (Lisa) McDonnell of Dubuque; a step-son, James “Jay” (Marlene) Decker of Bernard; four step daughters, Bonnie (Gary) Hancock of Epworth, Debi O’Brien of Dubuque, Carol (David) Shanahan and Margie (Ron “Zip”) Gassman of Bernard; a step daughter in-law, Lynn Decker of Bernard; eight grandchildren, Brad (Angie) McDonnell, Doug (Jen) McDonnell, Mitch (Amanda) McDonnell, Erin (Trint) Adams, Colin (Alyssa) McDonnell, Brian (Cindy) Ries, Nicole (Casey) Curoe, and Chad Ries (friend, Shelby); step-grandchildren, Kassidy (Jacob) Townsend, Karissa (Josh) Wernimont, Katie (Scott) Strief, Matt (Katie) Decker, Emily Utley and Susie Decker, Erin Shanahan, Bridget (Ted) Anders, Rebecca Bradley, Ben Bradley, Renee (Dan) Frank, Theresa Decker, Richard (Marissa) Decker, Johanna Decker, Katelyn Decker and Robert Decker, Ariel Glasman, Toby Hancock, Kelly (Robin) Wink and Meg (Terry) Hancock; and 10 great -grandchildren; one sister, Teresa Hosch of Maquoketa; a brother, Loras Small of Bellevue; and two sisters-in-law, Shirley Small of Maquoketa and Margaret Ryan of Cascade.

She is also preceded in death by her parents; her siblings, Clarence (Shirley) Small and Claire Small; a sister, Avie (Cy) Ehlinger; and brother-in-law, Richard Hosch; a step-son, Larry Decker; brothers and sisters-in-laws, Neal and Mary Ann McDonnell, Ambrose and Florence McDonnell, Helen and Johnnie Payne, Clarence and Anita Wolbers, Estelle and Joe Cox, Joe McDonnell, Mary Claire and Clarence Driscoll, Paul and Kay McDonnell, Ray and Carlene McDonnell, Loras Ryan, Theresa and Eddie Melloy; and two grandchildren, Gabe Glasman and Rachel Decker.

Online condolences sent to the family at

The family would like to extend a special thank you to Bernard Rescue, Hospice of Dubuque, Amanda Kemp-ARNP and Dr. Eric Engelman, the staff of Mercy One Health Center, the Rev. Mark Osterhaus, the Cascade Library, and her many friends for their visits and many acts of kindness.