Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs made his mark on Mount Vernon. Many in town made their mark on him, too. Wirfs and his mother, Sarah, took The Gazette on a tour of his hometown, revisiting scenes around what essentially is the one square mile where he grew up. This story is a little about what can hold you back. This is mostly about what moves you forward.

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Pearl Toms Northland

PEARL MARY FRENCH Cedar Rapids Pearl Mary French was born June 23, 1920, near Central City, Iowa, and passed away July 7, 2019, at The New Homestead Care Center in Guthrie Center, Iowa, where she resided the past two years after having been a longtime resident of Cedar Rapids. She was the youngest of six children born to Edward Montgomery French and Lula Fitch French. A graduate of Coggon High School Class of 1938, she went on to Iowa State Teachers College, now the University of Northern Iowa, where she earned her teaching certificate. Pearl taught several years in a one-room country school. She then accepted a position with Rockwell Collins, working there for 30 years until her retirement. She didn't slow down after retiring, taking up golf lessons and organ classes where she made and cherished many new friends -- never one to sit still. She continued to do her own yard work well into her 90s and was known to use the snow blower on neighbors' driveways while they were at work. Pearl was a loving, kind and supportive mother. She never missed a ballgame or band concert or school play. She was president of the Central City PTA and active member of Band Boosters and the football team parents. She always will be remembered for her incredible sense of humor. Pearl is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Mary Jo and David Brown of Lake Panorama, Iowa; daughter-in-law, Cyndi Toms of Oak Harbor, Wash.; granddaughter, Laurel Archey and husband Chris of Sammamish, Wash.; grandson, Matthew Waggoner and wife Allyson of West Des Moines, Iowa; grandson, Andrew Toms and wife Jen of Seattle, Wash.; grandson, Chris Toms and wife Lindsay of Oak Harbor, Wash.; great-grandchildren, Jacquelyn and Jonathan Archey, Abigail and Samantha Waggoner and Elliott and Julian Toms; also surviving are stepdaughter, Sherry Anderson of Coggon, Iowa, and her family; and stepson, Dennis Northland and wife Betty of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and their family. She was preceded in death by her son, Terry Toms; her husbands, Jack Toms and Theodore Northland; her parents; brothers, Lyle, Art and Dale French; and sisters, Elsie Pike and Nellie McCleary; and special friend, Boyd Wiltsie. Private burial was held at Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery on July 13, 2019. A Memorial and Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Cedar Memorial Chapel of Memories with a luncheon to follow. In lieu of flowers, Pearl's wishes were that memorials be directed to Freedom Flight, Eastern Iowa Honor Flight, P.O. Box 10704, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401.

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