Coralville hiker who died at Palisades-Kepler State Park remembered as a man of compassion

(PUBLISHED: This is the view from one of the lookout points along the Cedar Cliff Trail on Wednesday in Palisades-Kepler
(PUBLISHED: This is the view from one of the lookout points along the Cedar Cliff Trail on Wednesday in Palisades-Kepler State Park west of Mount Vernon.

Brian Jungen of Coralville, the 32-year-old who died over the weekend while hiking at Palisades-Kepler State Park near Mount Vernon, is remembered for his compassion and drive to be of service to others.

In an obituary published by the Clinton Herald, Jungen is described as having a dry sense of humor and as someone who “enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, playing video games, Magic the card game and listening to the sounds of trains and cicadas. He was a friend to everyone and loved by all.”

A private service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at the Pape Funeral Home in Clinton. Burial will follow at Oakland Cemetery, with a celebration of life to be scheduled later.

Jungen was found by four hikers Sunday near a bench on the 2-mile Cedar Cliff Trail at Palisades-Kepler, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The hikers called 911 at about 3:45 p.m. Rangers said Jungen was bleeding from cuts to his head but conscious when he was found.

When first responders arrived, they were not able to detect a pulse, the DNR said.

Alex Murphy, a DNR spokesperson, told The Gazette on Thursday Jungen was hiking alone when he fell. Investigators do not yet know what caused his fall or how far he fell, Murphy said, but they do not believe he was rock climbing.

No foul play is suspected, Murphy said.

He said Jungen’s family told investigators Jungen enjoyed being outside in nature and going to spots like the state park.


Jungen worked as an on-call mobile crisis outreach counselor with CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank in Johnson County.

The organization said in a statement Jungen was a “well-respected and valued team member” who “began his career at CommUnity as a volunteer on our crisis line.”

“Brian frequently expressed how he felt being there to help others was more than a job, it was his calling,” the statement said. “His dedication to our mission, our team members, and most importantly, those we are here to serve during their time of crisis was unwavering and always felt by everyone who had contact with him.”

Jungen also helped establish City Church in Iowa City, where he played the guitar with the praise and worship Team, according to the obituary.

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