John Joseph Wolfe was born on June 13, 1901, in Lost Nation, Iowa. He was the son of Maurice Buckley Wolfe, a farmer in Lost Nation, and Sarah A. McAndrews. Wolfe had four brothers: Raymond Bernard (b. 1896), Philip James (b. 1898), Melvin Maurice (b. 1904), and James Emmet (b. 1909).
Wolfe attended public schools in Lost Nation and then Saint Ambrose College in Davenport, Iowa. On November 25, 1936—Thanksgiving day—he married Ida Ann Burke, in DeWitt, Iowa. The Catholic service was officiated by Wolfe’s cousin, the Reverend Thomas L. Wolfe. The couple had two children: Marianne and John Joseph “Jack” Jr.
John and Ida Wolfe honeymooned in Chicago, Illinois, before occupying a newly built home just south of Lost Nation, near the homestead of John Wolfe’s brother Phil. Wolfe’s nephew Thomas Wolfe wrote that he “was an extremely kind man and had the richest brogue of all the Wolfes.”
Wolfe farmed his whole life. He died on June 2, 1974, in Davenport, Iowa. Ida Wolfe died November 30, 1979, in Clinton County. They are buried together in Lost Nation.
images: John J. Wolfe and Ida Ann Burke Wolfe; John Burke, William Burke, and Ida Burke; Maurice Wolfe and John J. Wolfe, ca. 1923