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Drowning Victim Identified as Creston High School Teacher

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UNION COUNTY, Iowa -- Authorities have released the name of the Creston High School teacher who drowned in a southwest Iowa lake Monday.

Authorities responded to Twelve Mile Lake around 6:15 p.m. Monday on a call of a boat that was running with nobody in it. In the water, they found shoes and clothes but no boater.

The Union County Sheriff's Office searched Monday night and returned Tuesday morning with help from the Department of Natural Resources and a dive team.

Officials found 45-year-old Rich Gander just after 9:30 a.m. in about 15 feet of water.

He had been a teacher for 25 years and just started working at Creston last year.

“Rich does all those extra things. He runs the clock at basketball games he was a freshman girls softball coach, he attends all home activities. So he really got to know everyone. Not just the sophomore geometry students,” says Bill Messerole, principal at Creston High School.

The Union County Sheriff says this is the first drowning at the lake in about ten years.


  • Jess

    How heartbreaking! Sounds like he was a wonderful guy! Prayers to his family, friends, and students. What an awful way for them to start the new school year!
    Not blaming the victim, but please people, don’t boat, or swim, alone, anything can happen.

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