Michael Carter Modlin of Minburn


Michael Carter Modlin, 73, of Minburn passed away Monday, April 17, 2023.

Michael was born Oct. 28, 1949, to Bob and Jean (Carter) Modlin of Dawson.

He graduated from Perry High School in 1967.

Michael met his wife, Dianne Powers, in college, and they were united in marriage on July 29, 1972.

He was preceded in death by his father and mother.

Michael is survived by his wife, Dianne; three sisters, Carol Kempkes, Nancy (Tom) Tierney and Ann Yanders; and many nieces and nephews from the Modlin side of the family.
In addition, other family members include brother-in-law and sister-in-law Frank and Wendy Powers, Maddie Powers and Bri Powers; and brother-in-law Steve Hill and Jess and Aaron Hatanpa and children.

Michael was a teacher and coach for 41 years and a IHSAA official for 20 years. He started his career in physical education and returned to college to earn a degree in industrial technology and a master’s degree in education with technology emphasis.

His career took him to Walnut High School, Denison High School, Spencer High School, Central Dallas High School, Johnston High School and Waukee High School. During the summers, he taught courses for Western Iowa Tech Community College, AEA 11 and was a DMACC adjunct instructor in drafting and construction.

During his career, Michael taught both middle school and high school students in industrial technology classes about woods, construction tech, power, metals and engines, auto tech, drafting and carpentry. He was the first instructor at JCSD to have courses in robotics, CADD, CNC and computer graphics. He started and taught the MOC/CO-OP program at Johnston High School.

Michael developed one of the first modular labs in Iowa in 1988. He was part of an AEA 11 group developing architecture curriculum in 2004. During his last years at Waukee High School, he was teaching STEM and engineering classes for the University of Iowa.

Over his 41 years in teaching, his students took home 25 state champions in CADD and graphics and three in woods. He was elated when he received the 2012 Teacher Excellence Award for Iowa, one of the highest honors given to technology education classroom teachers.

In his coaching career in track and field, Michael’s athletes brought home 21 conference champs and one State Champion. As an assistant high school coach in wrestling, he was able to see many conference champs, state place winners and champions in his career. His love of wrestling took him into being a IHSAA wrestling official for 20 years.

Outdoors could have been Michael’s second middle name. He looked forward to hunting elk, bear, deer and all types of fishing with his good buddies. Hiking, motor cycling and climbing the mountains in Colorado with friends and family were a summer event, when he could make it around all the coaching. Hours were spent kayaking on the Racoon River when there was enough water, picking up trash and looking for artifacts.

He competed in the Iowa Games for 23 years. He attended “Floatzilla” on the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities three times. Maneuvering through the Locks on the Mississippi in a Kayak was an adventure he looked forward to. One of his goals was touching the nose of his kayak into the water of the six states surrounding Iowa in one summer. Thank goodness for good weather that year.

Michael was a beautiful craftsman. He loved working with all kinds of woods and made beautiful furniture for their home and in the detailing of the homes they lived in. When he built anything, from a small heart shaped box to a machine shed, it was made to last and had to be done to a high standard. He was knowledgeable in so many areas, from Indian artifacts, cars and aircraft to tractors, metals, pottery, antiques and architecture, to name his favorites.

Michael and Dianne often talked about how even with all the obstacles they faced over their life together, they would change very little if they could do it all again. Michael’s love of his family, friends, career, his students, athletes and the great outdoors was his true character.

Most of all, his marriage to Dianne, the love of his life, and the wonderful life they shared was his pride and joy. Their support and love for one another was so strong. When Michael believed in something or started something, he finished strong, never giving up.

A Visitation will be held Sunday, May 7 at 2 p.m. at the Murdock Funeral Home at 1420 Warford St., Perry, IA 50220, prior to a Celebration of Life service set for 3 p.m.  A Masonic service will follow at the Hotel Pattee at 1112 Willis Ave. in Perry by Acanthus Lodge 632.

Memorials may be made in Michael’s name to the Shriners Hospital for Children or the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. They may be sent to the funeral home in care of Dianne Modlin. Online condolences may be left at murdockfuneralhome.net.


  1. Terry and I both enjoyed talking to Mike at the last class reunion. We both said he was someone we were sorry we didn’t know better, as he was such a nice guy.

  2. Dianne, your hometown community is praying that you will find peace in the coming days. The “Landmark Depot” was so lucky to have you as one of our leaders. We thank Michael for letting you spend some time with us. We are thinking of you and praying for you.✝️


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