Hundreds gather to remember Iowa CO at celebration of life service

Robert McFarland, a 12-year corrections officer veteran, leaves behind his wife and three children

By Sarah Calams

MARION, Iowa — Family, friends and colleagues gathered Monday afternoon to pay final tribute to a corrections officer who was killed during an inmate attack last week.

The Des Moines Register reported that more than 600 people gathered for a celebration of life service for Robert McFarland, 46, a 12-year corrections officer veteran who died on March 23 after an attack inside the Anamosa State Penitentiary's infirmary. McFarland, who leaves behind his wife and three children, also served as a lieutenant at the Ely Fire Department. Lorena Schulte, 50, a nurse at the prison, also died in the attack. A service was held Sunday for Schulte.

Flags across the state flew at half-mast Monday for McFarland and Schulte. On Tuesday, a one-mile honor run was held at a local high school to honor McFarland.

"He always wanted to please everybody," Kelly Thomas, president of the Brandon Fire Department, said.

Two inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths. They face a preliminary hearing on April 5. The inmates have also been charged with attempted murder of another inmate and second-degree kidnapping of another prison staffer, according to the report. 

A GoFundMe was set up to help McFarland's family. To donate, click here.

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