May 09, 2023

Jolene Kay (Alexander) Buffington, 77, passed away peacefully on May 2, 2023 after a courageous battle with cancer.

She was born in Ames, Iowa on March 28, 1946 to Wesley and Betty Alexander. She grew up in Nevada where she developed lifelong friendships and an appreciation for family, books, love and life. She often spoke about her overwhelmingly happy childhood fostered by her amazing parents and shared with her sister and lifelong friend, Cindi. Jolene was kind, caring, honest and severely loyal. She loved her family so intensely that at times it physically hurt. There will never be a better example of how to be a mother, wife, sister, daughter or friend. Her heart was genuine, uniquely packaged in a body that simply could not last as long as we needed and wanted it to. Jolene attended Nevada High School then spent a year at Mount Mercy University before transferring to Iowa State University. It was during this time that she met her husband, Virgil, whom she married on August 27, 1966. Together they had two children, Joe and Andrea, the true loves of her life.

Jolene wrapped herself in the lives of Virgil, Joe and Andrea, and later her grandchildren, Kaleb and Braxton. The sacrifices she made for them were endless, but never regretted. Whether it was supporting Virgil’s love of horses or her kids’ and grandkids’ many sports and activities, she had a passion very few people display. Her love of reading was obvious with the hundreds of books she collected over the years. She had a deep respect for authors and the stories they told, but her favorite was mysteries. Every book took her to places near and far that only she experienced, and their teachings turned her into a Jeopardy expert! She was brilliant.

Jolene’s professional career was modest, yet she left her mark at every place she worked. Her accomplishments did not make her rich or famous, but they sure made her relevant, and no one deserved that more than Jolene did. She touched the lives of so many people; everyone loved her. She will truly be missed and never, ever, forgotten.

Jolene is survived by her husband of 56 years, Virgil; children Joe Buffington of Blue Springs, Mo., Andrea (Rodney) Peel of Little Rock, Ark.; grandchildren Kaleb Salmon and Braxton Peel; sister Cindi (Dean) Dueland; nephews Toby (Heather) McCarter, Dean (Jeannie) Buffington; nieces Patty Fraley, LuAnn (Rob) Zumwalt, Sandra (Pete) Oliver, Renee Maceli, Brooke (John) Sanborn and Teran (Josh) Clutts, and several great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins and friends. Jolene is preceded in death by her parents; in-laws Clifford and Anna Buffington; sister-in-law Karol Buffington, and brother-in-laws Darwin Buffington and Mike Buffington.

Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 20, 2023, at St. Mary Catholic Church in Colo, Iowa, with burial to follow at St. James Cemetery. Visitation will take place at 10 a.m. prior to the funeral service.

In lieu of flowers, in remembrance of Jolene, they ask that donations be made to the University of Kansas Cancer Center in Kansas City, Suncrest Hospice or Bickford Senior Living in Ames. Her family would like to thank her entire medical team at KU, but especially Dr. Anup Kasi and Erin Carroll who became family.

Rasmusson-Ryan Funeral Home in Nevada is handling arrangements. Condolences may be sent to the family online at