Harvard couple dies in Iowa crash involving SUV, train

HARVARD – A Harvard couple who died after their SUV collided with a train in northeastern Iowa are remembered as being active members of their church and loving grandparents.

James “Jim” Blazier, 66, and Dixie Blazier, 66, died about noon Dec. 1 at a Floyd County railroad crossing near Nora Springs, according to an Iowa State Patrol crash report.

The train struck the front passenger side of the SUV, the report said. There are lights at the crossing, but no crossing arms at the location.

The couple was traveling to attend Dixie’s cousin’s funeral, said Jessica Sugalski, Jim and Dixie’s daughter.

Glenda Mundis, 55, of Harvard was a backseat passenger of the SUV and was flown to a Mason City, Iowa, hospital, according to the crash report.

Mundis still is in the hospital with several broken bones but is in stable condition, Sugalski said.

Dixie was born in Davenport, Iowa, and Jim was born in Harvard. The two had been married since 1970.

Dixie enjoyed working in the medical billing office at Centegra Health System and Harvard’s hospital, and she was known as a problem solver there, Sugalski said.

“My mom would handle anyone there with issues with their bill and get it fixed right away,” Sugalski said. “Everyone loved her there, and she loved telling stories about the grandkids to her co-workers.”

Dixie was active in her church, serving on several committees throughout the years, and she most recently served as a deacon.

Jim retired in 2014 after running his own business, Blazier Trucking, for many years. He enjoyed farming, gardening and fishing, and he also was very active in his church.

Sugalski said her father bought an 18-wheel semitrailer and drove it across the country during her childhood, coming home every weekend to see the family.

“He loved farming, and that was a huge passion of his,” Sugalski said. “When I was 12, my mom called it a midlife crisis. He bought a dairy farm, and that lasted three years. I have a lot of great memories on that farm.”

The couple’s greatest joy was in their grandchildren, who they were very close to, Sugalski said.

“[Dixie] would do anything for her grandkids and talked about them all the time,” Sugalski said. “She lived for them. She was so involved in their lives. She also attended all their sporting events and would take one of them every weekend and do special things with them, and got one-on-one time.”

The visitation for the couple will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at First Presbyterian Church, 7100 Harvard Hills Road, Harvard. The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be given to any breast cancer research foundation; the First Presbyterian Church of Harvard, P.O. Box 846, Harvard; or Forever Husky Rescue, P.O. Box 2510, Crystal Lake. 

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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