CHEROKEE, Iowa | Family members are mourning the loss of an avid fisherman found dead in the Little Sioux River in Cherokee.
On Monday, family members learned the body of David Driesen, 44, of Cherokee, had been found in the river off Wescott Park. He’d gone fishing Sunday and never returned.
Driesen loved fishing since he was a child, said his stepmother, Sonja Driesen. He didn’t even care what kind of fish he caught.
“Whatever he could catch and bring in,” she said. “He’d clean it and I’d cook it.”
Cherokee police are investigating the death. An autopsy has been ordered.
Officials won't say if they suspect foul play.
Family members wondered if Driesen became ill and fell into the water. He'd had spells in the past -- he'd have a seizure and fall down -- his uncle Lyle Driesen, of Alton, Iowa, said.
Driesen's sister, Cindy Elgersma, of Sheldon, Iowa, said her brother often would take children fishing as a way to share his love of the outdoors.
"He loved fishing, he always wanted to go," Elgersma said. "He'd always want to take little kids fishing. He loved kids but never had any. He was just a kid at heart."
He also had an affinity for bicycles – an old Stingray was his pride and joy – and was a dedicated NASCAR fan. He especially rooted for the stock car series’ elite Ford drivers, particularly Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle, and watched with intensity, said Sonja Driesen.
“He was, like, glued to the TV,” she said.
Other interests including camping, tractor pulls and good conversation, Lyle Driesen said.
“He’d always take time and talk to anybody and everybody,” his uncle said. “He loved to visit with people.
“He’s gonna be missed deeply and truly forever,” he said.
-- Journal writer Conrad Swanson contributed to this report.