Linn County in Iowa
Linn County in Iowa
Cedar Rapids in Linn CountyCedar Rapids in Linn County

Charles Rufus Gearhart


Charles “Charlie” Rufus Gearhart
89 YOA
422 First Street SW
Cedar Rapids, IA
Linn County
May 13, 1970


Charles Rufus Gearhart, an 89-year-old Rock Island Railroad retiree, was stabbed to death in his Cedar Rapids apartment on Wednesday, May 13, 1970, the victim of an apparent robbery.

Gearhart, the landlord of an apartment building located at 422 First Street SW, was discovered the following day by tenants Charles Frondle and Willie Harvey, who’d come to Gearhart’s apartment to complain they had no water or heat; the apartment building’s basement had flooded, extinguishing the furnace’s pilot light.

According to a Cedar Rapids Gazette article dated May 15, 1970, Frondle and Harvey said they’d gone to Gearhart’s apartment at approximately 6:35 p.m. Gearhart was found between the kitchen and bedroom lying in a hallway.

Cedar Rapids Police told the Gazette the suspect had broken the apartment’s rear door in order to gain entrance. A search of Gearhart’s apartment failed to turn up the murder weapon.

Tenants told police the elderly Gearhart often flashed large sums of cash, though police were unable to locate any money in Gearhart’s apartment or in his clothing.

About Charles Gearhart

Charles Gearhart was born in Sand Springs, Iowa, on August 22, 1880, the son of Tunis and Susan (Kaster) Gearhart.

Charles Gearhart's headstoneCourtesy photo Leo J. Offerman
Charles Gearhart is buried at the Oakwood Cemetery in Monticello, Iowa.

Memorial services were held in Cedar Rapids at 12 p.m. on Monday, May 18, 1970 at the Turner Chapel East. He was buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Monticello, Iowa.

Charles Gearhart was survived by his wife, Bonnie, one daughter, Pauline Gearhart Barnard, two grandchildren, and two great-children.

Preceding him in death were three brothers, John, Turner, and James, and two sisters, Lily and Ella.

Information Needed

If you have any information about Charles Gearhart’s unsolved murder please contact Cedar Rapids Police Department Investigator Matt Denlinger at (319) 286-5442 or email



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2 Responses to Charles Gearhart

  1. I pray for justice. And prayers sent to the families and friends.

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