Alfred Matthew Airola
April 20, 1944 - September 13, 2023

Alfred Matthew Airola

Alfred Matthew Airola
Apr 20, 1944 - Sep 13, 2023

Alfred Matthew Airola

MUSCATINE, Iowa - Alfred Matthew Airola, 79, passed away on Wednesday, September 13, 2023, at University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics.

Celebration of Life will be held at 11 a.m., on Saturday, September 16, 2023, at First Presbyterian Church. Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church or Muscatine Symphony Orchestra. The Ralph J. Wittich-Riley-Freers Funeral Home will be in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be made at

Alfred was born on April 20, 1944, in Summitt, New Jersey. His parents were Teuvo Mathias Airola and Dorothy Junia Anderson Airola. His siblings are Teuvo M. Airola, Jr., deceased, a sister, Catherine Esther Airola Kucenas (Clay), and a brother, Stephen Arthur Airola. Alfred was the oldest.

Alfred grew up in Dover, New Jersey, attended public schools and graduated from Dover High School in 1962, having participated in band, cross country, and debate. He was a student as Shene Grammar School in London, England, during the school year of 1961-1962. Alfred's father was Fullbright exchange teacher in London and the whole family lived there for a year.

He graduated from Wilkes College (now University) in 1966, with a BA in English. He was active in debate and was president of Cue and Curtain, which oversaw theater productions. He was a stage manager for several of these productions.

He married Carolyn Ruth Jenkins on August 12, 1967, in Dover, New Jersey.

Alfred and Carolyn moved to Massena, New York, where he taught high school English for three years. In 1969, they moved to Iowa City where Alfred in 1971, earned a Master's in English and an EDS (Education Specialist) in Education. He taught at Muscatine Community College for three years. In 1977 he began teaching in the Muscatine Community School District as a high school English teacher and debate coach. While primarily a classroom teacher, Alfred also served as Staff Development coordinator. He returned to the classroom where he remained until his retirement in 2003. He accompanied groups of high school students to Japan and spent two months in Brazil as a teacher.

Alfred was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, serving as an Elder and Deacon and a member of many committees. He also significantly served in Marriage Encounter and the Cedar Rapids Walk to Emmaus. He sang with the Elks Chanters, Muscatine Civic Chorale, and the choir at his church.

He is survived by his wife, Carolyn, son, Matthew Sairanen Airola (Karen) and their two daughters, Rachel Ann and Allison Ruth; and daughter, Elizabeth Davenport Airola Negus (Carl) and their two sons, Teuvo Jedi Negus and Sean Matthew Negus.

He is also survived by his sister, Catherine (Clay) and brother, Stephen, and several nieces and nephews and brother-in-law, Donald Jenkins (Gwen) and sister-in-law, Janet (Charles Jenkins, deceased).

He is preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Teuvo in 1999; an infant grandson, Charles; and many aunts and uncles.


Rosemary Ann Hollatz on Sep 24, 2023

Jim and I will always remember Al standing at the kitchen window cooking what always smelled like butter and onions as we took our nightly walks around the neighborhood. Rest in Pease, Al.

Dona Pearce on Sep 18, 2023

Dear Carolyn and family,
I am so sorry to hear abut Al's passing, and I send my deepest condolences to all of you. I did not know him well, but he always struck me as a true gentleman. I know he will be missed. My sympathies to all of you.
Dona Pearce

kimberly Dickens on Sep 18, 2023

One of my favorite teachers in high school. His class was fun. He was kind and patient but spirited to talk about literature. Sorry for you loss.

Beth “Tomasson” Crummer on Sep 16, 2023

Mr. AirPlay was such a wonderful teacher. I loved how you could tell he had such a love for reaching and his students. He helped me enjoy literature again, and encouraged us to explore our creativity and that it was ok to err, and learn from the error because you were putting in the effort to stretch your abilities. He will be missed.

Larry Ostermeier on Sep 16, 2023

Mr Airola, as I always respectfully called him at church for many years after graduation was also my favorite high school teacher. He is a faithful servant. Peace to you and your family Carolyn. - Larry Ostermeier

Lynn Bohling on Sep 15, 2023

My favorite teacher in high school. He was so funny and so kind. So very sorry for your loss.
Lynn Bohling

Mark Hutchings on Sep 15, 2023

One of my favorite teachers from the early 80s, he helped finesse my writing skills, which I still appreciate to this day. He will be missed.

Anita K. Zahniser on Sep 15, 2023

Hello Carolyn,
Sending prayers to everyone mourning the loss of Al.

I have been sick all week so I'm unable to attend his service tomorrow.

I remember all the support you gave to Matt during his years of voice lessons in high school and even his freshman year
at Iowa. The encouragement you and your husband showed to Matt allowed him to widen his singing and performance skills. If only more parents were as supportive as you and Al were. Thank you for your faith in my ability to teach Matt.

Even though I have retired from Civic Chorale, I remember all our wonderful rehearsals and performances. Altos were usually sitting in front of the basses and could tune to them, even if they did drag the tempos at times.

In Al's honor I will play Mozart's Requiem today and tomorrow and remember him fondly.

Anita Zahniser

Cheryl Weaver on Sep 15, 2023

Carolyn and family,
I’m deeply sorry to learn of Al’s passing. He was a colleague and friend over the years while teaching at MHS. I knew him to be a sophisticated man with knowledge and experiences far beyond others. Please accept my condolences and sympathy.
Cheryl Weaver

Judy Bosten on Sep 15, 2023

We are both sorry for loss of Al. May your many memories help you as you grieve. May our loving God wrap his arms around all of you and give you great comfort. Blessings for his family. Jim and Judy Bosten

David Coleman on Sep 14, 2023

My wife (Marian) and I offer our deepest thoughts of love and grief to the Airola Family for the loss of Al. We remember him as a thoughtful, caring friend that will be sorely missed. I am reminded of the many times when Al would offer his assistance with our church choir (First Presbyterian-Muscatine, IA) Al will be greatly missed at our church and in the Muscatine community. We remain in pray for the Airola Family. Peace be with you.......David & Marian Coleman (iowa City)

Rob Fiedler on Sep 14, 2023

I .remember Al and his involvement with the Japanese exchanges.RIP

Dyann Roby on Sep 14, 2023

I served on Lutheran Living board with Al and found him a knowledgeable gentleman.
May memories of Al warm your heart. Blessings from Dyann and Dave Roby

Leah (Young)Sullivan on Sep 14, 2023

CandleElizabeth so sorry for Your loss. My sympathies are with You and Your Family. May God Wrap His Loving Arms around You All.

~Leah (Young) S.~



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Celebration Of Life

First Presbyterian Church
401 Iowa Avenue
Muscatine, Iowa 52761
11:00 AM

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