Vigen Memorial Home obituary – Dustin Michael Cackley, 51, Keokuk


Dustin Michael Cackley, 51, died Friday, Sept 8, 2023, at the Southeast Iowa Medical Center in West Burlington, after suffering a heart attack the previous day.

He was born in Keokuk, IA on July 24, 1972, the son of Donald P. and Dorothy Stewart Cackley.  He married Laura Smith Williams in 1996; they later divorced.

He graduated from Keokuk Senior High School in 1991 and entered the U S Army that fall.  He proudly served and defended his country for twenty years as a Military Police officer and attained the rank of Staff Sergeant.  During his career his received these awards: Iraq Campaign Medal with two campaign stars; Bronze Star Medal; Army Commendation Medal (5); Army Achievement Medal (3); Meritorious Unit Commendation; Army Good Conduct Medal (6); National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Expeditionary Medal; Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (2); Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon (3) German Army Marksmanship Badge Gold. Many of the awards were earned during his two deployments in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003-2004 and 2008-2009. He was honorably discharged in 2011 as a twenty year veteran. The name Dustin means “brave warrior.” He certainly lived his life being one.

After separation from the military, he had his personal battles with a divorce and PTSD, situations suffered by many warriors after their deployments. His loyal military brother, Paul Schroeder, was instrumental in helping him address his PTSD issues, and also helped to lead him back to his faith in the Lord. Paul introduced Dustin to the Mighty Oaks Warriors organization. Dustin attended their faith-based camp and later became a certified group leader. Dustin often said that his return to faith helped him find a new purpose in life – to help other veterans face and deal with their PTSD struggles, while returning or introducing them to Christ. In 2017 he helped form the non-profit, Armatus Reintegration Program, which provided classes to incarcerated veterans in Texas prisons to help them have a successful reentry into society.  As Executive Vice-President, in 2019, he brought the program home to the Midwest, conducting classes in correctional facilities in Mount Pleasant, IA, Bowling Green, and Moberly, MO. Covid regulations of 2020 caused the program to cease.

Since his return to Keokuk in 2019, Dustin has left an indelible mark on his home town. He became an active member of the community, his first priority being to assist his brother and sister veterans. He became an active member of Keokuk American Legion Post 41, where he later became commander, a position he held at death. Among one of his proudest accomplishments with the Legion was assisting Sean Skinner and the Keokuk Sports Boosters to promote the annual Military Appreciation Night to honor all local veterans.  He was appointed to the Veterans Memorial Commission. He looked forward to placement of an Agent Orange Memorial monument at 18th and Ridge Street, and the completion of the Road of Honor.  He served as precinct election worker and chairman and as a temporary election official for absentee voting. His tenacity for doing what is best for the people of Keokuk led him to decide to run for city council. His petitions are completed and ready for submission, but God had other plans for him.

Dustin is survived by four children:  Lorene Cackley (Maurice Quinton) grandsons: Khail and Avery of Salina, KS; Garret Cackley (fiancé Casey Schaffer); Justine Cackley, all of San Antonio, TX; Dillon Cackley of Fort Hood, TX; his brother, Damon Cackley (wife Elsa); his mother, Dorothy Cackley; fiancé Linda Oliveski; and extended family.  He was preceded in death by his father, Donald Cackley; his paternal grandparents, Bill and Alma Cackley; his maternal grandparents, Doc and Margaret Stewart; and extended family.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 21, at the Vigen Memorial Home in Keokuk, IA with family meeting with family at that time. 

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept.22 at Vigen Memorial Home, 1328 Concert Street.  Burial with military rites will be in the Keokuk National Cemetery in Keokuk, IA.  The service will be livestreamed on his tribute wall at

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to AIMVets, Keokuk American Legion Post 41 or to the donor’s choice in memory of Dustin.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at

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