‘He fought hard’: Perry principal Dan Marburger has passed away, family says

Principal Dan Marburger’s family shared news of his passing on Sunday morning via GoFundMe, thanking him for giving them “10 days that we will treasure forever.”

PERRY, Iowa — Ten days after a school shooting in Perry, Iowa, killed a sixth grader and injured seven others, another victim has passed away.

Perry High School Principal Dan Marburger’s family shared news of his passing on Sunday morning via GoFundMe, thanking him for giving them “10 days that we will treasure forever.” He passed away at approximately 8 a.m. on Jan. 14, making his the second death to come from the Perry High School shooting.

56-year-old Marburger spent nearly three decades at the school and was regarded as a hero for his intervention during the shooting.

The district shared a statement honoring Marburger, calling him a caring colleague who was “ingrained in every aspect” of the Perry community. It reads in part::

“We share our deepest condolences with the Marburger family today on the passing of Dan Marburger. Dan was a tremendous leader in our school district and a loving husband, father, and grandfather. Our school community is heartbroken by Dan’s death.” 

His daughter, Claire Marburger, shared a lengthy post honoring her father’s love, wisdom and, above all, kindness.

“Us kids know now, especially looking back on our growing up years how much Dad loved us. Tough love when we needed, patience and understanding when we needed that. Expectations that he had, but expectations that he made sure we knew were important for us to have for ourselves … The grandkids don’t yet understand what they lost today, but there will forever be ‘grandpas babies’, bear traps, gummy bears in the freezer, and plenty of naps in grandpas chair. All things we will carry on.”

Claire emphasized just how lucky those who knew him were — whether it was friends, family, coworkers or students.

“My Dad was an incredible man, educator, husband, Dad, grandpa. A person I aspire to be and hope to make proud every day,” she added. “I love you, Dad. You are the best, forever.”

Read her full post below:

Yet another post I didn’t imagine having to write… If you are lucky enough to know my Dad, you know there are not…

Posted by Claire Marburger on Sunday, January 14, 2024

In a Facebook post on the day of the shooting, his daughter, Claire Marburger, reflected on her dad’s actions.

“As I heard of a gunman, I instantly had a feeling my Dad would be a victim as he would put himself in harms way for the benefit of the kids and his staff,” the post reads. “It is absolutely zero surprise to hear he tried to approach and talk Dylan down and distract him long enough for some students to get out of the cafeteria. That’s just Dad.”

At a press conference on Friday, Jan. 5, Perry Community School District Superintendent Clark Wicks praised Marburger.

“He was a hero,” Wicks said. “And I know that it helped, the way that he a approached that situation. It saved some lives.”

Wicks also credited an associate principal for saving lives.

“We hate to see anybody injured, and for sure any deaths,” Wicks said. “But because of the heroic acts that they have done. . . we are very proud of the way they handled it. They’re heroes.”

Marburger was in and out of surgery in the days following the shooting, with Claire telling Local 5 that he was “nowhere near out of the woods” last weekend.

Iowa law enforcement have not yet released any additional information about Marburger’s death. No funeral arrangements have been announced yet.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered flags at half mast. and shared the following statement:

“Our entire state is devastated by the news of Dan Marburger’s death. Kevin and I offer our deepest condolences to his wife and family as we pray for their comfort during this very difficult time. Dan courageously put himself in harm’s way to protect his students, and ultimately gave his own life to save them. He will forever be remembered for his selfless and heroic actions. May he rest in peace.”