Principal Dan Marburger of Perry High School Passes Away from Gunshot Injuries in a Recent School Shooting

Dan Marburger, the longstanding principal of Perry High School, passed away on Sunday morning just after eight o’clock.

What Became of Him?

According to his family, Principal Dan Marburger of Perry High School passed away early on Sunday morning. Marburger was seriously injured in the high school shooting on January 4. On the family’s GoFundMe website, his wife, Elizabeth, shared the devastating news. “At 8:00 am, Jan (14), Dan lost his battle,” she stated. “He fought hard and gave us ten days that we will treasure forever.”

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According to a news release, Governor Kim Reynolds has directed all state buildings to lower their flags to half-staff in remembrance of Marburger, and she has inspired others to follow suit. She and her spouse sent their condolences. Reynolds remarked, “The news of Dan Marburger’s passing has devastated our entire state.” “Kevin and I offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and spouse as we pray for their comfort through this tough time.”

Post for the Community:

On its Facebook page, the Perry Community School District sent the Marburger family its sympathies in a statement.
“Dan was a devoted husband, father, and grandpa, as well as a fantastic leader in our school system. The statement read, “The loss of Dan has devastated our school community.” “For nearly three decades, Dan was a fixture in every aspect of our Perry Community School District environment, and we endured the immense loss of a devoted and caring colleague.”

Marburger, 56, has received a lot of recognition for his bravery during the shootings. Following the event, he had daily surgery at UnityPoint Health Iowa Methodist Healthcare Center in Des Moines. According to several sources, he tried to divert the attention of the 17-year-old student Dylan Butler, the shooter, so that other students would have more time to flee the school cafeteria, where the shootings started at breakfast.

“Dan courageously put himself in harm’s way in defense of his students and ultimately gave his own life to save them,” said Reynolds. “His brave deeds and selflessness will live on in our memories forever. May peace be upon his head. Another victim of the incident was a kid from Perry Middle School, next to the high school. Four pupils and two more members of the school staff were hurt. As of Friday, there were still two students in the hospital.

The Profession of Marburger:

Marburger was a native of Sabula, a village on the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa; no funeral services had yet been scheduled. He attended what was then East Central Community High School in Miles and earned a degree in education from Central College in 1989. Later on, Drake University awarded him a master’s degree in educational management.

The Perry school district had employed him for about thirty years. In 1995, as an assistant principal, he told the Perry Chief, “I always knew I’d be a teacher.”

Marburger, who spent two years teaching computer skills to middle school students after teaching social studies at East Central High, stated, “I had great teachers I wanted to be like.” In addition, he had worked as a middle school administrator, athletic director, and physical education teacher. Marburger claimed that he loved coaching and teaching history.

He stated he had played sports, been class president, and received a B average in school. He played football for Central College and identified as a passionate golfer who loved sports, especially college football games.

Daughter’s Consent:

The daughter Claire, who coached Perry High School’s varsity girls basketball team last academic year and is currently employed by the school system, is one of Marburger and his wife’s five daughters. “A gentle giant, an amazing Dad, and just an amazing person,” was how she characterized her father in a moving Facebook post she made late on January 4.

“As I heard of a gunman, I quickly had a feeling my Dad would be murdered as he would put himself in harm’s way for the benefit of the kids and his staff,” she said. “There is not the slightest surprise to learn that he attempted to calm Dylan down and divert his attention so that other pupils might leave the café. That is only my father.

She implored the community to “show grace to the Butler family, as we are not our kids’ mistakes and actions or our parents’ mistakes and actions,” in a message that has resonated throughout the Perry community. Dylan, according to the authorities, committed suicide following the shootings.

“Remember, this is everything Dylan’s family has to live with, too, as well as losing their child,” writes Claire Marburger. When they left Dylan off at school the morning of the shootings, Dylan’s parents, Jack and Erin Butler, said they had “no inkling he intended the horrible violence” in a statement released on January 8. “We have no idea how this occurred and why Dylan chose to do what he did.”

“We cannot repay the grace shown to us in public and private,” they continued. We are assisting law enforcement and will keep doing so to shed light on our son’s terrible crime. On Sunday afternoon, Claire Marburger returned to Facebook and shared a fresh statement regarding her father. “If you are lucky enough to know my Dad, you know there are not enough words to say about him,” she said in her letter. “He handed many lessons and things on to us kids.”

In the long post, she lauded his strict yet understanding approach to teaching and his love for his children, their mothers, parents, and grandkids. “My dad was a wonderful man—a teacher, a husband, a father, and a grandfather. A person I strive to be and intend to inspire daily,” the writer added. “We shall miss him terribly. Dad, you have my affection. Forever, you are the greatest.”


The motive behind the shootings has not been made public by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, which is investigating the case alongside Perry police and Dallas County authorities. However, the agency has stated that it is looking into a report claiming Dylan, the student who carried a pump-action shotgun and a small-caliber handgun to school that day, was the target of bullying.

On the morning of the shootings, Perry schools were getting ready to receive kids back for the first day since the Christmas break. Even after the shootings, they have been shuttered.

According to a statement sent by Perry schools administrator Clark Wicks on Sunday, the school board meeting that was supposed to take place later that day has been rescheduled for 3–5 pm on Monday. He claimed a link on the district website will allow users to watch it via Zoom. Additionally, in a district-wide email, Wicks said that the elementary and middle schools’ scheduled reopenings this coming week would be postponed and that primary school pupils would not return to work on Monday as expected. The high school’s planned return to courses has not yet been announced.

According to Wicks, all school employees will have access to bereavement support services at Perry Elementary School from 9 to 11 am and 11 am to 1 pm. “Today is a terrible and painful day for all of us who know and love the Marburger family,” he stated. One of the pastors who presided over vigils the night following the shooting, Rick Gates, senior pastor of Crossroads Church, stated that he was faced with the challenging duty of informing his flock about Marburger’s passing on Sunday morning.

“I broke the news to a handful of people that were just hearing it for the first time, and it was a hard moment,” Gates stated. “I shared it and sat there for an instant, and then we began to pray, and I prayed what was in my heart.”

He mentioned that he’d known Marburger for around two decades and that his kids had gone to Perry High. “He worked and lived for the school and the community and the students,” according to him.

Other Statements:

  • Rita Hart, the chair of the Iowa Democratic Party: “Dan Marburger, the principal of Perry High School, gave his life to protect his students.” He will always be remembered for his bravery and selflessness. So that a teacher or principal never has to do that again, we need to make certain adjustments—my condolences to Dan Marburger’s family, friends, coworkers, students, and the Perry community.
  • “I join all Iowans in mourning the loss of Perry High School Principal Dan Marburger,” said Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand. Principal Marburger made the ultimate sacrifice: no one should ever have to risk their lives to stop kids from going on a rampage at a school. Dan Marburger rescued lives and ensured many of his pupils were safe from harm’s path on the morning of January 4, 2024, thanks to his brave acts at Perry High School. Dan Marburger is a blessing from God; may he rest in peace.
  • “Dan Marburger gave his life for the students and faculty at Perry High School,” said Laura Skeel, director of learning supports for Perry schools. Since taking over as PHS Principal in 1995, he has contributed significantly to the Perry community; this was his last sacrifice. The whole Perry community, including the Marburger family, is mourning this tragic loss.”

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