Death of fmr. State Rep. (Dr.) Roger Franklin Wendt (D-IA)
- Death of fmr. State Rep. (Dr.) Roger Franklin Wendt (D-IA) (c1933-2011)
Fmr. State Rep., Dr. Roger Franklin Wendt died on 3/30/2011 in Sioux City, IA. He served in the IA House from 2003-2/1/2010.
Wendt remembered as 'down-to-earth guy'
By Earl Horlyk ehorlyk@... Sioux City Journal | Posted: Friday, April 1, 2011 12:00 am | No Comments Posted
..SIOUX CITY "A down-to-earth guy who knew how to get things done."
That's how former Iowa Rep. Wes Whitead, D-Sioux City, remembered his colleague, former Rep. Roger Wendt.
Wendt, a Democrat who represented Sioux City's 2nd District before stepping down from his seat on February 1, 2010, died Wednesday of complications from lung cancer. He was 77.
First elected in 2002 following a 44-year career as a Sioux City Community School District teacher and administrator, Wendt served four terms in the Iowa Legislature, working on the Judiciary committee; State Government committee; the Ways and Means committee; and the Education committee, where he was chair.
"Education was Roger's passion," said Whitead, who also retired from the House of Representatives in 2010. "He was so knowledgeable on education issues that he won respect from people on both sides of the aisle."
Woodbury County Board of Supervisors director George Boykin said his relationship with Wendt went back more than 40 years.
"I first met Roger in 1968 when he was an administrator at Central High School and I was the program director for the Sanford Community Center," Boykin remembered. "Roger was a tremendous administrator for the school district during some very tough times and an advocate for kids, always."
The person elected to fill Wendt's shoes was Chris Hall, who defeated Republican Cate Bryan in November, to take over Sioux City's House District 2.
"Not only was Roger supportive of my candidacy, he was a tremendous help to my campaign," Hall, a Democrat, said in a phone interview from the floor of Iowa House Thursday afternoon.
Even before entering the political arena, Hall knew Wendt.
"Roger was my principal when I was a student at Hoover Middle School," Hall said. "I thought the world of him back then and my respect only increased over the years."
Former Sen. Steve Warnstadt also initially knew Wendt as a school administrator.
Warnstadt who chose to not run for re-election in 2010 was pleased when Wendt was elected to succeed him in the House in 2002.
"In the Statehouse, Roger became a role model for others on how to be a gentleman in the Legislature" Warnstadt said. "And as the chairman for the Education committee, he never forgot that every bill that crossed his desk must be in the best interest of kids."
Memorial services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Faith Lutheran Church in Sioux City. Visitation will be from 3-5 p.m. Sunday at Meyer Brothers Colonial Chapel. A prayer service will follow.
Her is survived by his wife of 52 years, Anita; son Todd Wendt and wife Betty of Le Mars, Iowa; daughter Nanette (Wendt) Beller and husband Paul of Omaha; a sister and three grandchildren.
Former State Rep. Roger Wendt dies
4:00 PM, Mar 31, 2011 | by Jason Clayworth
Former State Rep. Roger Wendt has died of cancer.
Wendt, 77, of Sioux City was a popular lawmaker known as being a major force in Iowa education policy. He was diagnosed with lung cancer last year and did not seek reelection in November.
Wendt, a Democrat, died last night. His wife, Anita, was his clerk in the Iowa House.
"They were just a very sweet couple," an emotional House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha said of Wendt and his wife Anita, who was a longtime House clerk prior to her husband's illness.
Wendt, a retired educator was an Army veteran.
Sunday, April 3rd
3-5 p.m. with a prayer service at 5p.m.
Meyer Brothers Chapel
3220 Stone Park Blvd in Sioux City
Monday, April 4th
Faith Lutheran Church
3101 Hamilton Blvd, Sioux City
In previous years:
* Wendt fought for a model core curriculum, intended to give all students the same strong education foundation, in 2008.
* He supported an anti-bullying law. The legislation in 2007 forced public and private schools to have policies that prevent and punish bullying or harassment of any student, including based on sexual orientation.
* Wendt was one of the lawmakers who led the charge three years ago on a statewide sales tax to raise money for school building projects. The old method was more piecemeal counties voted periodically on a tax for their area. Urban schools, where most shopping and sales taxes happen, raked in more money, while rural districts felt funding inequity. Money is distributed equally per pupil across the state now.
* He began speaking out about a "dramatic need" for preschool programs in 2005. Two years later, a law passed so that nearly all of Iowa's 4-year-olds could attend preschool on a voluntary basis, paid for by the state and taught by licensed teachers.
* He helped make high school more rigorous. He believed that students and their parents need to take high school more seriously. Too many students coast in their junior and senior years, he said.
Politics: A Democrat, he served four terms in the Iowa House.
Early life: Born and raised in Staplehurst, Neb.
Education: After serving in the U.S. Army, he earned a bachelor's in education from Wayne State University and master's and doctoral degrees in education from the University of South Dakota.
Career: He was a teacher and principal for 43 years before retiring.
Service: Served as president of the United Way. Was active with Faith Lutheran Church and the Boys and Girls Home. Member of National Education Association, Phi Delta Kappa, American Association of School Administrators, Iowa Association of School Administrators, and Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Family: He and his wife, Anita, had one son and one daughter.
Source: Office biography for the Iowa Legislature