alons-aiwp
Photo credit: Iowa House Republicans

State Representative Dwayne Alons (R-Hull) who served Iowa House District 4 lost his battle with cancer Saturday night.  He was 68-years-old.  Alons announced early in October that he was diagnosed with renal cancer, but planned to remain in the Iowa House while undergoing treatment.  His daughter, Karena Topf, announced this morning on Facebook, “We lost a great man last night. He was a man of God with a heart for service. He served his country, his constituents and his family well. His presence and leadership will be sorely missed. I love you, Dad! See you on the other side.”

Alons is survived by his wife Clarice, his four adult children Kevin, Kyle, Kristen and Karena and 13 grandchildren.

Alons was born on October 30, 1946 in Hull, IA.  He graduated in 1964 from Boyden-Hull High School.  He earned his B.S. in mathematics from Northwestern College in Orange City, IA and later earned an M.S. in management from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville in 1974.

Alons reached the rank of Brigadier General in the Iowa Air National Guard, having served as the chief of staff in its headquarters.  Alons logged more than 3,800 hours flying F-4s, F-100s, A-7s and F-16s.  He started his military service in 1969 upon receiving his commission.  He also graduated from the Air Command and Staff College in 1984 and the Army War College in 1990.

Alons assumed office on January 11, 1999 in the Iowa House.  He was preceded by former State Representative Kenneth Veenstra. Alons ran unopposed on November 4, 2014 winning what would have been his 9th term.  Alons most recently served as chair of the House Veterans Affairs committee.  He also served on the House Agriculture, Economic Growth, and Judiciary Committees, as well as, on the Transportation, Infrastructure and  Capitals Appropriations Subcommittee.

Alons was a farmer who attended Christ Community Church in Sioux Center where he served as a deacon and as an elder.  He was a member of the Farm Bureau, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Cattleman’s Association, Sioux County Pork Producers, Gideons International, American Legion, Kiwanis, and the Iowa Soybean Association.

Alons was considered a champion for conservative values in the Iowa House and a reliable friend to pro-life and social conservative groups.  He also helped lead the weekly Bible study that took place during the session.  He was recently awarded the Champion of the Family award by The FAMiLY Leader at their fall fundraiser banquet on November 22.  His son Kevin accepted the award on his behalf. Below is the video that was played during the presentation.

Reaction:

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Rep. Alons,” said Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen. “From the outside people knew Dwyane as a passionate, dedicated lawmaker. But his colleagues knew him to be a dedicated father, grandfather, husband and man of faith. Dwayne showed us how to live every part of life by faith and service. His wife, Clarice, has become part of our Legislative family and we are wishing her comfort during this time.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Rep. Alons’ family and friends,” added House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer. “Dwayne has been a shining example of looking for opportunities and developing solutions. Over the years, he spent his time going town to town throughout his district, listening to the concerns of his constituents. He embodied what it means to be a citizen legislator. His legacy will be one of faith, family and hope.”

“As a retired Brigadier General in the Iowa National Guard and a member of the Iowa Legislature since 1998, Iowa lost a true statesman with the passing of Representative Dwayne Alons,” said Iowa Governor Terry Branstad. “I offer my deepest condolences to Dwayne’s wife, Clarice, children, family and friends.”

“As a former state legislator who also grew up in rural Iowa, I admired Representative Alons’ commitment to service and passion for working for rural Iowa,” said Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds. “You would be hard-pressed to find a better advocate for Iowa families, agriculture and rural economic development than Dwayne Alons in the Iowa Legislature. My thoughts and prayers are with the Alons family during this difficult time.”

“Rep. Dwayne Alons exemplified what it means to place public service above all else and dedicated his life to the betterment of our state and the protection of our great nation. All Iowans should be proud of his service on our behalf as a retired Brigadier General in the Iowa National Guard and a representative in the Iowa Legislature. His passing is a tremendous loss for Iowa and all who knew him. My family and I are praying for the Alons family during this difficult time,” U.S. Senator-Elect Joni Ernst said in a released statement.

“I served 8 years in the Iowa House of Representatives with Dwayne Alons. He was a stalwart conservative…steadfast and dedicated to his country, state, and district. He was a General in the Air National Guard and a patriot in every sense of the word. Dedicated to his family and especially his wife, Clarice, who served with him every step of the way, Dwayne Alons was the citizen legislator I was proud to call friend,” Iowa GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann said in a statement.

“I am saddened to hear of the passing of Rep. Alons. Clarice has lost her life partner, his kids lost a great dad and Iowans have lost a steadfast public servant. He has been a solid public servant from his time in the military to his time serving in the Iowa House. I am proud to have called him a mentor and friend. He will be missed by many,” said Iowa GOP Co-Chair Cody Hoefert.

Bob Vander Plaats, President/CEO of The FAMiLY Leader sent a tribute in an email to supporters:

Early Sunday morning, State Representative Dwayne Alons, a dear friend of The FAMiLY LEADER passed away after a brief battle with terminal cancer. We worked with Dwayne in the legislature for many years, and had become close with he and his wife, Clarice.

On Friday, Darla and I were able to make the journey to Sioux Center to visit Dwayne. I’m so thankful we had the opportunity to be blessed by him and the presence of his family before he passed.

This morning during team devotions, we were solemn as we discussed the loss of this wonderful man we were privileged to know and consider our friend. We decided the best word to describe Dwayne was “dignified.” He never faltered in his convictions, and was always respectful of everyone, including those with whom he didn’t agree. Dwayne was a “man’s man” — every man should aspire to be like him. He loved God, and loved his wife and family. Even as I visited with him on Friday, he was the same way — dignified– and with that familiar sweet demeanor.

We pondered and prayed through the words found in Isaiah 55, “God’s ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts like our thoughts.” Even now, it is with great blessing and assurance that “God’s ways are higher than our ways” and His will is accomplished through Dwayne’s life and through the timing of his passing. Although we are greatly grieved to be separated from Dwayne, we rejoice with him knowing he met his Savior face to face, and that his every tear has been wiped away. It is safe to say that the streets of gold and the sea of crystal greatly trump hospitals, IV’s and anything else this side of eternity.

It is because of Dwayne’s integrity that we decided last year to recognize him publicly for his many years of unwavering advocacy for Iowa’s families in the legislature. The FAMiLY LEADER honored him with the first annual, “Family Champion” award at this year’s “Celebrate the Family” Dinner on November 22.  In preparation for this award, it was my honor to interview Dwayne and Clarice in their home in late October of this year, where they shared many reflections and insights from his life of service to his Church, to his family and to his country.

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