DALE M. COCHRAN
URBANDALE, formerly of VINCENT — Dale M. Cochran, 89, former Iowa Speaker of the House and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture passed away on August 27, 2018, in West Des Moines.
Dale was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa on November 20, 1928, to Melvin and Gladys (Fibiker) Cochran. He graduated from Fort Dodge High School in 1946. Dale went on to attend Iowa State University in Ames and graduated with a degree in Agriculture in 1950. He was a member of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity at Iowa State.
After graduation Dale took a job in Newton serving as director of the Jasper County Extension office. That is where he met his wife of 66 years, Jeannene Hirsch. They were married in 1952 in Ankeny, Iowa and soon after that Dale and Jeannene returned to his family’s farm near Vincent, Iowa to work in partnership with his father. Over the next years Dale continued to be involved in farm policy and went on to become a leader in the National Farm Organization (NFO) in the late 50’s and early 60’s.
In 1964 Dale was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives to represent constituents in the Fort Dodge area. He continued to run his family farm over the next 40 plus years while serving the state of Iowa in various political positions. While serving in the Iowa House Dale served as minority leader and was elected as Speaker of the House from 1975-1979. In 1986 he was elected Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and went on to serve three terms retiring from that position in 1999.
Dale has served on various boards and commissions during his tenure as a legislator and as a state elected official. He served on the executive committee of the National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL). Dale was honored as a “Friend of Agriculture” by the National Agri Marketing Association, received an honorary lifetime membership in the Iowa Association of Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioners and received the FFA Distinguished Service Award.
After retirement from public service in 1999, Dale and Jeannene spent their winters at their home in Venice, FL where they enjoyed the nature and warm weather. They also enjoyed hosting family and friends from around Iowa and all over the country.
Dale is survived by his wife Jeannene, three daughters, Deborah (Jeff) Frehse, Denison, Cynthia (John) Forbes, Urbandale and Tamara (Bret) Mathews, Cedar Rapids; his grandchildren Stephanie (Cory) Schmadeke and Ryan (Sierra) Frehse of Denison, Adam Forbes, West Des Moines and Meredith (James) Swanson of Waukee; and his great-grandchildren, Christian and Gavin Schmadeke, London and Jemma Frehse and Logan Swanson.
A visitation will be held Thursday, August 30 from 5-7 p.m. at Iles-Dunn’s Chapel in Des Moines. Funeral services will be Friday, August 31, at Dunn’s starting at 11 am. Lunch will be served following services. Graveside services will be held at 3 p.m. Friday at North Lawn Cemetery in Fort Dodge.
Memorial contributions may be made to Suncrest Hospice or the Iowa State Capitol Monument Conservation Fund. Online condolences will be welcomed at IlesCares.com.