DES MOINES, Iowa – Former State Rep. James Van Engelenhoven, R-Pella, passed away on Monday. He was 78-years-old.
Van Engelenhoven was born September 8, 1943, in Mahaska County, and he attended school in Oskaloosa, graduating from Oskaloosa High School in 1961. He married his wife Carol in 1965 and raised one son together. They resided near Pella where he farmed.
Van Engelenhoven also served six years in the Iowa Air National Guard.
He got his start in politics in 1992 when he was elected to the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors and served in that capacity for six years. He was later elected to the Iowa House of Representatives in 1998, retiring in 2012 after serving seven terms.
Before his retirement, Van Engelenhoven served on the Iowa House Ethics, Local Government, Natural Resources, and Transportation committees.
He was a member of the Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, and Marion County Pheasants Forever. Van Engelenhoven was also a long-time member of the Leighton Christian Reformed Church and Trinity Reformed Church.
Iowa GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann served with Van Engelenhoven in the Iowa House.
“It was an honor to serve in the statehouse with Jim Van Englenhoven. He was a kind and caring man who met his constituents right where they were – whether it was at the local co-op, church or county fair. He will be remembered for his service and leaving a positive impact on our state,” he said in a released statement.
Iowa GOP Vice-Chair Linda Upmeyer was Speaker of the Iowa House when he retired.
“Rep. Van Engelenhoven lived a life of quiet public service. Jim dutifully served his country, his state, and his friends and neighbors, and he did so humbly and with great care. I am sad to hear of his passing and will keep his family in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” she said.
Van Engelenhoven is survied by his wife Carol, son Jeff of rural Collins, his brother Keith Van Engelenhoven of Ottumwa. He is preceded in death by his parents Everett and Jeanette Van Engelenhoven.