Remembering Bill Stowe Through His Own Words, Longtime Leader Dead of Cancer

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Longtime Des Moines leader Bill Stowe spent the past few decades protecting Iowans from storms, warning them of pending climate changes and suing when he felt others weren’t taking action to protect the water supply. Stowe died Sunday in hospice care at the age of 60 after battling an advanced stage of pancreatic cancer.

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Since 2012 Stowe had served as the CEO of Des Moines Water Works, until he resigned early this month due to his failing health. Before that he was the director of the Des Moines Public Works Department.

"He is truly a gem for the city of Des Moines," State Senator Claire Celsi, a West Des Moines Democrat, said of his commitment to public service and the environment, "I don't think people realized what they had in Bill Stowe."

Other metro leaders shared their reflections on Stowe's death.

"Bill was a steadfast ally, someone we at Iowa CCI, and the people of Iowa, could always count on to fight the good fight. He never hesitated to say what needed to be said on tough issues," Hugh Espey, executive director of the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement.

A mass celebrating Stowe will be held at St. Anthony Catholic Church on Wednesday at 1 p.m. A celebration of life and open house will follow at Des Moines Water Works' administration building from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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