DES MOINES, Iowa-- Bill Stowe embraced Des Moines first as public works director and then as Des Moines Water Work’s CEO. Wednesday, the public showed how much Stowe meant to the entire community. Stowe lost his battle with pancreatic cancer earlier this week. He guided Des Moines through some of the worst natural disasters over the past two decades.
“It is shocking and surprising that he died suddenly. He will be missed for sure," Sheila Knoploh-Odole said.
Flags outside Des Moines Water Works fly at half-staff to remember its former leader.
“He lived, ate and breathed what he believed in, including his relationship with God," Rosa Morrow said.
Inside, a celebration of life honored Stowe’s combined 20 years of service to the Des Moines metro area.
"He fought for clean water, he fought for his customers," Lora Fraracci said.
“Bills voice meant so much to us who work in this space. His courage, I think all of us have found to be inspiring to us. To speak up for the issues we are passionate about," Cindy Lane said.
Back in 2017, Stowe sued three Iowa counties alleging farm runoff caused high nitrate levels downstream in the Raccoon River. A judge dismissed the case, but Stowe's efforts aren't forgotten.
“He was very kind. He was always very discerning, and I was a huge fan of his when he decided to sue for clean water," Knoploh-Odole said.
Stowed died at the age of 60 and donated his body to science.