Letter to the Editor

Remembering Berkley Bedell

Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Photo courtesy of The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement

Berkley was a true friend for 44 years. Berkley embodied in every way, both public and private, the essence of a good and decent and caring person.

We sat side by side for 10 years on the House Agriculture Committee, and no one fought harder or cared more for the wellbeing of farm and rural families. He raised the specter of global warming long before it became widely acknowledged.

In his 80s and 90s, Berkley encouraged young people to get involved politically. He was a remarkable person who left a good example of a committed and caring citizen.

— U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (retired)

The Okoboji Foundation is saddened by the news of Berkley Bedell's passing. Berkley was instrumental in the founding of the Okoboji Foundation. As a founding member and first chair of the board of directors, he believed that when everyone worked together, great things were possible. He served multiple terms on the board of directors and his commitment to the foundation and its mission remained steadfast.  

In 2011, Berkey and his wife Elinor received the Okoboji Foundation's inaugural Benefactor's Award, an honor given for their lasting positive impact in the Iowa Great Lakes Community. Berkley said many times that the work of the Okoboji Foundation was the most important thing to have happened to the Lakes Area in his lifetime.

Another former board chair Karen Goodenow said: "Berkley was one of a kind and his enthusiasm for life and the Iowa Great Lakes was infectious. I'm thankful to be someone who was inspired by him and his dedication to make the world a better place. It was a joy working with him on the foundation board and many other projects in the area."

The Okoboji Foundation will continue the "Ripple of Good" he created … forever!


-Rob Waterhouse

Okoboji Foundation President

Congressman Bedell's life and service to our beautiful Iowa Great Lakes and the people of northwest Iowa will never be forgotten. He lived his life as all great men do — full of love for others, boundless energy for his community and with an unimpeachable integrity. His memory in Dickinson County won't only be reserved for the buildings that bear his and his family's name — it will be on the heart of anyone who still believes in people over politics and strives to serve others as he did his entire life.

-Brett W. Copeland

Dickinson County Democrats

We are saddened to hear the news of the passing of a great leader from our community. Berkely Bedell was instrumental in organizing and helping to "Save The Park" back in 1999. He made a difference in so many lives; not only in Iowa, but across the nation. Rest in peace, Berkley, we wouldn't be here today without you.

-Historic Arnolds Park, Inc. (HAPI)