Chuck Kolbe Obituary

Chuck  Kolbe
Chuck Kolbe
Chuck Kolbe

December 30, 1941 - April 25, 2009
Born in Carroll, Iowa
Resided in Des Moines, IA
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Charles Leon Kolbe died April 25, 2009, surrounded by family and friends, following a nearly 12-year struggle with health complications following a spinal cord injury in 1997. A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at Walnut Hills United Methodist Church in Urbandale, with family and friends visitation at 10 a.m.

Chuck Kolbe was born December 30, 1941, in Carroll, Iowa, to Leon and Helen (Sar) Kolbe. He was raised on a family farm in Lake View and graduated from Iowa State University with a major in Animal Science in 1965. While at ISU, he served as president of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, was initiated into Cardinal Key, the highest honor given ISU students. He married his college sweetheart, Sue Hetzel, of Ames.

Chuck and Sue went back to the family farm and raised three girls, along with cattle, corn and soybeans. In 1997, while bicycle training for RAGBRAI, Chuck was hit by a car and rendered quadriplegic. At the time of the accident, he was President of both the Iowa Cattlemen's Association and the Iowa Beef Industry Council. He was inducted into the Iowa Cattlemen's Hall of Fame and received a Lifetime Member award.

Following five months of rehabilitation, Chuck and Sue relocated from the farm to downtown Des Moines where they embraced their new city life by enjoying Civic Center and Des Moines Symphony concerts, arts and sporting events, downtown restaurants, and the Saturday Farmer's Market.

Being confined to a wheelchair did not confine Chuck's keen sense of humor and one-of-a-kind talent for telling a good story, his deep love of friends and pride in his family, or his interest in politics and current events. In 1999, President Bill Clinton appointed Chuck to the IRS Oversight Board and in 2000, President George Bush reappointed him. In 2005, he was presented with the Secretary's Honor Award from U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson for his service to U.S. taxpayers.

Chuck is survived by his wife Sue, three daughters and sons-in-law, Caran and Chris McKee of McLean, Virginia, Jill and Jonathan Fialkov of Des Moines, and Maggie Kolbe and Chuck Schleusner of Urbandale. He loved and he was adored by eight grandchildren, Kolbe Charles, Anya, Madeline, Saffron, Alec, Daniel, Atticus and Cyrus. He is also survived by two sisters, Karen Goodenow of Okoboji and Kathy Holton of Upland, California.

Memorial contributions may be made to Walnut Hills United Methodist Church or the Craig Hospital Foundation, a foundation to assist persons with spinal cord injuries and their families.


"Click here to view memorial folder"




Walnut Hills United Methodist Church
12321 Hickman Road
Urbandale, IA 50323
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Walnut Hills United Methodist Church
12321 Hickman Road
Urbandale, IA 50323
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
11:00 AM


Walnut Hills United Methodist Church
12321 Hickman Road
Urbandale, IA 50323
Craig Hospital Foundation
3425 South Clarkson Street
Englewood, CO 80113