Jeannette Eyerly Obituary

Jeannette  Eyerly
Jeannette Eyerly
Jeannette Eyerly

June 7, 1908 - August 18, 2008
Born in Topeka, KS
Resided in Des Moines, IA
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Jeannette Eyerly, 100, died Monday, August 18, 2008 at Wesley Acres Retirement Center in Des Moines.

A Memorial Service will be held 10 a.m., Saturday, August 23, 2008 at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Student Center / Drake University. A private family burial service was held at Glendale Cemetery.

Jeannette Eyerly, an Iowan for more than 90 years, is an award-winning author of books for children and teens and an advocate for mental health. First published at age eight, she wrote twenty books of fiction for young people, two books of poetry and co-authored a book on writing young adult novels. She graduated from University of Iowa in 1930 with a bachelor's degree in English. A free-lance writer for many years, Eyerly co-wrote a nationally syndicated column in the late 1950's. She later wrote eighteen novels for young adults, in which the subject matter was ahead of its time - high school drop-outs, abortion, suicide, divorce, and alcoholism. Several were translated into multiple languages. Her 1969 novel about drug abuse, "Escape from Nowhere," won the Christopher Medal for outstanding young adult novel of the year. A novel about teen pregnancy, "He's My Baby Now," was made into a TV movie. A quote from "Someone to Love Me" is featured in the Literary Walk created in Iowa City.

Her work in the public policy arena for treatment of mental illness in Iowa has changed the face of how services are delivered and the stigma attached to mental illness. Eyerly lobbied for more accessible and affordable mental health services for adults in Polk County. Following the Community Mental Health Center Act of 1963, Eyerly began a grassroots effort in Des Moines to establish an alternative to hospital care for mental illness. Her dogged determination led to the 1969 establishment of the Polk County Mental Health Center, of which she was a founding member. It was renamed the Eyerly-Ball Community Mental Health Services in 1995 to honor her work. She also is a former member of the Iowa Commission for the Blind and past president of the Des Moines Child Guidance Center. In 2002 she received the Iowa Author Award from the Public Library of Des Moines Foundation. In 2006, she was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame.

She was born on June 7, 1908 in Topeka, Kansas. She was married 65 years to the late Frank Eyerly, managing editor of the Des Moines Register and Tribune and is the mother of two daughters. She has six grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to Wesley Acres Good Samaritan Fund, St Catherine of Siena Catholic Student Center or Behavioral Health Resources for Eyerly-Ball Mental Health Center.





St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Student Center
1150 - 28th Street
Des Moines, IA US 50311
Saturday, August 23, 2008
10:00 AM


Wesley Acres Good Samaritan Fund
3520 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA US 50312