Reece Stuart III Obituary

Reece  Stuart III
Reece Stuart III
Reece Stuart III

February 27, 1922 - June 26, 2005
Born in Des Moines, IA
Resided in Des Moines, IA
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Reece Stuart III died at home June 26, 2005, he was 83. A memorial service will be held at Plymouth Congregational Church on Thursday, June 30, at 10 a.m.

Reece is survived by four children, Ted (Kathy), Mary (David Yepsen), David (Diana), and Margaret (Alfredo Parrish), a sister, Elizabeth Kruidenier (David), eight grandchildren, four nieces, and his friend and companion, Sally Cornwell. Reece's wife of 46 years, Anne Stuart, preceded him in death in 1993. Reece was a retired Professional Engineer for Pittsburgh-Des Moines Steel Company (PDM).

Reece was born to Reece Stuart, Jr. and Ruth Stuart in Des Moines on February 27, 1922. Reece was the middle child between older brother, Hamilton, who died in 1933, and younger sister, Elizabeth. Reece learned the piano by ear as a child, entertaining friends and family all his life with classical music, Christmas carols, and Irish ballads. He built and flew model airplanes as a teenager, entering them in races at the Iowa State Fair.

Reece graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1939 and headed to Ames to study Aeronautical Engineering. He began his military service through the ROTC program. Upon graduating from ISU in 1943, Reece entered Officer's Candidate School in Newport, R.I., followed by service at Norfolk Naval Base, Norfolk, VA, graduate school at the University of Chicago, and marriage to Anne Akers of Salem, VA.

The skyline of Des Moines is more beautiful for Reece's designs. The sleek, black 10-story high poles, erected in 1966 on the riverbank, carry power north from the substation at Second and Grand to the River Hills Urban Renewal area. The president of Iowa Power and Light described the poles as a "unique approach to design esthetics." The footbridge at Meredith Publishing, designed to safely convey employees to the south parking lot over railroad tracks is another example. Reece designed the first section of the downtown Des Moines Skywalk system, spanning Grand Avenue from the Ruan Building. The Ruan Building has Reece's hand in it, as do the Civic Center and Capital Square.

Reece's legacy does not end at our city limits. Earlham, IA, Ketchum, OK, and Franklin, TN, are but a few spots where Reece's structures become part of the town. His patented water tower, the "tulip tank," is a landmark in Earlham. In the familiar photos of construction of the St. Louis Arch, note the derricks creeping up each side as building progressed, Reece designed the derricks and PDM fabricated the steel.

Reece was promoted to Chief Engineer for PDM in 1962. He was a member of the Engineer's Club of Des Moines and the National Society of Professional Engineers. He served on the Wilkie House board and in 1964 was elected president of that board. He served on the boards of the United Campaign and was a member of Pow-Wow.

Reece gave spirited piano performances for friends and family at the annual Christmas party he and Anne hosted for years. He played for residents at Scottish Rite Park and Wesley Acres retirement homes and at Plymouth Church. He knew every Christmas carol by heart, and he played from the heart.

Memorial suggests are the Des Moines Riverfront YMCA, the Des Moines Symphony, and Hospice of Central Iowa.





Plymouth Congregational Church
4126 Ingersoll Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50312
Thursday, June 30, 2005
10:00 AM


Des Moines Symphony
1011 Locust Street, Suite 200
Des Moines, IA 50309
Hospice of Central Iowa
401 Railroad Place
West Des Moines, IA 50265-4725
Des Moines Riverfront YMCA
101 Locust Street
Des Moines, IA 50309