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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

ELLSWORTH, Theodore Richards

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ELLSWORTH, Theodore Richards. (Dubuque, IA, Jan. 10, 1918--Dubuque, IA, Sept. 30, 1986). State legislator. Ellsworth, a graduate of Dartmouth College, served in the Iowa Legislature from 1969 through 1972 where in 1971 he was a leading supporter of the bill supporting legalized bingo. The president of the Lange Insurance Company, Inc., Ellsworth served as president of the DUBUQUE BOYS' CLUB, DUBUQUE REGIONAL HUMANE SOCIETY, LINWOOD CEMETERY Association, and the Dubuque Association of Independent Insurance Agents. He was vice-president of the Little Cloud Girl Scout Council.

During WORLD WAR II, Ellsworth served as an officer in the King's Royal Rifle Corps of the British Army before transferring to the American Third Army. Captured, Ellsworth escaped in Poland where he was nearly shot by Russian troops who were convinced he was a German spy. He finished the war as the highest decorated combat soldier in Dubuque history since the CIVIL WAR. His experiences became the basis of his book Yank: Memoir of a World War II Soldier (1941-1945)-From the Desert War of North Africa to the Allied Invasion of Europe.He received the DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS.

Ellsworth was the owner of Lange Insurance Co., Inc. He was also director and founder of Iowa Surety Co. and was President, Mr. Steak, Dubuque.

Ellsworth, a 1968 delegate to the Republican National Convention, was the first Republican Representative ever elected from Dubuque County in regular election. He served in the Iowa House from January 13, 1969 to Jan. 7, 1973.

Image courtesy: Kendall C. Day Family Collection
Ellsworth compiled a long record of civic responsibilities. He was board chairman of Dubuque United Fund; Clarke College Advisory Board; an organizer of Junior Achievement of Tri-States, Inc.; State Historical Society; Dubuque Co. District Court and Federal Court of Northern Iowa Jury Commissioner; 1949 National Foundation Co. Chairman; and Board Member of the Dubuque Boys' Club. For six years he was vice-president Northeast Iowa Girl Scout Council.

An active participant in sports, Ellsworth organized and directed three state softball championship teams and was a charter member of the DUBUQUE SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME. Ellsworth received many honors for his civic activities. In 1961 he received Dubuque's Citizen of the Year Award. He was presented the Junior Achievement National Bronze Leadership Award and in 1965 was named the Des Moines Register "Amazing Iowan."

Cemetery marker

Information provided by Richard G. Bridges and James Kenline