"SHSI Certificate of Recognition"
"Best on the Web"

Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

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

ELLSWORTH, Theodore Richards

From Encyclopedia Dubuque
Jump to navigationJump to search



ELLSWORTH, Theodore Richards. (Dubuque, IA, Jan. 10, 1918--Dubuque, IA, Sept. 30, 1986). 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.

In 1942 during WORLD WAR II, Ellsworth was one of two young men accepted by the United States Army for liaison work. After attending school, they were commissioned infantry officers. (1) He served as an officer in the King's Royal Rifle Corps of the British Army before transferring to the American Third Army. Captured, Ellsworth was liberated by Russian troops. (2) 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 of Mr. Steak Restaurant of 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. In 1969 Ellsworth and Representative Michael BLOUIN co-sponsored a bill in the House which would allow cities of over 50,000 population to lease and operate a civic center, levying taxes as needed. (3)

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



1. "2 Dubuquers Attend Army Liaison School," Telegraph-Herald, January 18, 1942, p. 16

2. "Lt. Ellsworth Lands in USA," Telegraph-Herald, April 10, 1945, p. 2

3. "Civic Center," Telegraph-Herald, February 25, 1969, p. 5

Information provided by Richard G. Bridges and James Kenline