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Louis Lex Sr.

December 14, 1925 May 23, 2017
Louis Lex Sr.
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Obituary for Louis Lex Sr.

Louis (Louie) Lex, Sr.

Louis Lex, Sr., age 91, died on May 23, at Accura Healthcare of Ames. Born in Chicago on Dec. 14, 1925, he grew up in West Allis, Wisconsin. Shortly after he graduated from high school, he was drafted to fight in World War II. He was an infantryman with the 66th Black Panther Division. He said the most important event shaping his life occurred on Christmas Eve, 1944. That night, his division crossed the English Channel to relieve troops in the Belgian Bulge. From the deck of the troop ship, Louie witnessed a major naval disaster—the torpedoing of the S.S. Leopoldville, a second troop ship and the one his battalion had been assigned to board. “The screams of the men trying to save themselves have always been with me,” he said. “It changed my life.”

Like many others in the Greatest Generation, he took full advantage of the GI Bill by going to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he earned his undergraduate and law degrees, and later, his master’s degree in community and regional planning. After a distinguished planning career in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York, he returned to the Midwest to teach planning and environmental law at Iowa State University. Louie was passionate about green spaces, national parks, traveling, downhill and cross-country skiing, swimming, classical music, and his five Alaskan Malamute dogs. Louie and wife Louise shared many good times sailing their 22-foot sailboat on Saylorville Lake. Those who knew Louie will remember his love of sailing, his outspoken support for the environment and civil liberties, and his apt attention to politics.

He is survived by Louise, his wife of 62 years, his daughter, Andrea Louise (Abdul Sudam), his son Louis John (Tricia), Peg Smith, his foster daughter, and three grandchildren—Joseph Sudam, Alexander Sudam, and Annaleigh Lex.

His body has been deeded to the University of Iowa College of Medicine. A memorial event will be held at a later date.


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