Iowa Rep. Greg Forristall, 67, of Macedonia died Wednesday at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha following his battle with cancer.
The Republican was serving his sixth term representing District 22, which includes the majority of Pottawattamie County, including a portion of eastern Council Bluffs. He was last reelected in November of 2016.
"Greg was a wonderful husband and my best friend. Greg was an amazing person with a truly Renaissance mind — scientific, logical, artistic and musical. He truly loved life," Forristall's wife Carol said in a statement. "I was proud of his life-long dedication to education, the arts, agriculture and public service. Greg cared about our community and has left this world a better place. A noble goal for us all."
Gov. Terry Branstad lamented the loss.
“Greg bravely fought cancer for months while going above and beyond to fulfill his legislative duties and serve his constituents in western Iowa,” Gov. Terry Branstad said in a statement. “He was an outstanding legislator and will be greatly missed.”
Forristall was born in Council Bluffs and grew up on his family farm near Macedonia, according to the Iowa House Republicans website. He attended Carson-Macedonia High School, graduating in 1968. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 1972 and earned a masters degree there in 1973.
Forristall was first elected to represent House District 98 in November of 2006. He shifted to representing District 22 when the maps were redrawn in 2010.
“He was a great Republican, a great conservative,” said Jeff Jorgensen, head of the Pottawattamie County Republican Party. “He represented his district very well. They really loved him over there. It’s a loss.”
Forristall’s colleagues in the House described the representative as “very intelligent,” with a unique perspective on issues and a “champion of education.”
“We didn’t always agree, but there was a lot of respect between the both of us,” said Rep. Charlie McConkey, a Democrat who represents western Council Bluffs and all of Carter Lake in District 15.
McConkey said the pair worked on several bills together, including legislation on the use of tanning beds by minors and home rule for schools.
“He’s going to be missed,” McConkey said.
Branstad’s office said a special election will be held to replace Forristall in the Iowa House. Officials have not yet set a date for the election.
Before his election, Forristall served on the Iowa Western Community College Board and the Iowa State Board of Education. He also served on research committees for the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and chaired committees for the Iowa Farm Bureau, specializing in market information, agricultural technology and conflict resolution.
“He was great on several issues, especially education,” Jorgensen said. “Just a wealth of information on education issues.”
Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, a Republican from Clear Lake, said Forristall “was a dedicated public servant to the people he represented and an advocate for the arts and education, two issues that he was incredibly passionate for.”
“He will be sorely missed,” she said in a statement.
Forristall is survived by his wife Carol, who taught music for 35 years. The pair married in 1978, according to the House Republicans website. Carol Forristall served as her husband’s clerk in the House for many years.
A visitation is planned for Forristall from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday at Hoy-Kilnoski Funeral Home. A burial service is planned at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday in the Silver City Cemetery.
Memorials are suggested to the Hein Family Foundation, 14216 Franklin St. Omaha, Nebraska 68154. They will disperse memorial contributions to scholarships in Greg’s honor, the family said in Forristall’s obituary.
— This report includes Nonpareil archive material.