Roger L. Baysden
Roger L. Baysden, 65, passed away on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at Mercy Hospice in Johnston, Iowa. Roger retired from Iowa State Government as Director of Iowa Prison Industries in 2011. He grew up in the south. His long-time dream was to return to the land that he loved. Upon retiring, he relocated to Charleston, South Carolina to be near his loving mother, Kathryn, of Wilmington, North Carolina, where he spent the past three years. Only recently, he returned to Iowa to be near his children, grandchildren and many friends.
After serving in the United States Army, Roger moved to Iowa in 1973 and joined Davis Marketing as a food broker sales representative. He enjoyed the industry and was recognized locally as an innovative leader in the business. He served as a board member for the Food Bank of Iowa and founded the Iowa Frozen Food Association. Nationally, he served as president of the James River Association Broker Board. He was honored three times for earning the Campbell Golden Globe award and twice was the Clorox Bell Jar winner, along with a host of other national awards. During his 17 years with Davis Marketing, he rose from salesperson to President of a five-state brokerage company.
In 1990, Roger returned to Drake University to round out his formal education. He entered the political arena, serving as the advance man for Bob Dole's unsuccessful run for the presidency. In 1996, he joined State Government as Director of Iowa Prison Industries, where he quickly turned Iowa Prison Industries (IPI) into one of the premier industries in the United States. While shaping the future of IPI, he was elected and served as first, Vice-President, President and, finally, Chairman of the Board for the National Correctional Industries Association, located in Baltimore, MD, where he set out reshaping the future of prison industries across the country. Today, IPI is recognized for the many founding work programs that offer hope and opportunity for those offenders who desire to become productive citizens. During his tenure as Chairman, Iowa enjoyed the lowest recidivism rate for offenders in the United States.
His passion for helping offenders get on the right track in life led him and his staff to raise 1 million dollars to buy land and construct a permanent showroom that displays samples of the many items that offenders manufacture. The property was donated to the citizens of Iowa. In 2011, Governor Branstad dedicated by proclamation and named the building the "Baysden Building," in honor of his contributions to reducing recidivism and costs to the taxpayers of Iowa.
In 1983, Roger and his wife, Julie Daly, adopted their first daughter, Carrie, at 8 months old. She is married to Curtis, and the mother of Roger's two grandchildren, Eli and Ella. In 1986-87, they adopted daughters Jonanne, as a 4 month old, and Brandi, at the ripe old age of 3. In 1997, they adopted their daughter Maddy, age 16 months. Lane, their only son, lives in Chicago. In 2010, Roger married Julie Barrows, who has been at his side day and night during his struggle with cancer. He has said to many that the only sad times that he had were when he could not reach out and touch her. In marriage to Julie Barrows, he added to his family Julie's two daughters, Annie, of Kansas City, and Alyssa, of Ankeny, who is married to Matt. They have two boys, Zach and Tyler.
Visitation will be held at the Merle Hay Funeral Home Chapel, 4400 Merle Hay Rd. from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Friday, July 18, with a funeral service to follow at 11:00 a.m. A procession will go to the Veterans Cemetery in Van Meter, where Military Honors by the US Army will be held. Following the interment at the cemetery, please join the family for lunch at the IPI Showroom, located at 1445 E Grand Avenue, Des Moines. The Baysden family request that, in lieu of flowers, a donation be made to Mercy Hospice in Johnston, Iowa. Messages of condolence may be left for the family at www.MerleHayFuneralHome.com.
Published in Des Moines Register from July 17 to July 18, 2014