Bruce Koeppl
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Bruce Koeppl

Des Moines - Bruce Koeppl of Des Moines passed away from non-Covid causes on January 8, 2021 at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines. Bruce was a passionate, caring, fun-loving man, well known as an advocate for seniors in Iowa and nationally. He was a Democrat who believed in bringing people together and working with leaders across the political spectrum. He was proud of his work as Iowa State Director then as Regional Director of AARP. During his career at AARP he helped design innovative programs to better inform older Iowans and advocate for state and national public policies to improve their lives. During the 2008 Caucuses, he organized Democratic and Republican Presidential candidate forums, for which he was recognized as AARP's Advocate of the Year. He played an important role in shaping Iowa's policies on health care, utility costs, caregiving, and community development to make Iowa a good place to live a long life.

Bruce made friends everywhere he went and kept them close throughout his life. It would be an exaggeration to say Bruce never met a person he didn't like, but it is no exaggeration to say very few people he met didn't like him. He counted as friends President-Elect Joe Biden and his family, Governors, Congress members, legislators and policy wonks of all stripes. He was well known and respected from the halls of Congress and the State Capitol to senior centers and coffees shops all over Iowa.

He was proud to be the son of German immigrants who found their American dream on Des Moines Southside. His dad coached Bruce on one of the first organized soccer teams in Des Moines. Bruce's lifelong love of basketball was ignited by playing on the Lincoln High Boys Basketball State Champion team in 1975. He attended the University of Iowa and became a die-hard Hawkeye fan. He knew many players and coaches and never had a bad word to say about any of them, ever.

Special among his many friends are the young people he met as high school athletes who he mentored, coached and assisted through school and early careers. They were his family and he had a father's pride in watching them grow-up and succeed in life. He worked at being the "Best Uncle" to his nieces and nephew and had a large, extended family of people he influenced, encouraged and supported.

Since he retired from AARP he became well-known among his neighbors as "that nice guy on the scooter with his big dog, Ayk" who could be seen scooting all over the westside of the Des Moines.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Inge Koeppl. He is survived by his sister, Betty (Stu) Schlievert his niece Tory (Michael) Schrock, his nephew Riley (Elizabeth) Schlievert, grandnieces Campbell and Quinlan Schrock, Dau (Piath) Jok, cousins, Jurgen(Jutta)Berg, Henry(Rosemarie)Berg and his beloved dog Ayk.

His family thanks the nurses, doctors and staff of Mercy Hospital, Specialty Select Hospital and Urbandale Rehabilitation Center for their care and friendship toward Bruce during the past six months.

A memorial service will be planned for all Bruce's friends in early Spring after we're all vaccinated. Donations in memory of Bruce should be 2815 100th Street #308, Urbandale, IA 50322.

Online condolences as well as notice for the celebration will be posted on Bruce's Tribute Wall at

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in the Des Moines Register from Jan. 13 to Jan. 17, 2021.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Peterson Funeral Home
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January 14, 2021
I was very shocked to read that Bruce had passed away. I went to school with Bruce at Kurtz Junior High School, then Lincoln High on the Southside. Bruce was such a great guy and a fantastic teammate.
He had such a great sense of humor, always keeping us laughing.
I'm sorry that we didn't stay in touch for many years, but I was able to re-connect with him on Facebook.
I'm very fortunate to have known Bruce, my life is better because of it.
God bless you my friend...Rest in Peace Bruce, until we meet again.
Tom Leonetti
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