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John E. Tapscott

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John E. Tapscott Obituary
John E. Tapscott

Des Moines

Former Iowa Senator John E. Tapscott of Des Moines passed on August 16, 2017, destination unknown. He donated his earthly body to the Des Moines University Medical School.

He is survived by his wife, Gaiana Hopkins-Tapscott, six children: Kate (Paul) Carroll, Sacramento, CA; Dr. Mark (Christine) Tapscott, San Diego, CA; Matthew (Denise) Tapscott, Decorah; Luke Tapscott, Melissa Spaur and Patrick Tapscott all of Des Moines. Nine grandchildren: Heather (Sherry Strausbaugh) Carroll, Livermore, CA; Adam (Jennifer) Carroll, Clive; Dr. Ryan Tapscott, Chicago, IL; Taylor John Spaur, Brooklyn, NY; Stefanie (William) Carter, Cedar Falls; Samantha Tapscott, Des Moines; Natalie and Noah Tapscott, Decorah and Joel Tapscott, San Diego, CA. Eight great-grandchildren, sister Margaret "Muggy" Starr of Des Moines; three sisters-in-law; one brother-in-law and 14 nieces and nephews, cousins and many friends. He was preceded in death by an infant son, John and infant daughter, Mary Margaret; parents Helen (Gooding) and Ralph Tapscott; sister and brother-in-law Mary and Charles Dunn; his former wife and mother of his children Verlene Quail Faller; foster son Delbert Atkins and great-granddaughter Kenley Jane Carter.

Among his many roles, he has been a salesman, a real estate and insurance agent; he auctioneered and operated a number of wholesale and retail businesses. He was Director of the Des Moines Area National Council on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependencies (known today as Employee and Family Resources). In 1975 he started the Employee and Student Assistance Program evaluation center for alcohol, drug and mental health services. He served as Director until his retirement in 1995.

He was an active life-long civil and human rights advocate. In 1966, he was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives for two terms and then the Iowa Senate until 1972 when he ran for Governor on the Democratic ticket and was defeated in the primary.

We will remember his many quotes, one favorite being "Live simply so that others may simply live".

His family thanks Dr. Richard Gloor who worked with the team from HCI Hospice Care Services: nurse Cindy Fignolio; massage therapist Connie Wood; social worker Mary Jo McClain; CNA Hailey Risius and all the HCI team members for their care, concern and support that allowed John to remain at home until his death.

Contributions may be made to HCI Hospice Care Services, Food Bank of Central Iowa or ChildServe. Please honor his memory by living one of the many values he held deeply - visit with a friend (or make a new one) confined at home, in the hospital or in a care facility.

An informal gathering to celebrate John will be held on date and location to be determined. It will be posted in the Register. (For full obituary go to
Published in Des Moines Register on Aug. 20, 2017
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