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Robert Donald Blue
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Birth: Sep. 24, 1898
Eagle Grove
Wright County
Iowa, USA
Death: Dec. 14, 1989
Fort Dodge
Webster County
Iowa, USA

Governor State of Iowa 1945 - 1949

From the December 20, 1989 edition of the EAGLE GROVE EAGLE


Governor Robert D. Blue, one of Eagle Grove's most prominent sons, died Thursday at the age of 91.

Blue, a life-long citizen of Eagle Grove, served two terms as governor of Iowa from 1945 to 1949.

In 1988, on his 90th birthday, the citizens of Eagle Grove honored him by naming the middle school in his honor, The Robert Blue School.


Funeral services for Gov. Blue were held Monday afternoon at the United Methodist Church in Eagle Grove. Burial was in the Rose Hill Cemetery with full military honors by the National Guard.

Governor Blue practiced law in Eagle Grove for 67 years right up to the last few weeks of his life. Fresh out of Drake law school in 1922, he served as Eagle Grove City Attorney from 1922 to 1934. He entered politics in 1924 serving as Wright County Attorney until 1931. His 25-year political career led him to successfully run for the Iowa House of Representative in 1934 and served there until 1942. He was elected both minority and majority floor leader for the Republican Party and Speaker of the House. He was elected Lt. Governor in 1943 then Governor in 1945 and again in 1947.

During and after his active political career, Governor Blue became the champion of the elderly cause. He was the main spokesman for the elderly, working tirelessly on their behalf. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Rotary Ann Retirement Home in Eagle Grove and Friendship Haven in Fort Dodge. The scope of his influence was national as he served on the White House Conference on Aging. He was chairman of the Iowa Commission on Aging and served on that commission under six governors.


Governor Blue's wife Cathlene was his constant companion during his long career. She is now a resident of the Rotary Ann Home in Eagle Grove. Failing health did not permit her to attend her husband's funeral.

The funeral, attended by several state dignitaries including Governor Terry Branstad and former Governor Norman Erbe, was conducted by Rev. Scott Hall. Much of the material used in the funeral service for Gov. Blue was chosen by him during long conversations he had with Rev. Hall before Blue's death. Blue wanted the music, the scripture, the poems and the words to reflect life. When the Robert Blue School was dedicated in his honor, Blue wanted a plaque to be placed in the hallway that would etch in bronze one of his philosophies, "Attitudes are the automatic pilots in the lives of men and nations, both in times of calm and in times of strife".


In an interview following the funeral, Governor Branstad referred to the Iowa Centennial Memorial Foundation started by Governor Blue to provide scholarships to the state's young people. Governor Branstad said he will propose at the next meeting of the Foundation board that the scholarships be named Robert Blue scholarship in his honor.

Governor Branstad termed Blue a man of great wit and knowledge, a man with tremendous integrity and termed it a high honor to have known Governor Blue.

Another quotation brought out by Rev. Hall gives insight to Blue's integrity, "Nothing is politically right that is morally wrong".

Governor Blue had amassed volumes of his speeches and other writings that his secretary Marilyn Mohr has only recently been retyping. How these will be preserved is not known at this point.


In contrast to his gentle nature, Governor Blue was at times in his political career faced with situations that demanded forceful action such as the confrontation with organized labor on the capitol steps during his second term as governor. A crowd estimated at 25,000 angry union members gathered to protest Blue's support of the right-to-work law. His courageous speech was interrupted by boo's but he stuck to his guns, signed the legislation and the bill remains on the books to this day.

"Governor Blue was a tireless advocate for the older Iowans and a dedicated public servant who remained active in his stand and in his community throughout his life," Governor Branstad said in a statement released Friday. "Gov. Blue made a difference for Iowa, and we are proud to have had the benefit of his service," Branstad added.


Robert Donald Blue was born September 24, 1898, the son of Donald and Myrtle Newell Blue, at Eagle Grove. He attended the Eagle Grove schools and graduated from Eagle Grove High School in 1916. Following high school, Robert served in the United States Army at Camp Dodge in Des Moines during World War II, and received his honorable discharge in 1919.

Upon his discharge, he attended Capital City Commercial College, the Iowa State University, and received his license to practice law in the State of Iowa in 1922.

Robert was united in marriage to Cathlene M. Beale of Tama on October 17, 1926 at Clarion.

Since his licensing, Robert maintained his active law practice in Eagle Grove. During his 67 years of practice, he served as Wright County Attorney, from 1924 to 1931, and City Attorney of Eagle Grove from 1922 and 1934.

From 1934 until 1942, Mr. Blue was a member of the House of Representatives, during which time he served as minority and majority floor leader for the Republican Party and Speaker of the House of Representatives. Robert continued on in state government serving as Lieutenant Governor or Iowa from 1943 to 1945, and two terms as Governor of Iowa from 1945 to 1949.

Robert was very instrumental in the betterment of care for the aging. On the local level, he formed the Meals on Wheels, Congregate Meals, the Senior Citizens and Concerned Inc.

Throughout the state, Robert helped in organizing the building of Friendship Haven, Fort Dodge; Meth-Wick Manor in Cedar Rapids; Methodist Manor in Storm Lake; and in Eagle Grove, the Rotary Ann Nursing Homes, for which he was serving as a member of the Board of Trustees. He also served as legal counsel for these homes.

During Robert's career, he represented and organized many endeavors for the needs of the aging, including: membership on President Nixon's Commission on Aging in 1971; the Iowa Commission on Aging under Governor's Hoegh, Loveless, Erbe, Hughes, and Ray, and was chairman of the commission for 10 years. He instituted the first nursing home licensing law in Iowa, which served as a model for other states and was active in securing a permanent Iowa Commission on Aging, and was one of the founders of the Iowa Non-Profit Homes Commission.

On a legal level, he represented the Methodist Home in Atlantic, in and appeal to the Supreme Court of Iowa in a tax exemption case and aided in reversing the District Court decision which held the home subject to property tax. He also was co-council in the Wardwell Court Case which was carried through the U.S. Tax Courts and the United States Circuit Court of Appeals, successfully establishing the right of a Room Endowment Gift as a deductible item from an individual's income tax report.

He was a member of the United Methodist Church in Eagle Grove, the Order of the Coif, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and Phi Alpha Delta fraternities, Rotary International, a 32nd Degree Mason, and the American Legion. He was also a member of the Eastern Star and White Shrine. He held honorary Doctor of Law degrees from the Universities of Upper Iowa and Drake.

On December 14, 1989, Robert Donald Blue died at the Trinity Regional Hospital in Fort Dodge as a result of complications following an earlier stroke.

He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Russell and Paul, and one son, Donald Robert.

He is survived by his wife, Cathlene, Eagle Grove; one daughter, Barbara Dittmar, Des Moines,; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Funeral services for Governor Robert Donald Blue were held Monday, December 18, at 2 p.m. in the United Methodist Church in Eagle Grove. The Rev. Scott C. Hall officiated. Burial and full military rites were held at the Rose Hill Cemetery, Eagle Grove.

Masonic services were held at the Kastler-Babcock Funeral Home Sunday evening.
Family links: 
  Cathlene Beale Blue (1901 - 1990)*
  Donald Robert Blue (1930 - 1973)*
*Calculated relationship
Rose Hill Cemetery
Eagle Grove
Wright County
Iowa, USA
Plot: Blk 291 Lot 1 Space 4
Created by: Paul Wilde
Record added: Sep 08, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 96706326
Robert Donald Blue
Added by: William Bjornstad
Robert Donald Blue
Added by: Paul Wilde
Robert Donald Blue
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Anonymous
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 Added: May. 27, 2016

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