Senator Charles S. Van Eaton View All Years

Compiled Historical Information
Date of Death: 2/13/1974
Birth Place: Tacoma, Washington
Party Affiliation: Republican
Assemblies Served:
Senate: 53 (1949) - 56 (1955)
59 (1961) - 60 (1963)
62 (1967)
House: 51 (1945) - 52 (1947)
Home County: Woodbury
Charles S. Van Eaton
Woodbury County


Mr. President: Your committee, appointed to prepare a suitable resolution commemorating the life, character and public service of the late Honorable Charles S. Van Eaton, begs leave to submit the following memorial:

Charles S. Van Eaton was born August 10, 1889, in Tacoma, Washington, and moved to Iowa three years later. He spent his boyhood in Iowa and western Canada.

He was graduated from Iowa Business College in Council Bluffs in 1908 and from Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa in 1911.

Mr. Van Eaton was elected to the Iowa General Assembly in 1943 and served two terms in the House of Representatives and three terms in the Senate.

He was one of the founders of the Iowa Development Commission, serving on its board of directors for eight years. He worked for and gained passage of Iowa’s Revenue Bond Bill permitting cities and towns to issue revenue bonds to industries deciding to locate in the state.

Mr. Van Eaton came to be known throughout the state as “Mr. Toll Road” for his promotion in the legislature of a toll road across Iowa. The bill, which was passed three years later, was for $300,000,000, the largest money bill ever passed by the legislature up to that time. Interstate 80 now is built on the survey which Mr. Van Eaton originally obtained for the toll road.

During World War II, he served on the Seventh Regional War Labor Board which met in Kansas City and St. Louis.

In 1965, he was made a member of the Pioneer Lawmakers Club of Iowa for years of service in the state legislature.

Mr. Van Eaton owned a hardware, furniture and undertaking business and a general store in Pisgah, Iowa, and later opened an O. P. Skaggs store in Fremont, Nebraska, in 1928.

After selling his Fremont store, Mr. Van Eaton moved to Sioux City where in 1930 he opened the city’s first self-serve supermarket. He developed a chain of twenty-four stores in Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and Nebraska.

Mr. Van Eaton was active in community affairs throughout the years he lived in Sioux City.

He was awarded the Kiwanis Gold Medal for his distinguished service to the community in 1940. He was chairman of the Community Chest in 1935 and served on the board of directors of Wall Street Mission.

In 1959 he received a citation from the Salvation Army for his services to that organization.

Mr. Van Eaton served on the board of Morningside College for twenty-four years and was chairman of their Endowment Committee for many years. In 1954 he was given an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree for his service to the college.

He served two terms as president of the Sioux City Chamber of Commerce in 1940 and 1941 and during his terms was instrumental in developing the organization called Ten Thousand Sioux Cityans.

He served on the boards of the YMCA and the Methodist Hospital and was on the Municipal Auditorium board for eighteen years, fifteen years of which he served as president.

In 1965, he was given citations from the City of Sioux City and the Auditorium board and a Golden Key to the city for his years of service including his piloting of the bill through the Iowa Legislature which made it possible for the city to have an auditorium.

Mr. Van Eaton was past president of the Lions Club and a member of Tyrian Lodge, AF & AM, the Shrine and the Scottish Rite. In 1965, he was made a Knight Commander Court of Honor by the Sioux City Consistory. He was also a member of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints.

Mr. Van Eaton died February 13, 1974. Survivors include his widow, Gail, whom he married October 8, 1955. He is also survived by two stepsons, Russell R. Martin of Denver, Colorado and George W. Martin of Grand Island, Nebraska.

Therefore, Be It Resolved by the Senate of the Sixty-fifth General Assembly of Iowa: That in the passing of the Honorable Charles S. Van Eaton, the state has lost an honored citizen and a faithful and useful public servant, and the Senate by this resolution would express its appreciation of his services to his community, state and nation and tender its sympathy and kindest regards to the members of his family.

Be It Further Resolved: That a copy of this resolution be spread upon the Journal of the State, and that the Secretary of the Senate be directed to forward an enrolled copy to the family of the deceased.

E. KEVIN KELLY, Chairman




The resolution was unanimously adopted.