Representative Donald D. Avenson View All Years

Compiled Historical Information
Date of Death: 5/19/2017
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Assemblies Served:
House: 65 (1973)
66 (1975)
67 (1977)
68 (1979)
69 (1981)
70 (1983)
71 (1985)
72 (1987) - 73 (1989)
Home County: Fayette
Speaker Video:
Donald D. Avenson
Fayette County


Donald “Don” Dean Avenson was born September 16, 1944, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, son of Donald C. and Wilma G. Avenson. He graduated from Oelwein Community High School in 1962. He married Diane Mary Duda on August 1, 1964, in Oelwein and their union created three children.

Don received his bachelor’s degree in political science and history from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in 1970. In 1972, he completed his graduate work from the University of Northern Iowa. He received an honorary doctorate degree from Upper Iowa University in Fayette. During his political career he served as the office manager of the family business, Oelwein Tool and Die, becoming president in 1984. After his public service work, Don worked as a governmental consultant with Avenson, Oakley and Cope.

As an avid outdoorsman, he was a member of Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Oelwein Gun Club and the Falling Rock Walleye Club. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, gardening, reading, wildlife, nature photography, and spending time with his family and friends. He was also a member of the Zion Lutheran Church, Iowa Democratic Party, Pioneer Lawmakers, Williams Center Board of Directors, and Oelwein Economic Development Board.

Don was a Democrat from Fayette County. He was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives in the fall of 1972, serving for nine terms. During his time he served on the following committees: Appropriations, Budget, Energy, Natural Resources, Rules, and State Government. He also served as Assistant Majority Leader from 1975-1978, House Minority Leader from 1979-1982 and Speaker of the Iowa House from 1983-1990.

Representative Avenson passed away on May 19, 2017, at the age of 72.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE EIGHTY-EIGHTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF IOWA, That in the passing of the Honorable Donald Dean “Don” Avenson, the State has lost an honored citizen and a faithful and useful public servant, and the House by this Resolution would express its appreciation of his service.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution be spread upon the Journal of the House, and that the Chief Clerk be directed to forward an enrolled copy to the family of the deceased.