Senator Elaine Szymoniak View All Years
Elaine Szymoniak was born on May 24, 1920, in Boscobel, Wisconsin. She passed away on May 20, 2009, at the age of 88. She is survived by her five children, Kathy Szymoniak of Social Circle, Georgia, Peter Szymoniak of Milton, Florida, John Szymoniak of Boise, Idaho, Mary Polson of Urbandale, and Tom Szymoniak of Bend, Oregon; three grandchildren; three step grandchildren; and three great grandchildren.
Szymoniak graduated from the University of Wisconsin, earning her bachelor’s degree in education and speech pathology. She worked in public school systems in Wisconsin, New York, and Kansas before finally settling in Iowa. She also put her medical skills to use as one point working at Army Hospital Aural Rehabilitation Center in Oklahoma.
She married Casimir “Chuck” Szymoniak on December 7, 1943.
She spent three decades working with the state of Iowa for the benefit of people with disabilities. She earned her master’s degree from Iowa State University. She served on the Des Moines City Council for eleven years from 1978-1989.
Elected in 1989 to the Iowa Senate she was ranking member of the Human Resources standing committee. She also served on standing committees for Education, Ethics, State Government, and Ways and Means. Many of the bills she sponsored concerned education, family welfare, and care of the elderly and disabled. Her passion for certain issues may have been in part to her older brothers’ challenges with cerebral palsy as well as being born to deaf parents.
Szymoniak was endorsed and recognized by the Des Moines Register in 1992 as an extremely hardworking, dedicated, and conscientious lawmaker who was regarded as one of the more effective legislators. She was inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame in 1999. She was described as a “woman who has it all”. She was a mother, career woman, a volunteer, and a public servant.
Szymoniak was a member of many organizations including NEXUS, Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Des Moines, House of Mercy Board, Coalition for the Homeless, Planned Parenthood, National Organization of Women, Chrysalis Foundation, Iowa Council for International Understanding, Urban Dreams, Iowa State Institute for Social and Behavioral Research, and Iowa Comprehensive Health Association.
Szymoniak was a Polk County Democrat. She served in the Iowa Senate from 1989-2001 during the 73rd, 74th, 75th, 76th, 77th, and 78th General Assemblies.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE EIGHTY-FOURTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF IOWA: That in the passing of the Honorable Elaine Szymoniak, the State has lost an honored citizen and faithful and useful public servant, and that the Senate by this resolution expresses its appreciation of her service to the State and tenders its sympathy and kindest regards to the members of her family.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That a copy of this resolution be spread upon the Journal of the Senate and that the Secretary of the Senate be instructed to forward an enrolled copy to the family of the deceased
DICK L. DEARDEN