Fort Madison Mayor Steve Ireland, 53, died Tuesday, March 20 at 1:54 P.M. at Fort Madison Community Hospital.
Ireland's family will receive friends on Friday, March 23 from 4:30 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at the King-Lynk Funeral Home and Crematory in Fort Madison.
The funeral service will be held Saturday, March 24 at 10:00 A.M. at the First Baptist Church in Fort Madison. Burial will be held at the Claypoole Cemetery in Wever, IA.
Ireland was just a couple of months into his fourth term as mayor of Fort Madison. He was a fixture in city government for 16 years, starting out on the city council before being elected mayor in November 2005.
He was also an accomplished chef, a small business owner and a member of multiple boards and commissions, including the Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission, the Great River Regional Waste Authority, and the Southeast Iowa Regional Economic and Port Authority.
Ireland withdrew his name from consideration to replace retiring State Senator Gene Fraise (D-Lee County), citing responsibilities associated with work and his role as mayor.
Congressman Dave Loebsack says he was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Ireland.
" He (Ireland) was a hard working public servant who tirelessly served the people of Fort Madison," says Loebsack. "I enjoyed working with Steve and admired his passion for making Fort Madison the best it could be. I was proud to consider him a friend. ”
Fort Madison City Manager Byron Smith says everyone with the city is very sad for Ireland's passing.
"Fort Madison has lost a great champion and advocate," says Smith. "His love for Fort Madison was evident in everything he did."
Keokuk Mayor Tom Marion says Ireland was very helpful to him when Marion started as mayor.
"I found him to be dedicated and always sought to improve his understanding of important matters," says Marion. "He was gracious to everyone he met or worked with and I will miss his counsel."
Ireland is survived by his girlfriend, 6 children, 3 grand-children, 3 brothers, 2 sisters, and numerous neices and nephews.
His obituary says Ireland's children, grandchildren, and community were the center of his life.