John E. Soorholtz, 82, of Melbourne, Iowa, died on Friday, December 28, 2012, at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa, surrounded by his family.
John was born on December 19, 1930, in Marshalltown, Iowa, the son of J. Howard and Edna Mae (Franklin) Soorholtz of Melbourne. He graduated from Melbourne High School in 1949 and attended Iowa State University.
On September 2, 1951, he was united in marriage to the love of his life, Barbara Herbert at the Evangelical and Reform Church in Melbourne. Following their marriage, they made their home on the family farm in Melbourne.
John was a member of St. John's United Church of Christ, the Masons, and the American Legion. He was a Korean Conflict Veteran, stationed in Germany during active duty.
John raised purebred Hampshire hogs, starting in his early youth until he retired from hog production. During his life, he was devoted to the pork industry and agriculture. His past professional recognitions include: President of the Iowa Pork Producer's Association (IPPA) (1969-1972), President of the Iowa Hampshire Association (1972-1974), President of the National Pork Council (1978) during which time the new NPPC building was built, Iowa Master Pork Producer (1971), National Hog Farmer Award for outstanding work in the hog industry (1977), Chairman of the Farmer's for Robert Ray Committee for Governor, first Chairman of the Iowa Beginning Farmer's Program, member of the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Advisory Committee and Chairman of the Purebred Swine Council. Other highlights of his career included his induction into the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Hall of Fame (2007), and into the National Pork Producer's Council Hall of Fame (2010).
He served in the Iowa State Senate (District 36) (1983-1992). During his terms of service, John managed several bills through the Senate, including: the Pork Check-Off Bill, the Pseudorabies Bill, and the Iowa Beginning Family Farm Loan Program. John was elected and served on the Marshall County Board of Supervisors (1998-2006). He loved watching boxing, was a devoted grandfather and was always open about his opinions.
John is survived by his adoring wife, Barbara, and his five daughters and eight grandchildren; Cindy (Dave) Schulte, Brad and Stephanie (State Center), Sharon (Joel) Soorholtz Greer, Kate and Erin (Marshalltown), Joni (Tom) Dittmer, Addy and Ben (Eldridge), Patty (Joe) Russo (Melbourne), and Stacey (Curtis) Moore, Hayden and Reese (Urbandale).
Preceding him in death are his parents. A visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 3, 2013 at the Mitchell Family Funeral Home in Marshalltown, Iowa. Memorials can be directed to the family to be designated at a later time.