Former Des Moines Mayor Thomas Urban Dead at 86

DES MOINES, Iowa - The COVID-19 pandemic is delaying a celebration of former Des Moines Mayor Thomas Urban's life.

Urban died Friday at age 86.

He became the youngest Mayor of Des Moines in 1968, at age 33, and led the city in tumultuous times that included civil rights and anti-Vietnam war protests. Urban Urban met with the leaders of the Black Panthers, the activist black civil rights group, in an effort to keep peace in the city.

Urban is also remembered as one of the key drivers behind the renaissance of the Des Moines Botanical Garden.

He was educated at Hanawalt Elementary, Roosevelt High, and Harvard University.

Urban became CEO and Chairman of the agricultural company Pioneer Hi-Bred and was later inducted into the Iowa Business Hall of Fame.

Those who wish to Urban are being asked make a donation to the Des Moines Botanical Garden in his memory.

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