Robert "Fred" Dumbaugh
Fred left this life at 3:55 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, with his wife by his side. He released his body from the restricted effects of COPD and dementia. He is soaring now with the knowledge that he completed his time on earth with no strings attached. He learned to love and be loved.
Fred was born on June 22, 1939, to Robert and Elma (Betty) Dumbaugh in Storm Lake, Iowa. He graduated in 1957 from Storm Lake High School. In the fall of 1959, he transferred from Iowa State University to the University of Iowa, graduating in 1961 with a BBA. He graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1964, with a Juris Doctor degree. He practiced law in Cedar Rapids until 1988, and he maintained a side office in Mount Vernon, where he raised his family. He dearly loved living in Mount Vernon.
Fred had an amazing legal career. Among his most memorable experiences in the practice of law was his association with William Kunstler, J.D. in the defense of Dean Butler, a Native American, who was found not guilty in a murder trial held in Cedar Rapids in 1976 (a national story). He and his good friend, Paul H. Kinion, have been credited with the 1969 landmark decision of Iowa Supreme Court case State vs. Eads, which grants defendants in criminal cases pre-trial discovery rights. Fred testified before the United States Senate in support of Chapter 12 family farm bankruptcy law. Sarah was grateful to join him on this trip. Fred's law practice was primarily in the areas of criminal defense and bankruptcy. He saved many farms with his tireless and ingenious work through Chapter 12 during the farm crisis of the 1980s. During his law practice, he was invited to be a member of the Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers and was recognized in the first and second editions of Best Lawyers in America.
In 1961, he married Janet Budack and they were later divorced. Three children were born from that marriage: Daniel Dumbaugh (Jennifer) and children, Jack and Morgan of Texas; Thomas (Shawna) Dumbaugh and children, Cale and Nate of Maxwell, Iowa; and Sarah Henderson and daughter, Elaina of Victoria, Minn. In 1995, he married Susan Garbers-Jones and gained two stepchildren, Jennifer Kent and son, Logan of Cedar Rapids, and Tim (Sarah) Jones and children, Aaron and Luke of Anna, Texas. He also is survived by his sister, Barb (Dick) Semroski of Lakewod, Colo.; a newly found niece, Christa Rodriguez of Texas; and a cousin, Rush Shortley of Iowa City.
Fred always attended his children's events and as many as he could of his grandchildren's events.
Among his favorite life experiences and memories were the years he spent growing up at the family summer home in West Okoboji. He was fortunate enough to spend summers at Camp Aquila in Minnesota, where he performed with the water ski team. The family enjoyed a cabin in Brainard, Minn., for many years where he sailed (his favorite pastime) and he taught many Mount Vernon children to water ski.
Fred was known as a very hard worker and an excellent trial lawyer. He always was willing to share his knowledge and talents with family, friends or strangers. He was an organizer of the Hawkeye Area Chapter of the Iowa Civil Liberties Union and was known as a problem solver. It was not his nature to give up. He was a progressive thinker and was not afraid of a challenge. He was an original organizer of the Lisbon-Mt. Vernon Ambulance Service. He was a member of Rotary and Lawyer's Helping Lawyers. He was a champion of civil rights and was instrumental in bringing Dr. Percy Harris to Cedar Rapids.
After his retirement from law, Fred and Susan created, owned and operated several small businesses including a corporate housing company and a house restoration company and until late, he assisted Susan in her mobile notary business. Fred was a fan of NASCAR and an unconditionally proud friend of Bill for 30 years.
Fred has donated his body to the University of Iowa. He requested no funeral. When his ashes are returned, we will gather for a celebration of life at his final resting place in West Lake Okoboji, where all are welcome to attend.
Please share your support and memories with Fred's family on his tribute wall at www.stewartbaxter.com under obituaries. Condolences may be sent to 201 Tucker St., Hiawatha, IA 52233.