FOI memorial honors Flansburg

Friends and coworkers of the late James S. Flansburg, the longtime chief political reporter for The Des Moines Register, have established a memorial fund in his honor at the Iowa Freedom of Information Council.

Flansburg died Jan. 30 at the age of 87 from complications of dementia. A celebration of life was held May 4 in Des Moines.

He joined the reporting staff of the Des Moines Tribune, the Register’s sister newspaper, in 1957 after serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and receiving his bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa.

His starting salary? $70 per week.

“It was just incredibly heady. My Lord,” he said in a 1998 oral history interview with the University of iowa journalism school. “Nothing was asked of you except to go out and find the news and write it and make sense of it. And they put your name above it and paid you for it.”

Flansburg was respected by political figures on both sides of the political aisle for being fair and accurate – and tenacious, too. He retired in 1997.

He and his late wife, Carol, were parents of four children: Susan of Davenport, Elizabeth and Jane, both of Des Moines, and James of Clive.

Donations to the James Flansburg memorial fund can be mailed to:

Iowa FOI Council
P.O. Box 8002
Des Moines, IA  50301

Donations can be made by credit card by going to the council’s website,, and clicking on the “Donate” button in the upper right corner of the home page.

The gifts will be used to support the council’s education and advocacy work, along with its litigation of government accountability issues.

Prospective donors who want to learn more about the Iowa FOI Council and its work can email the executive director, Randy Evans, at or call him at (515) 745-0041.