Florence D. Buhr, 85, of Des Moines, died on May 12th at the Mercy Hospice in Johnston after a brief illness. A visitation will be held on Wednesday, May 16th from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Iles Westover Funeral Home, 6337 Hickman Road. Memorial services will be held on Thursday, May 17th at 10:30 a.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 4114 Allison Avenue, Des Moines, with interment to follow at Glendale Cemetery.
Florence was born April 7, 1933 in Strahan, Mills County, Iowa to Earnest and May Brott Wederquist. She graduated from Malvern High School in 1950 and received a B.A. in elementary education from Iowa State Teachers College (now University of Northern Iowa) in 1954.She met her husband Glenn in college marching band and they were married in 1955. She taught in the Council Bluffs and Des Moines Public School Districts. She lived and worked for the Department of Defense in Frankfurt, Germany from 1979-1982 while Glenn served as the Director of the European trade office for the State of Iowa.
Always active in human rights causes and Democratic politics, Florence ran for and was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives in 1982 and completed four terms in the House from 1983-1991, including service as the House Assistant Majority Floor Leader. She was elected to the Iowa Senate and completed one term in the Senate from 1991-1995, including service as the Senate Assistant Majority Floor Leader. She played an instrumental role in creating and enacting many health and human rights policies and programs for the state of Iowa during her legislative tenure. In 1994, she was elected to the Polk County Board of Supervisors and served one term as a supervisor from 1995 until her retirement in 1999, acting as chair in 1997.
Florence was a past or present member of the following Boards of Directors: Calvin Community, Terrace Hill Society Foundation, Polk County Civil Service Commission, Civic Center of Greater Des Moines, and Racing Association of Central Iowa. She was an active member and past president of Golden K Kiwanis. She was a member of Cottage Grove Presbyterian Church for over 50 years, serving in church leadership multiple times, until the church closed in 2014.
Florence lived her life with energy, purpose, integrity and conviction. She enjoyed sports, Civic Center performances, movies, travel, reading, political discourse, and playing and winning at bridge. She was an ardent supporter of Drake men’s and women’s basketball, rarely missing a home game and traveling to the Missouri Valley Conference tournament each year to support the women’s team.
Florence is survived by her daughters, Barbara Gilmore and her husband Steven, of Edina, Minnesota; Lori McNichol of Louisville, Colorado and Dennis McNichol of Boise, Idaho; daughter-in-law Dawn Buhr of Des Moines; grandchildren Theodore McNichol and his wife Kristin, Jackson McNichol, Brian Gilmore and Grace Gilmore; great-grandson Max McNichol; brother-in-law Allan Buhr and his wife Veronica of Denver, Iowa; special nieces, nephews and wonderful lifelong friends and neighbors. She was predeceased by her husband Glenn Buhr, son David Buhr and brother Ernest Wederquist.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to CROSS Ministries, Calvin Community or Planned Parenthood. Online condolences are welcomed at IlesCares.com.
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