Dwight  Ink

The country lost a great public servant when Dwight Ink, 99, passed away on October 17 from congestive heart failure. He was a 20-year resident of Lansdowne but lived his final days in the Johnson Center in Sterling. Dwight devoted more than 40 years to the public service, working in top level policy positions under seven U.S. presidents, from President Eisenhower to President Reagan.

Born on September 9, 1922 to parents Dwight P. and Edna (Craun) Ink, Dwight Albert Ink grew up in rural Madison County, Iowa, suffering through the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and droughts which destroyed his family’s orchard. In 1942, he left college to join the U.S. Army and rose to the rank of captain before returning to Iowa State University. After graduating with ISU’s first degree in Government, Dwight went on earn an MPA at the University of Minnesota, working part-time with Minneapolis Mayor Hubert Humphrey.

After short stints in local government in Fargo, ND, Dwight went to work for the Atomic Energy Commission where he rose to the position of Assistant General Manager. During this time, he worked with Presidents Kennedy and Johnson on nuclear disarmament issues, led efforts to rebuild Alaska after its devasting 9.2 earthquake in 1964, and helped create the Department of Housing and Urban Development. During the Nixon and Ford years, Dwight served as director of management for OMB, and later as deputy administrator and administrator of the General Services Administration. He retired from the federal government 1975.

But he kept being called back to government service. President Carter asked him to lead the task force to reform federal personnel systems, resulting in the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. Dwight had four appointments under President Reagan, including Administrator of the Community Services Administration and Assistant Secretary for Latin America at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Dwight retired from federal service for the last time in 1988 to become president of the Institute of Public Administration in NYC.

Dwight was a prolific author, writing dozens of professional articles and four books, including a college text book when he was 96. He served as president of the American Society for Public Administration and was a 50-year Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. One of his most valued honors was in 2019 when he, along with 19 others, was inducted into the initial class of the Government Hall of Fame, along with Teddy Roosevelt, the Apollo 11 Astronauts, Elliot Richardson, Colin Powell, and Tony Fauci.

Dwight Ink’s greatest passion was his commitment to good government and the public service, but he was incredibly devoted to his family. His marriage to Margaret (Child) Ink ended in divorce, but left him with five wonderful children: Stephen, Bruce, Lawrence, Barbara, and Lauri, all of whom survive him, along with stepson David Wolf; and 7 grandchildren and 4 great grand-children. His marriage to Dona Wolf and their 45-year partnership was the highlight of his life, as he would tell everyone. American government has lost a true public servant and one of its greatest supporters in Dwight Ink, and his family has lost their great patriarch.

Memorial services will be held on Saturday, December 4 at 2 p.m. at the Loudoun Funeral Chapel in Leesburg, 158 Catoctin Circle, S.E. Leesburg, VA.

Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Dwight Ink Endowment Fund, Iowa State University Foundation, 2505 University Blvd, Ames, Iowa 50010-2230.

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