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Chuck Offenburger, a well-known Iowa journalist and rural advocate who has chronicled Hawkeye State events, history and people for nearly a half-century, is now fighting advanced cancer. After telling friends, family and close colleagues about his diagnosis in recent days Offenburger posted a detailed column on his popular Web site about facing down the cancer doctors first discovered in his abdomen. “Believe me, I am far from defeated,” Offenburger, 62, said. “I go into this challenge with robust optimism, pretty strong spirituality, my acceptance and actually some serenity.”
Offenburger has long been a champion of rural issues, serving on a number of boards related to economic development and progress in Iowa’s small towns. He arguably knows rural Iowa as well as anyone ever has. Offenburger and his wife, Carla, live in a renovated farmhouse in rural Cooper, outside the Greene County seat city of Jefferson. Offenburger became a household name in Iowa with his “Iowa Boy” column in The Des Moines Register, a featured piece that ran up to four times weekly from the 1970s to 1998. Offenburger recently authored a book featured on The Daily Yonder about Iowa State University basketball star Gary Thompson.
For a generation of younger Iowa journalists — myself at the top of the list — Offenburger is a much loved and valued mentor who not only offers regular encouragement and promotion of our work but detailed emails on possible new angles, story ideas and ways to make our next contributions better. We are, needless to say, praying for him.