John M. Ropes was born in Onawa, Iowa, on Aug. 23, 1924, to former Iowa Secretary State Wayne M. Ropes and Cora Ropes. He passed away on Dec. 8, 2013, in Mason City, Iowa. He graduated from Onawa High School and received Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from Drake University. During World War II he served with aviation units of the United States Marine Corps. Mr. Ropes was elected to the Iowa State Commerce Commission in 1951, at the age of 27, the youngest man elected to a major state office, at the time. He was re-elected to a 4-year term in 1954. In 1966 Governor Harold Hughes appointed him to be the director of the Iowa Manpower Development Council and director of the Iowa Office of Economic Opportunity. In 1968 he accepted a position with the U.S. Department of Interior's Federal Water Pollution Control Administration (FWPCA) to direct state and local programs for that agency. In 1971, the FWPCA became a part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Ropes was elevated to the ranks of the Federal Senior Executive Service where he administered a number of national programs, before his retirement in 1992. During his tenure with the FWPCA and the EPA he received numerous awards and citations from state governments and environmental organizations. The EPA awarded him the Government's Distinguished Career Award at his retirement ceremony. He is survived by his wife, Sharlean; a son, Dr. Milton Ropes, of Twig, Minn., and three grandchildren: Erin, Lauren and Nathaniel. Interment will be held in spring 2014 in Onawa, Iowa. Mr. Ropes resided in Arlington, Va., during his tenure with the federal government and located in Mason City upon his return to Iowa, to be near Mrs. Ropes' parents and family. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge, a 32nd Degree Mason and the Zag Ga Zig Shrine. Also, he was a member of the D.A.V., and the American Legion.