Dwight Ink, 1920-2021

A great public servant, 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 at the Johnson Center in Sterling.  

Dwight devoted more than 40 years to public service and worked in top level policy positions under seven U.S. presidents, from President Eisenhower to President Reagan. 

Born September 9, 1922 to parents Dwight P. and Edna (Craun) Ink, Dwight Albert Ink  grew up in rural Madison County, Iowa during the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and droughts which destroyed his family’s orchard.  He left college in 1942 to join the U.S. Army and attained 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.  

After his first job city in management in Fargo, ND, Dwight went to work for the Atomic Energy Commission Oak Ridge, TN and then Washington, DC where he rose to the position of Assistant General Manager.  During his time at the AEC, 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 Admin.  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 the federal personnel system, resulting in the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.   President Reagan appointed him to several positions 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, wrote dozens of professional articles and four books, including a college textbook when he was 96.  He served as president of the American Society for Public Administration and was a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration for more than 50 years.  One of his most valued honors was in 2019 when he, along with 19 others, was inducted into the first class of the Government Hall of Fame, along with Teddy Roosevelt, the Apollo 11 Astronauts, Elliot Richardson, Colin Powell, and Anthony Fauci. 

Dwight Ink’s 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-grandchildren.  His marriage to Dona Wolf and their 45-year partnership was the highlight of his life, as he would tell everyone.  American government lost a true public servant and one of its greatest supporters in Dwight Ink, and his family lost their loving 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 in 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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