Alice Johnson Rodine

Honored by:Earl L. Rodine
Brick location:D:13  map

Alice Johnson Rodine
June 23, 1925 – February 15, 2000

Alice Rodine was a long-time civic and neighborhood leader and community activist in Des Moines, Iowa. In a feature article in the 2/16/2000 Des Moines Register following her death, the Register stated, “Mrs. Rodine, 74, was Des Moines’ most veteran neighborhood leader… she spent most of her adult life participating vigorously in the democratic process.” In the article, then City Manager, Eric Anderson, stated, “I think the future of the city depends a great deal on people following Alice’s example of leadership and involvement.”

Alice Rodine’s neighborhood activism spanned over 25 years, starting in the mid 1970’s, when for the first time, she spoke to the City Council against a proposed ice arena to be built in Union Park by a private developer. She was concerned that the proposed large commercial development would spoil the beauty of the green space, the neighborhood environment and the benefits to the surrounding community that the park provided as a major focal point of the neighborhood. Later in her activism, she and other residents of northeast Des Moines persuaded the Des Moines School Board to keep North High School open. During that campaign, Alice and others founded the North Central Community Organization (NCCO), the City of Des Moines’ oldest neighborhood organization. NCCO would later become the umbrella organization for The Union, Highland and Oak Park neighborhood associations of Des Moines.

Alice’s dedication and commitment to individual civic engagement, the democratic process and ensuring that neighborhoods had a voice in city decisions and policy-making in Des Moines earned her numerous honors and awards. It also earned her the admiration of not only Des Moines residents but citizens across Central Iowa who read about her work or read her many letters to the editor in the Des Moines Register. Candidates and elected officials sought her advice and endorsement; community leaders valued and respected her opinions and insight.

In 1999, Alice Rodine was named the “East Des Moines Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year” for her continued leadership in advancing issues to promote the betterment of east Des Moines. That same year she was also named as one of the “Women of Influence” by the Des Moines Business Record. The Des Moines Neighbors organization named their annual “Outstanding Leadership In Service to the Community” award in her honor -- The Alice Rodine Recognition Award. It was presented to Alice and Earl Rodine on April 13, 2000. Earl Rodine, Alice’s husband of over 50 years and her partner in their many years of civic and neighborhood work, accepted the award on their behalf and in her memory.

Alice’s brick was given to the Catt Center by Earl Rodine. Alice is the mother of Robert Rodine (ISU ’71) and Richard Rodine (ISU ’73). Richard and Sharon (Miller) Rodine (’71) endowed the Catt Center’s Alice Rodine Internship in Community Activism, which is given annually to outstanding students involved in special leadership projects supported through the Catt Center.

Submitted on 5/94; updated 3/31/2014