Al R. Etteldorf, Jr.

October 13, 1937 to April 2, 2021

Al R. Etteldorf, Jr., age 83, died at home on April 2, 2021.

A lifelong resident of Decorah, Al was born on October 13, 1937, the son of Al Sr. and Mabel (Rickabough-Shevik) Etteldorf.  He was a student at St. Benedict Catholic School and a graduate of Decorah High School.  Al attended Loras College, Luther College and the University of Iowa, and was a graduate of the Iowa State Law Enforcement Academy.

Al married Doris “Chris” Seelye on June 6, 1960 at St. Benedict Catholic Church.  Together they had one son, A. Robert “Rob”. Al was an active member of St. Benedict Catholic Church and was involved in the community as a member and past president of Decorah Rotary.  Al enjoyed biking, cooking (especially BBQ), gardening with Chris and woodworking, but photography and cameras were his true passion.

Al was an avid photographer from an early age.  He was a professional portrait and wedding photographer and, as a 19-year old, was a photojournalist for a Cedar Rapids television station.  It was photography that led to Al’s 35 year career in law enforcement through his photographic interactions with the Winneshiek County Sheriff’s Department.  He became a clerk with the Sheriff’s Department in 1957 and was deputized in 1958.  In 1962 he joined the Decorah Police Department as an officer and was promoted to Assistant Chief in 1966.   He was appointed Chief of Police in 1980 and served in that role until he retired in 1992.  He was a lifetime member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and a charter member of the Iowa Police Executive Forum.  Following his retirement from the Decorah Police Department, he worked at the Iowa Department of Human Services enforcing child support law, and continued to apply his law enforcement training with his love of photography by providing forensic photographic services.

Al is survived by Chris, his loving wife of 60 years, his son, Rob (Lisa), Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and grandson, Andrew, San Francisco, California, and numerous nephews, nieces and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Al Sr. and Mabel Etteldorf, two half-brothers, Robert and Harland Shevik, a half-sister Dorothy (Shevik) Cotton, numerous uncles, an aunt, several cousins, and his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Harold and Dorothy Seelye.

In lieu of flowers it was Al’s request that any memorials be directed to a charity of the donor’s personal choice or to the International Association of Chiefs of Police or to any organization supporting the families of law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in public service.

Al will be missed, and fondly remembered for his smile, his laugh, and his advice to “never assume anything” and to remember that “there’s always more.”

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