James E. Rowley

July 16, 1946 - December 19, 2021

James Edward Rowley, 75, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on Sunday, December 19, 2021. He was born July 16, 1946, in DSM, Iowa, to Lionel and Twyla (Jensen) Rowley and was the middle child of three. He was a 1964 graduate of Saydel High School. He was an accomplished football player at Saydel High School. He worked as a Bricklayer until he joined the Des Moines Police Department October 7, 1968. He began his career as a Patrolman and worked his way to the Accident Investigation Unit. He worked off-duty at the Iowa State Fair as a Police Officer for many years. In 1979, he was promoted to Senior Police Officer in the Criminal Investigation Unit, Crimes Against Persons. He served 22 years in that Unit before he retired in 2001.
Jim and Connie met at Saydel High School. They got married in May of 1967. They went on to have two wonderful children, Stephen James Rowley, of Independence, Mo and Stephanie Jean (Rowley) Ortega, of Brunswick, Maryland.
Jim was very active in his church and Sunday school class. He had very strong religious beliefs. He enjoyed carving, building models, antiques, collecting toy guns. He had an extensive pen and pencil collection. He loved the Green Bay Packers through thick and thin. He was also a die-hard New York Yankees fan. He loved to go for long rides and explore. He enjoyed playing volleyball in his pool. He had role in the movie Heavens Heroes.
He loved his Grandchildren with all his heart.
Jim was the youngest Police Officer to work Accident Investigation Unit. He covered 28 fatalities and several hundred wrecks. He investigate 200 homicides with a clearance rate of over 85%, which is 20 points higher than the national average. He was part of the unit that was awarded for solving 39 homicides in 4 years. He was named "Top Cop of the year 1993" for solving the Drake Diner double murders. He was considered one of the "Best of the Best investigators within the unit division department in the State of Iowa. Pete Hale and Jim co-wrote a book, "The Drake Diner Murders". He worked on numerous high profile cases like the disappearance of Eugene Martin.
Jim is survived by his wife, Connie; children, Steve, Stephanie (Rowley) Ortega, Gregory Ortega; grandchildren, Chandler (Rowley) Boehm, Tyler Boehm, Conrad, Ella, Dylan Ortega. He is preceded in death by his parents, Lionel and Twyla Rowley, brother, William Rowley, sister, Joan Dickey.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 11:00 am, January 5, 2022, at Iles Funeral Home, 3211 Hubble Ave, Des Moines. Visitation will be from 9:00-11:00am. Luncheon to follow service at the PARC Event Center, 5372 NE 12 Ave. Pleasant Hill, IA 50327.
In lieu of flowers, the family has chosen H8Cancer.Org for his memorial.
Online condolences are welcome at www.ilescares.com

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