Virginia P. Bedell


"I recall being included in a Bedell family outing to a ski jump at Canton, South Dakota when the temperature was bitterly sub-zero. Virginia might well have enjoyed a nap in her warm home, but I doubt the thought ever crossed her mind..."
— Peter B. Narey, 1979

Virginia P. Bedell was the first woman county attorney in the state of Iowa, having studied for the bar not in law school but with a practicing attorney in Spirit Lake, Iowa. In 1940, with her appointment to the Iowa Board of Parole, she became the first woman in the United States to serve on a regularly appointed Parole Board. During her 19 years of continuous service there, Bedell was elected president of the Central States Corrections Association and was active in other state and national corrections organizations. As a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, Bedell initiated a program known as "Assigned Children," which has helped thousands of needy children of veterans. Bedell was appointed to the first Governor's Commission on Alcoholism and was a leader in her church and in the Republican Party. Born to pioneer parents in 1895, she died in 1975. Bedell was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1983.