Harley A. Whitfield, 1930 - 2017


Our partner and friend, Harley A. Whitfield, 86, passed away on January 9, 2017, at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Florida. Harley was a resident of Des Moines, Iowa  until retiring and moving to Spirit Lake, Iowa.

Harley was born October 7, 1930, to Allen and Irma Cowan Whitfield. Allen was the founding partner of Whitfield & Allen in 1928, the predecessor to Whitfield & Eddy Law.  Harley graduated from Roosevelt High School in Des Moines in 1947 and earned a Bachelor of Science degree at Iowa State University, where he was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. After graduation Harley married his high school sweetheart, Syrena Kinneman, in 1951. Following his service as a lieutenant in the Air Force, Harley attended Drake University Law School, graduating with honors in 1956 and earning membership in the Order of the Coif. He was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society and served as Executive Vice President of the nationwide American Law Student Association, sponsored by the American Bar Association. Harley practiced with Whitfield & Eddy Law and its predecessor firms from 1956 until his retirement in 1995, specializing in business and corporate law. Harley led the firm as the chairman of its Executive Committee for many years, with exceptional business and political acumen.  He was a mentor to his partners.  His long association with the Statesman Group and American Equity, and their leader, David Noble, was an important part of his personal and business life. 

Harley was a member of the Polk County Bar Association, Iowa State Bar Association and the American Bar Association. He was admitted to practice law in the State of Iowa and the District of Columbia. While in Des Moines, he was President of the Des Moines Jaycees and was on the Model Cities Board. He served as a member and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, on the Board of Directors of the Iowa State Memorial Union, and on the Board of Directors of American Equity Investment Life Holding Company. At Lake Okoboij, he served as Commodore of the Okoboji Yacht Club, the Board of Directors of the Okoboji Yacht Club Sailing School, Inc., and the Board of Directors of the Okoboji Protective Association. He was an active racing sailor on Lake Okoboji for many years as well. In their retirement years, Harley and Syrena continued their love of life on the water, enjoying several winters in Longboat Key, Florida.

Harley was preceded in death by his spouse of 64 years, Syrena Whitfield, who passed away October 8, 2015. He is survived by their four children: Melanie (Dr. Steven) Carlson of Spirit Lake, Iowa; Robert Whitfield of Urbandale, Iowa; Harley Whitfield, Jr. of West Des Moines, Iowa; and Ann (Dan) Frink of Spencer, Iowa. Harley is also survived by 11 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. 

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Saturday, January 14, 2017, at the United Methodist Church in Spirit Lake. Visitation will be held from 4:00-6:00 P.M., on Friday, January 13, 2017, at the Schuchert-Lenzt Funeral Home in Spirit Lake. Burial will be at Lake View Gardens Cemetery in Spirit Lake.

The family suggests that memorials may be made to the Okoboji Yacht Club Sailing School, Inc. P.O. Box 544, Milford, IA 51351.