Joe Hutter, a longtime Bettendorf police officer, community champion and two-term Iowa state representative, died early Saturday at the age of 77.
“He was active in the community, even up until the past year when his health wasn’t as well,” Bettendorf Police Chief Phil Redington said Saturday. “He has always been very active.
“He was a good police officer, too,” Redington said. “He always cared about the people, and he did a great job for the community. He will be missed by many."
Funeral arrangements are pending at McGinnis-Chambers Funeral Home, Bettendorf.
Bettendorf City Administrator Decker Ploehn said Hutter retired as a captain from the police department about 20 years ago.
“He was always involved in a lot of things, even as a police officer,” Ploehn said. “He’s long been involved with the Mississippi Valley Fair and 4-H and Ag Extension, and then he got into the Iowa Legislature and served in the House.
“Even when he wasn’t working, he had something going on,” Ploehn said of Hutter.
Ploehn said that when he was hired to be a Bettendorf Police officer, “I came on through a Juvenile Justice Advisory Grant out of Cedar Rapids. Joe was the architect of that, and my first check came from them and not the City of Bettendorf. I wondered what was up and Joe just said, ‘You’re getting paid.’
“He also recommended me for a couple of promotions,” Ploehn added.
Former Iowa state Sen. Maggie Tinsman, R-Bettendorf, said Hutter was a strong advocate for Scott County and eastern Iowa during his tenure as a Republican state representative from 2003-2007. Most recently, he served on the statewide board of Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa, or Hawk-I, the state health insurance program for children.
“He was a real community person, but he was particularly attached to Bettendorf,” Tinsman said. “He had a column in the Bettendorf News, and he always talked about something or someone of high interest.
“He was not one to sit around,” she added. “He wanted things to always be improving. He was a great ambassador for our city.”
According to his official legislative biography, Hutter was a U.S. Navy veteran. He was former coordinator of the Scott County Sheriff Senior Volunteer Program and was a past president of the Mississippi Valley Fair Board and the Bettendorf Jaycees, among numerous civic affiliations.
State Rep. Jim Lykam, D-Davenport, said that even though he and Hutter were on opposite sides of the aisle, “You could always go to Joe and ask a question and get a straight answer.
“At the end of the day, we’re all trying to do what’s best for our communities,” Lykam said. “It’s just working with the different ideas. Joe really loved his community, and he always tried to find the common ground that would move improvements forward.
“I’ll sure miss Joe,” Lykam said. “He was a good guy.”