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Last surviving Hawkeye 'Ironman' passes away

Chad Leistikow
cleistik@dmreg.com

The last surviving member of Iowa’s famed “Ironmen” football team of 1939 has passed away.

Dubuque native and Iowa running back Hank Vollenweider barrels ahead during a 1939 practice with the Hawkeyes. At the time he owned the record for longest kickoff return for touchdown in Hawkeyes history, a 92-yarder against South Dakota.

Henry “Hank” Vollenweider passed away Friday at the age of 95, the university said Monday. The native of Dubuque was listed as a fullback and won letters for the 1939 and 1941 Hawkeyes before serving in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II.

In a 2014 video produced in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of Dr. Eddie Anderson’s team that went 6-1-1 and saw Nile Kinnick win the 1939 Heisman Trophy, Vollenweider observed, “We were a group. We were one for all, and all for one.”

The “Ironmen” got their name, in part, from a group of starters that Anderson deployed to play both ways — offense and defense. Kinnick was the most famous of them, as a halfback, defensive back, kicker and punter.

Vollenweider spent many years in St. Louis, Mo., where he retired from Lennox Industries Inc. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorials be sent to American Red Cross Blood Services (text GIVE to 260-624-0749).