Elizabeth S. Kruidenier (1926-2011)


(IN REMEMBRANCE, 1926-2011)

Ms. Kruidenier began her legal career as an associate attorney with Polk County Legal Aid and concluded it as a senior partner at Parrish Kruidenier. She was a founding member of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission and famous for championing the rights and causes of others.

Elizabeth and her husband, David, were well known for their philanthropic work that helped reshape the cultural fabric and institutions of Des Moines. Their notable contributions to our community projects include:

  • GRAY’S LAKE: $1.5 million in 1998 to help launch the $6.2 million renovation at the lake.
  • FOREST AVENUE LIBRARY: $750,000 in 1991 to build a library at 13th Street and Forest Avenue.
  • GREATER DES MOINES CIVIC CENTER AND NOLLEN PLAZA: David Kruidenier and local banker John Fitzgibbon raised $11 million in the projects. The couple gave $1.5 million. Kruidenier also arranged for the Crusoe Umbrella sculpture by Claes Oldenburg on the plaza.
  • SIMON ESTES AMPHITHEATER: $400,000 to build the riverside amphitheater, which was finished in 1996.
  • CENTRAL LIBRARY: $5 million toward the construction of a new Central Library in downtown Des Moines.
  • TEMPLE FOR PERFORMING ARTS: The couple invested in and pushed for the renovation of the old Masonic Temple downtown after other efforts to save the building failed.
  • DES MOINES ART CENTER: The Cowles and Kruidenier families are longtime benefactors, contributing several major pieces of art and providing leadership.

Ms. Kruidenier was honored as a YMCA Woman of Achievement (1998) and a Des Moines Ambassador (1965), and is a recipient of the Jewish War Veterans’ Americanism Award. In 2011, Ms. Kruidenier was recognized by Cambridge Who’s Who for demonstrating dedication, leadership and excellence in law. Ms. Kruidenier practiced in the areas of civil rights, criminal defense, employment and labor law, personal injury and wrongful death, appellate law, and family law.

Lisa Kruidenier, Liz’s daughter and the great joy of her life, continues Liz’s philanthropic work in the Des Moines community.

  • John Deere Leasing Co. v. Fraker, 395 N.W.2d 885 (Iowa 1986). Summary judgment against client for $25,000 was reversed by the Iowa Supreme Court.
  • State v. Robinson, 389 N.W.2d 401 (Iowa 1986). Client’s attempted murder convictions were reversed by the Iowa Supreme Court, which found that the trial court abused its discretion in denying client’s motion for change of venue in a highly-publicized trial.
  • Collins v. Federal Land Bank, 421 N.W.2d 136 (Iowa 1988). Appeals court reversed summary judgment of dental patient, holding that extrajudicial admissions could constitute expert medical testimony &emdash effectively allowing a malpractice suit against client’s former dentist.