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April 13th, 2011

Remembering our friend E.J.

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Written by: Kevin Hall

We here at join many across the state, as we mourn the loss of our friend, E.J. Infanger, and ask you to help his family.  E.J. passed away April 9, 2011, in Denison, Iowa.  He was 28 years old.

E.J. is survived by his wife, Adrienne, and his two young sons, Hunter and Gage.  Hunter recently celebrated his second birthday.  Gage was born last October.  All of us who knew E.J. know that he loved his boys very much.  When you spoke with him on the phone about his children, you could tell he smiling at the other end.

E.J. was very involved in politics through the University of South Dakota College Republicans, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, and most recently, Terry Branstad’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign.   E.J. was the Northwest Iowa director for Governor Branstad’s campaign.

I last saw E.J. at Governor Branstad’s inaugural ball in January.  Looking back at our conversation that night, I remember E.J. being very proud of his efforts in the campaign and the success of helping Terry Branstad return to Terrace Hill.

There was an outpouring of shock and sadness from many people upon learning the news of E.J.’s passing.  Many of his friends and former co-workers posted their thoughts on Facebook:

Matt Schultz, Iowa Secretary of State: “It has been a tough morning, I just found out about the passing of a friend. EJ Infanger was a wonderful person. I am going to miss him. My heart goes out to his wife and children.”

Gwen Ecklund, Crawford County GOP Chair: “EJ was a delight to be around.  Not only was he energetic and hard working, but he was the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back. In fact, he gave me his treasured Branstad Campaign pin off his jacket when I admired it, at a time that the pins were all gone and he couldn’t get another one, refusing to take it back.  EJ added a lot of insight to political conversations and was an asset to Crawford County and Iowa.  He adored his two little boys who will only remember him by others fond words.”

Cody Hoefert, Chair of the Lyon County GOP:  “Worked with EJ on the Branstad campaign here in Lyon County and found him to be absolutely amazing. We had a lot of laughs.  He was a great person and had the most amazing smile.  His personality was so addictive to be around.”

Isaiah McGee, Iowa GOP Victory 2010 staffer: “RIP EJ your smile & heart will be missed. I have your wife & two kids in my prayers.”

Tina Goff, Governor Branstad 2010 staffer: “I am so glad that my last memory was hugging him. I just didn’t know I was hugging him goodbye forever.”

Mikel Derby, Governor Branstad 2010 staffer: “E.J. was as good a man as one could find. A true gentleman.  I will miss him and his wonderful smile very much. My prayers are with his wife and children.”

His passing stunned all of us who knew him well and we will miss him very much.  We ask all of you to join us in assisting his young family.

A memorial account has been set up for Hunter & Gage Infanger’s college fund.  If you are able to make a contribution, please make checks payable to “EJ Infanger Memorial Fund”.  Please pass this note along if you know of someone who may want to help.

EJ Infanger Memorial Fund
c/o Wells Fargo Bank, NA
PO Box 578
Denison, IA 51442

E.J. Infanger

Earl James Infanger, son of Jim Bob and Sharon Infanger, died on April 9, 2011, in Denison, Iowa.

E.J. was born in Salmon, Idaho, on September 22, 1982, the first of seven children.  He was raised on the banks of the Salmon River and loved to explore the mountains.  E.J. was active in church and boy scouts activities and received his Eagle Scout Award.  He enjoyed sports throughout his school years, but football was his all-time favorite.  He was recognized as an all-state linebacker his senior year of high school.

E.J. went on to play for his high school coach, Ryan Nourse, who transferred to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa.  During E.J.’s college football career he received many awards including the All-American Linebacker award. He was also the recipient of the National Champion of Character Award in the NAIA football division.  He graduated from Morningside College with a Bachelor of Science degree in History.

E.J. continued his education at the University of South Dakota serving as a student senator where he helped initiate plans for the new student center. He received his Master of Public Administration with high honors (4.0 gpa) and was inducted into Pi Alpha Alpha and the Golden Key International Honour Society.  He worked for Habitat for Humanity, Mitt Romney’s presidential election campaign and Hyperion. Most recently he served as field director over 33 Iowan counties for Governor Terry Branstad’s successful campaign.

E.J. married Adrienne Ann Bielenberg on December 30, 2005, in Salmon, Idaho.  They were sealed in the Idaho Falls Temple on August 4, 2006.  They welcomed their first son, Hunter James on March 23, 2009 and their second son, Gage Robert on October 11, 2010.

E.J. was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He served an honorable mission in the Virginia Richmond Mission from 2002 to 2003.  He had a vibrant personality and was full of compassion and love for all.  He was a loving husband and an outstanding, loving father.  E.J.’s smile and contagious laugh are forever imprinted into the hearts of all who knew him.

E.J. is survived by Adrienne Ann Infanger (wife), Hunter James Infanger (son), Gage Robert Infanger (son) all of Denison, Iowa; Jim Bob Infanger (father), Sharon Infanger (mother), Don Weeks (maternal grandfather), Idell Weeks (maternal grandmother), Vera Infanger (paternal grandmother), all of Salmon; Craig Infanger (brother) of Arcata, California, Emily Hansen (sister) and husband Casey and daughter Myka of Logan, Utah, Branden Infanger (brother), Brittney Infanger (sister) Jayden Infanger (brother) and  Erica Infanger (sister) all of Salmon, 20 Aunts and Uncles and 52 first cousins.

The funeral will be held April 16, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. at the L.D.S. Stake Center in Salmon, Idaho.  Burial will follow in the Salmon Cemetery.  A memorial service will be held at a later date in Denison, Iowa.

Memorials may be directed to Wells Fargo for a college fund for his sons, Hunter and Gage.

(A memorial service in Denison will be planned for a later date.)

About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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