Bill Stowe, the CEO of Des Moines Water Works, has been diagnosed with an "aggressive form of cancer," he announced in a letter to employees Thursday.
Despite his diagnosis, Stowe is not stepping down from his position at the water utility, where he's been CEO and general manager since 2012.
In his letter to employees, which was forwarded to the media by the Water Works Board of Trustees, Stowe pledged to work as long as his health allows.
"My recent cancer diagnosis has brought the unpredictability of life painfully into focus for my family and me," he wrote. "My particular aggressive form of cancer provides very few options for treatment. I am putting an immediate emphasis on time with my family and friends.">
Bill Stowe (Photo: Special to the Register)
Stowe turned 60 in January.
Prior to joining the utility, Stowe served for 13 years as assistant manager of public works for Des Moines, where he had a cult-like following for his long, silver hair and resemblance to the actor Russell Crowe. Raygun once made a shirt with his likeness that read "It's Stowe Season!" for his frequent appearance in the media during the winter months, as the city grappled with snow removal.
He's also served as the city's human resources director and as an operations manager for MidAmerican Energy. Stowe earned his undergraduate degree from Grinnell College and earned a law degree from Loyola University Law School.
Graham Gillette, a trustee on the Des Moines Water Works board, said its members are thankful for Stowe's ongoing dedication to the utility, which provides water to more than 500,000 people in the Des Moines metro.
"As a board member, all the time Bill gives us, we all benefit from," he said.
In his letter, Stowe thanked his employees and pledged to make himself available to them and board members as time allows. He asked that the public respect his privacy.NEWSLETTERSThank you! You're almost signed up for Breaking News AlertKeep an eye out for an email to confirm your newsletter registration.>More newsletters
"Being a member of the Des Moines Water Works team is one of the great joys of my life," Stowe wrote. "Every day, I get to work with dedicated, hard-working people who make our city and central Iowa a remarkable place to live. I am amazed and humbled to walk alongside you every day."