Carl Virgil Blomgren

July 20, 1924November 2, 2020

Overland Park, Kansas - Former Water Division Director for EPA Region VII dies at 96.

Carl Blomgren died November 2, 2020, of congestive heart failure. He was 96 years old.

Carl Virgil Blomgren was born in the coal-mining camp of Buxton, Iowa, July 20, 1924. He would be the oldest of six children from Carl Wilhelm Blomgren, a coal miner, and Edna Victoria Olson, both first-generation Swedish immigrants. Carl attended elementary school in Buxton until the family moved to Albia, Iowa, in his junior high years. He was an excellent student as well as a hard-working paper boy for the Des Moines Register, working up to assistant manager while still in high school in Albia.

Too young to enlist after Pear Harbor, Carl continued to work other jobs until his 18th birthday in 1942. He joined the Army Air Corp and was assigned to a repair squadron in the South Pacific. While on leave in Hawaii, he was run over by a jeep and suffered a severe knee injury that required a year of hospitalization and rehabilitation.

With the help of the G.I. Bill he enrolled in civil engineering at Iowa State University and received his B.S. degree in 1949.

His first job was with the state of Iowa bringing clean water programs to rural communities.

He married Margaret Morrow, an elementary school teacher, of Mondamin, Iowa, She died in 1978.

In 1970 he became a charter member and one of the founding fathers of the federal Environmental Protection Agency. He worked in Construction Grants, distributing many millions of dollars to small towns and water districts to bring sewer systems to rural communities in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. He became director of the Air and Water Division and ultimately Water Division Director. He retired in 1995.

In 1982 he married Twyla Dell, also an educator, and welcomed two stepsons, Brennan Dell, 14, and Gavin Dell, 12, into the famiiy. He was a wonderful stepfather to them.

Carl loved to travel and visited destinations as far flung as the North Pole, Brazil, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the very last days of the Soviet Union and all of Europe. He kept up a strong relationship with relatives in Sweden and visited them many times. He also had a strong bond with Hawaii and often visited there as well.

He loved reading the newspaper and listening to the news. He had a wry sense of humor and was an astute student of finance, politics and world affairs. He was beloved by his immediate family and wide circle of friends. Raised a Lutheran, he attended Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Overland Park, KS, where he was a founding member in the 1980s and attended regularly.

He is survived by his wife Dr. Twyla Dell, stepsons Brennan Dell, wife Genvieve Dell, grandchildren Austin and Zoe, and Gavin Dell, wife Lisa Blanchard Dell and grandchildren Cameron, Jordan and Bruce, sister Betty Johnston and niece the Reverend Dr. Kristin Johnston Largen of Gettysburg, PA, nephew Andrew Johnston of Los Angeles, California, nephews Craig Clark of Belton, MO, and family, and Chris Clark of Wylie, Texas, and family, and niece Marta Pyatt of Nywot, Colorado, and family; close family friend Kelly Ellison, Gregory Theobald and granddaughter Maya Theobald, and Twyla's brother Bruce Cunningham of Napa, California, nieces Dr. Calaveras Cunningham and husband Mike Gordon, and Allison and Steve Elwood and families, and nephew Robert Cunningham and wife Dr. Rasika Cunningham and families for whom he became both uncle and grandpa. He was also treasured uncle to Margaret's nieces and nephews and many others of her family. We all remember him as lively, funny, smart, gregarious, generous and well-respected.

Donations may be made in his name to in honor of his life-long efforts to bring clean water around the world.

A Zoom memorial will be organized on his behalf in the next couple of weeks. Send your email to receive notification for time and date to


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Carl Virgil Blomgren

have a memory or condolence to add?

Patricia La Rue

November 14, 2020

After I moved to Arizona in 2008 Carl used to come every so often to Arizona and we would enjoy lunch together. Carl was (probably) the only person in EPA's Management who didn't dislike me because I brought the Union to Region VII and maintained a position in Local 1205 until, after 30 years, I retired from EPA. In 1995 I had a horrific car accident that put me in the hospital for almost a year and Carl would come visit me. One very fond memory I have is the day Carl came to visit me right after I had a session of Occupational Therapy where I baked cookies -- my husband, parents, Carl and I then had a most memorable "tea party."

Lee Duvall

November 9, 2020

We will all miss Carl. He was a true gentleman and friend

Sharon Summers

November 9, 2020

My late husband and I met Carl about 14 years ago at the Matt Ross Community Center. We both thought he was such a great person and enjoyed his stories about business, the stock market and growing up in Iowa. We had a great time when we drove him to the Iowa State Fair and toured his home site. Carl was a very kind and considerate person and we valued his friendship. We miss you Carl, rest in peace.

Marcus Rivas

November 9, 2020

My most sincere and deepest condolences to Twyla and the Family.

Carl brought hope and strength to EPA and to these United States. He was a masterful public servant. As an engineer, he established clear standards and ensured that they were met. As a human, he shared human and compassion. He was a champion environmental steward.

Carl gave me guidance and support. He mapped the way with wisdom and keen human insight. He was a man of his roots. I will miss him.

Bob Steiert

November 7, 2020

Carl was a good friend and will be missed. He also was a good engineer and manager. I should know. He was my boss for many years. We worked together at the US EPA for 25 years and had many retiree lunches since then. He was a gentleman, an astute participant of Wall Street trading and a special person that brought a cleaner environment to the Midwest.

Robert L and Maria Morby

November 7, 2020

One of my favorite bosses who gave me the opportunity to do my job and supported me when I needed his help. He was able interact with a wide range of people and have a great relationship with those individuals. He will be missed but remembered for all the good he did.

Beverly Baker

November 5, 2020

Carl was a dear friend to me & became a part of my family. I met him about 14 years ago at the Matt Ross Community Center in the gym. I have never met a more outgoing, loving, funny human being in my life. He embraced my family and was always asking me about them. My father was a Vietnam vet so Carl used to talk to me a lot about the military. He embodied the true nature of kindness that people should have. My family's favorite vacation spot is the Hawaiian Islands. I missed Carl a couple times through the years by a day or two when we were in the islands when he would fly over. We always said we should meet up and have dinner but we never seemed to be there at the same time. Next time I'm in Hawaii Carl...I'll have a drink just for you.
I will miss your sense of humor and your smile that could light up the room. And I'll continue to share our love of chocolate that we bonded over.


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