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Assigned to Grinnell in 1951 Paul served on both road patrol and as a driver's license examiner.: William Paul Gearhart

William Paul Gearhart
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Iowa Highway Patrol

William Paul Gearhart

Paul served as an Iowa State Trooper from 1943 to 1976. Trooper Gearhart began his career in Marengo with badge number 70 and was stationed there until 1951. Shortly after joining the Highway Patrol he was drafted into the US Army and served during World War II. Upon his honorable discharge Paul resumed his position as a trooper and his badge number was changed to number 170.

In 1951 Paul was assigned to Grinnell where he served on both the road patrol and as a driver’s license examiner. Many residents of this area remember Officer Gearhart as the patrolman, from whom they took their driver’s license test from. Some of our own Board members of the Iowa Transportation Museum are among the many that fondly remember the fear they felt as they waited for their driving test results.  Paul often told his family and friends that giving a drivers license test was more hazardous than being on the road. His many stories included tales of how people would run into buildings, cars and other objects while taking their driving test.  

Born in Brooklyn, Iowa in 1917, Paul was raised in Adel, IA and graduated from Adel High School in 1935.  He always felt he was lucky to have played high school football with Nile Kinnick and summer baseball with Bob Feller. Sports remained one of his lifelong hobbies.  

While living in Grinnell Paul served two terms on the Grinnell City Council, from 1978 to 1985 and acted as Mayor Pro tem during his second term. He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge.  Paul was married to Ruth Batten on in 1937. Their family included sons W. Kenneth and William P. Gearhart II and daughter Elizabeth.

With great honor we recognize Paul Gearhart as a Hero by Example. Accepting the award in honor of his father is son Bill Gearhart of Conrad, Iowa.

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