Michael Schoneboom, northwest district supervisor for the parks bureau, announced his retirement after 31 years with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. July 30 will mark his last day.
One of his last projects was to contribute to the planning of the proposed State Park at Storm Lake's Casino Beach area, now under consideration by DNR leaders.
A northwest Iowa native, Schoneboom grew up in Lake View, graduating from Lake-Auburn High School. Schoneboom began working summers at Black Hawk State Park in Lake View. He later went on to teach high school in Riceville and Gowrie.
His first permanent position with the DNR was as park attendant at Bellevue State Park. Schoneboom then went through the Law Enforcement Academy, where he was president of the 52nd Iowa Law Enforcement Class. In his career, he quickly climbed through Ranger I, II and III positions at Backbone, Wilson Island and Palisades-Kepler until he became the north central district supervisor in 1985. Schoneboom also served one year as an Executive Assistant for parks in the Des Moines central office. He has been the northwest district supervisor since 1990.
His career took him and his family, wife Donna and daughters, Kristy and Stacy, to some of Iowa's most beautiful places. "Every time he moved, his wife and children were right there with him. Mike's two daughters truly grew up in our state parks," said Diane Mahn, secretary for the northwest district parks. "Mike has always been very dedicated and has taken pride in his parks. He has provided supervision, tempered with a personality of understanding and honesty. He listens and cares and has earned much respect."
Deb Coates, park ranger at Pilot Knob State Park, added, "I know that Mike - through example - inspired me to do my best. He will be missed and his retirement is our loss."
Schoneboom also served in the Iowa National Guard, attended Drug Enforcement School and has been a hunter and snowmobile safety instructor. He received the Governor's Golden Dome Award.
"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Iowa and the Iowa DNR Parks Bureau," said Schoneboom. "I hope that future personnel take as much pride in wearing the uniform and representing the DNR as I have over the last 31 years." Mike is passing on his knowledge, as Kevin Pape, his successor, job shadows him.