Neal Smith was a long-serving member of the United States House of Representatives to go along with various other accomplishments he achieved in his life.

A moderate Democrat, Smith, initially represented the now-abolished 5th District of Iowa. Later on, he was moved to the state's 4th District. By the time he left the house, he was one of its most senior members.

Passed away on November 2, 2021

Neal Edward Smith has died, reports the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. His passing was announced to the public the following day. On the same day that Smith died, so did former Democratic Kansas U.S.

Representative Dennis Moore and Jean Rounds, the wife of current Republican United States Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota.

Smith first ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1956, losing in the Democratic primary. Two years later, he won the nomination and the general election, defeating incumbent Republican Paul Cunningham. He would be elected to another 17 terms in Congress. Along the way, he would chair the House Small Business Committee and the House Special Committee on Campaign Expenditures.

In 1994, Smith was defeated for re-election by Republican Greg Ganske, a medical doctor. Two would go on to share a warm relationship, despite their political opposition. Ganske would remember Smith as "a good guy and a gentleman."

Smith also helped launch the political career of Tom Harkin.

In his youth, Harkin campaigned for Smith and later joined his Congressional staff. Harkin was eventually elected to the U.S. House, followed by the U.S. Senate. Harkin would chair two Senate committees and was a major contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992.

Current Republican Iowa U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley has also credited Smith for guiding him earlier in his career.

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Also a former U.S. representative, Grassley has chaired four Senate committees and been the body's president pro tempore. As president pro tempore, he was the fourth-highest-ranking government official in the United States.

Before joining the House, Smith was the assistant county attorney of Polk County, Iowa, including most Des Moine.

Afterward, he chaired the county's Welfare Board. The Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in nearby Jasper County is named after him.

Was a highly-decorated Army aviator

During World War II, Neal Smith was a bomber pilot with the United States Army Air Forces. He would be awarded a Purple Heart, five Air Medals, and nine Battle Stars.

Shortly after the war, Smith married Beatrix Havens. The pair would have two children. Beatrix was a lawyer and became probate clerk of Polk County in 1952. She passed away in 2016.

Smith received undergraduate education at the University of Missouri along with Syracuse University. He later received a law degree from Drake University Law School.