Simpson and Indianola communities mourn loss of Joe Blake, Sr.

Simpson and Indianola communities mourn loss of Joe Blake, Sr.

The thoughts and prayers of the Simpson College community go out to the family and loved ones of Joe Blake, Sr., who passed away Monday, May 25 at the age of 65.

Blake was the long-time pitching coach for the Simpson baseball team and was the father of current head coach, Ben Blake. Blake was a 1971 graduate of Simpson College, where he was a two-sport star in football and baseball. He was inducted into the school's athletic hall of fame in 1981.

A Celebration of Life will be held 10:30 a.m., Saturday, May 30 in the Blake Field House at the Indianola Middle School, 403 South 15th Street in Indianola.

"Simpson athletics has lost a friend, a hall of famer and an icon," Director of Athletics Brian Niemuth said. "Joe Blake represented the best of Simpson College. He had the right attitude, a competitive spirit, a tireless work ethic and above all, was a great person. Joe will be sorely missed by all of us."

As a student-athlete at Simpson, Blake was a two-time First Team All-Iowa Conference performer as a pitcher on the diamond, becoming the first IIAC MVP in school history in 1971. He was also an all-conference performer on the gridiron, bringing home first team honors as a quarterback in 1969 and 1970. As a junior in 1969, Blake helped Simpson to its first Iowa Conference championship in 20 years while leading the Redmen to an appearance in the Mineral Water Bowl.

Blake finished his 31st season as Simpson's pitching coach in 2015. During his tenure, he coached 28 All-Iowa Conference pitchers, helped Simpson to four league titles and helped the 1991 squad become the first college in Iowa to qualify for the NCAA Division III World Series. 

But Blake's impact on Simpson and the Indianola community go well beyond the diamond. The hundreds of lives he impacted throughout his life were brought to the forefront by the outpouring of positive sentiments shared on social media on Monday. The overriding theme throughout the comments is that Blake taught his players just as much about life as baseball.

Some of those sentiments, along with numerous news stories, can be found below:


Remembering Joe Blake: A player's perspective - Aaron Young '14, Des Moines Register

Iowa's first family of baseball loses 'legend' Joe Blake - Tommy Birch, Des Moines Register

Death of longtime coach monumental loss for community - Mark Tauscheck, KCCI TV

Indianola's "Favorite Son" Remembered - WHO TV

Simpson Baseball and Life - Taylor Harmon '16 (video for class project including voiceover by Joe Blake)