Every month we will be celebrating one of the 2017 Iowa Character Award recipients. This month we’re celebrating Joy C. Corning, the 2017 Robert D. Ray Pillar of Character Award (Posthumously) recipient!
Joy C. Corning was a passionate advocate and founding board member of Character Counts In Iowa in 1997, now The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University. She served on the board in both active and honorary roles until her passing in May 2017. Joy played an important role in the strategic planning of The Ray Center and valued the importance of recognizing and acknowledging good character.
First elected in 1990, Joy served two terms as the Lieutenant Governor of Iowa under Governor Terry Branstad. She was a great role model for women in politics. Joy was the first Republican woman to run for governor in 1998 and served on the board of 50-50 in 2020, an organization committed to putting more women into political office.
Joy was passionate about serving others, including nine years on the Cedar Falls school board and six years in the Iowa Senate. As said best by her three daughters – Carol, Claudia, and Ann – “Besides being the most wonderful mother any of us could ask for, we are proudest that Mother’s life was a model of class and grace, kindness and cooperation, service and civility.”