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Remembering John Pappajohn: 1928-2023

John George Pappajohn, a board member and majority shareholder for OneroRx, died April 22 at age 94. He served on the Board of Directors from July 2018 until his passing.

John Pappajohn

Pappajohn was born July 31, 1928, in Saint Luke’s, Greece. He immigrated from Greece to Mason City, Iowa, when he was nine months old. He worked hard and developed his entrepreneurial spirit from a young age; he began working at 16 while attending school after his father passed, scavenging for whatever he could sell. He was a proud Iowan, graduating from the University of Iowa in 1952, earning his Bachelor of Science in Business while working alongside—and taking turns attending class with—his brothers.


After graduating, Pappajohn returned to Mason City as an insurance salesman. He opened his first company in 1962, Guardsman Life Insurance Company out of Des Moines—selling it in 1969 and using the funds to start Equity Dynamics and Pappajohn Capital Resources, a financial consulting firm and a venture capital firm respectively. He was the president and sole owner of both firms until his passing.


As one of the early venture capitalists, Pappajohn was involved in more than 100 start-ups, more than 50 IPOs, and served as director of more than 40 public companies. He focused heavily on healthcare and medical technology, serving as Chairman of the Board of the Directors of Cancer Genetics, Inc. from January 2014 to July 2019. OneroRx was one of many beneficiaries of his entrepreneurship.


“OneroRx believes strongly in helping people live healthy lives through innovative solutions to accessible healthcare,” said Joseph Dunham, CEO and president of OneroRx. “John was a large part of being able to fulfill that dream. Through his involvement, he has positively affected so many people across Iowa and the Midwest—including those of us who worked with him.”


Along with supporting businesses, Pappajohn believed strongly in inspiring others to become entrepreneurs and in philanthropy. He financed the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers at five Iowa universities and colleges, gave generously to his alma mater, and established the Pappajohn Sculpture Park in downtown Des Moines.


Pappajohn will be missed by those who knew him, and his legacy will continue to impact countless lives directly and indirectly for years to come.

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