Obituary for Iowa State Dairy Science Professor Dr. William Wunder

Obituary for Iowa State Dairy Science Professor Dr. William Wunder

Everyone at Cowsmopolitan wishes to pass on our deepest sympathies and most sincere condolences to the family and friends of Iowa State Dairy Science Professor Dr. William Wunder of Ames, who passed away on June 18th.
Obituary for Iowa State Dairy Science Professor Dr. William WunderWilliam W. Wunder, 87, of Ames, died on June 18, 2017, at Israel Family Hospice House in Ames. A visitation will be from 2 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 9, in Sarah Barlow Lounge of Collegiate Presbyterian Church in Ames. A service of witness to the resurrection will be at 3 p.m. in the sanctuary, followed by an ice cream social reception in the Social Hall.

Bill was born June 4, 1930, on the family farm near Lake Park to Herman Wunder and Elizabeth (Sell) Wunder. The second child and the oldest of four boys, Bill always loved the farm. As a young teen he took a particular interest in increasing the family dairy herd’s productivity so that in a few years they had one of the best producing Holstein herds in Dickinson County.

After graduating from Lake Park High School in 1947, Bill continued helping on the farm. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1952, serving as company clerk of the No. 558 Amphibious Truck Unit in Incheon, Korea.

Bill used the GI Bill to attend Iowa State College in 1954. While a student, Bill was on the dairy judging team and did so well academically, his professors encouraged him to consider graduate school. He also sang in the Iowa State Singers and the Alumni Hall men’s quartet, and was active in Westminster Fellowship at Collegiate Presbyterian Church, where he made lifelong friends and met his bride, Beth Robie.

Bill graduated in 1958 after helping to win the Intercollegiate Dairy Judging Team National Contest that fall. He returned to his dream of dairy farming but the farm economy was poor, so he followed his professor’s’ advice and applied to graduate schools.

On March 13, 1960, Bill and Beth Robie were married at United Presbyterian Church in Clarion, and then headed to East Lansing where Bill began graduate work in dairy science at Michigan State. After completing his doctorate degree in 1967, the family moved to Bowling Green, Ky., where Bill was a dairy specialist with University of Kentucky Extension. In 1968, Bill began as assistant professor of Dairy Science at Iowa State University.

Bill was proudest of the relationships he built with students through teaching, academic advising, the Dairy Science Club and coaching the dairy judging team. Coaching included travel to dairy farms and contests, allowing him to build relationships with students and dairy farmers. In 1984, he was recognized with an award for outstanding academic advisor. Bill also oversaw the ISU Dairy Farm’s breeding program, greatly improving the herd average over the years. He retired in 1997 as full professor.

Family came first for Bill, and he was a wonderful father to Bob, Michael and Lori, serving as 4-H leader, helping with paper routes, and supporting their many other activities. Summer vacations were spent in their pop-up camper exploring national and state parks. His five grandchildren were his delight and he was always willing to read a book or play a game.

Collegiate Presbyterian Church was an important part of Bill’s life; he served as elder, deacon, youth group leader and tenor in the choir. In retirement, Bill joined Golden Kiwanis, serving as president and singing with the Golden K Singers.

In 1999, Bill survived an aortic aneurysm and viewed the last nineteen years as a gift, enjoying children’s marriages, grandchildren and many wonderful trips with family and friends. His garden is the envy of the neighborhood, especially the leeks. He loved reading and learning new things. He was a hard worker and a loving, caring, gentle man.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 57 years, Beth; his children, Bob (Pam Trowbridge) Wunder, of Newark, Del., and Michael (Jennifer Maney), of Portland, Ore.; daughter Lori (Jim Bonewald) Wunder, of Mount Vernon; grandchildren, Tommy Wunder and Kevin Wunder, of Newark, Del.; Ellie Maney Wunder and Cyrus Maney Wunder, of Portland, Ore., and Teddy Bonewald, of Mount Vernon; two brothers, Kedric Wunder, of Lake Park, and Merrill (Joann) Wunder, of Roseville, Calif.

He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Joyce Jensen; and brother, Dennis Wunder.

The family would like to thank the staff at Mary Greeley Home Hospice and Israel Family Hospice House for their excellent, compassionate care.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Collegiate Presbyterian Church, Israel Family Hospice House Endowment (through MGMC Foundation, 1111 Duff Ave., Ames, IA, 50010), or to the charity of your choice.

Online condolences may be directed to

Scroll to Top