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Donald Edward Voelker


1921 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Donald Edward Voelker Obituary
Donald Edward Voelker

Ames, Iowa

Donald E. Voelker, 93, of Ames, died Friday, July 18, 2014, at the Israel Family Hospice House. Funeral services will be at 11:00 am, Tuesday, July 22, 2014, at Bethesda Lutheran Church in Ames. Burial will follow at the ISU Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 5-7 pm Monday, July 21, at Adams Funeral Home in Ames.

Don was born March 1, 1921, in Farmersburg, Iowa, to Edward and Celinda (Mohrman) Voelker. He graduated from Postville High School in 1938, received his B.S. in 1943 and his M.S. in 1950 from Iowa State College. He served as an officer in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific theater during World War II. Don taught vocational agriculture in Gilman and Monroe, Iowa, schools before joining the Iowa State University faculty in 1947. In July 1944 he married Joyce M. Ver Ploeg, in Leighton, Iowa. Joyce died in 1984. Don worked as an Extension Dairy Specialist at Iowa State University for 37 years and was honored as Professor Emeritus in 1984. He provided leadership in the formation of the Mid-States Dairy Records Processing Center and assisted with the startup of the National Dairy Herd Improvement Association in 1965. Throughout his career he received numerous awards including the Ralph Keeling Iowa Dairy Leadership Award, the National DHIA Service Award, the DeLaval Achievement Award for Extension Work for the American Dairy Science Association, and was named a National Dairy Shrine Pioneer in 2002. He served as secretary of the Iowa Holstein Association after retiring from ISU in 1984.

As a faithful member of Bethesda Lutheran Church, he held numerous leadership positions. He belonged to Rotary International, serving as chair of the Travel and Adventure Committee for over a decade. Don served on the ISU Athletic Council for 6 years and was a charter member of the ISU Cyclone Club and Century Club. He was a life member of the Iowa State University Alumni Association and the Memorial Union.

Don participated in golf and bowling leagues and was elected to the Ames Area Bowling Association Hall of Fame in 1993. He enjoyed participating in the Iowa Games and earned 18 medals in bowling competitions.

In 1986 he married Dorothy Vos in Ames. In retirement they traveled and enjoyed spending time with their families. Don also enjoyed his coffee group, playing cribbage with friends at Waterford Assisted Living, and completing jigsaw and Sudoku puzzles.

Don was a loyal Cyclone fan for over 70 years, and regularly attended football and basketball games. He passed on his passion for Iowa State to his 5 children who all earned degrees from ISU. Don was honored to be recognized as Cy's Favorite Alum in 2006. At age 92 he was proud to join other veterans on the 2013 Story County Freedom Flight to Washington, D.C.

We will remember his loud greetings and the smell of his pipe. We'll remember his competiveness in games, his calibrated left hand golf slice and the chaos caused by his spinning bowling ball. We'll remember his intensity at work whether in his office or particularly in his garden. We will remember the image of him dozing in a chair with a sleeping child on his chest, always wondering which on dozed off first or if he was "just resting his eyes".

He is survived by his second wife, Dorothy, and his children: Vivian Murray (Chris), of Lady Lake, FL; Vicki Sivesind, of Ames; Bonnie Jackson (Jon) of Carroll, IA; Larry Voelker (Claretta) of Cadillac, MI; Richard Voelker (Michelle) of Des Moines, IA. Stepsons : Philip Vos (Christine) of Cedar Rapids, IA; Daniel Vos (Sherrie) of Ames, IA; David Vos (Carol) of Apalachin, NY, 18 grandchildren and step-grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-grandchild.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife, Joyce, 3 brothers, a sister, a granddaughter ( Ruth Murray Skaggs) and a son-in-law (Charles Sivesind),

In lue of flowers, memorials may be made to Bethesda Lutheran Church, the Israel Family Hospice House, or a .

Adams Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. Photo's and condolences may be left at www.adamssoderstrum.com

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Published in Des Moines Register on July 20, 2014
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