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Obituary: Frank W. Schaller

Obituary: Frank W. Schaller


AMES, Iowa — Frank W. Schaller, 103, of Ames passed away Friday, March 24, 2017, at the Green Hills Retirement Center in Ames.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 1, at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Ames, with Pastor Beth Bachman Caulfield officiating. Burial will be at the Iowa State University Cemetery.

Frank was born in Holmen, March 20, 1914, the son of Frank J. and Edna M. (Anderson) Schaller. He was raised on his parents’ dairy farm, the second of five children. Following his father’s death at an early age, Frank took responsibility for much of the farm work, while attending elementary and high school. Frank’s mother managed the farm while teaching school, and later rented it out in order to accept a position at the La Crosse County Library.

He attended La Crosse Teachers College and then transferred to the University of Wisconsin, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1937. Frank then moved to Morgantown, W.V., to do graduate work at West Virginia University. He served on the Agronomy faculty from 1939 to 1943 and following the war, went back to WVU to finish his Ph.D. While in Morgantown, he met his wife, Catherine. They were married in August of 1942, raised two children, and enjoyed 44 years together until Catherine’s death in 1986.

In December of 1943, Frank joined the U.S. Navy and served as communications officer aboard a destroyer escort in the Pacific. He was honorably discharged in April 1946. Following the war and upon completing his Ph.D. he accepted an assignment at Iowa State University (ISU) in Ames, as associate professor of agronomy and research project leader for the Soil Conservation Society. In 1954, he joined the ISU Extension Service in soil management and forage crop production. From then until his retirement in 1980 as Professor Emeritus, he edited three books and authored or co-authored many research and informational publications. Following this, Frank did instruction and consulting work in Iowa, Costa Rica and Botswana, Africa.

Frank was a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society, and the Soil Conservation Society. He served as president of the Soil Conservation Society and in 1978 was awarded the Hugh Hammond Bennett Award for distinguished service and accomplishments in the conservation of natural resources. He also received merit awards for his work with the Iowa Department of Conservation, the Iowa Conservation Educational Council, the Iowa Land Rehabilitation Advisory Board, and the American Forage and Grassland Council. For over 25 years, he served as a judge for the Forage Crops competitions at the Iowa State Fair.

Frank was a long-time member of St. Andrews Lutheran Church in Ames, the American Legion and the Ames Noon Lions Club. He enjoyed participating in family activities, fishing, gardening, golfing, playing bridge, and traveling in his Scamp trailer.

In 1988, Frank moved to a town house in the Green Hills Retirement Community, where his contributions included managing the Green Hills gardens for over 25 years. Following health problems, he moved into Green Hills Care Center in 2012 and continued to be involved in many activities.

Frank is survived by his daughter, Marie (Bruce) Johnson of Jewell, Iowa; his son, Carl (Barbara) Schaller of Ames; his grandson, Erik (Naomi) Schaller and great-grandchildren, Claire and Connor, all of Clive, Iowa; his grandson, Paul Schaller of Georgetown, Ind.; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his beloved wife, Catherine; his sisters, Helen, Dorothy and Lydia; his brother, Vincent; and an infant brother, Raymond.

Memorial contributions may be directed to St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church or the Memorial Fund at the Green Hills Retirement Community.

Adams Funeral Home in Ames is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences and photos may be shared at

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