Thomas W. Wickersham, 93
Thomas W. Wickersham, 93, of Ames, passed away August 12, 2013, at Northcrest Community in Ames. Memorial services will be at Northcrest Retirement Community’s Main Dining Room at 1 pm on August 31st. The body was cremated and burial was in Ames Municipal Cemetery.
Thomas William Wickersham was born September 11, 1919, to William A. and Minnie (Schneider) Wickersham in Melbourne, Iowa. Thomas graduated from Van Cleve High School in 1937. While in college, he met Janie Morris after her sister Bettylee said he was too short for her! Following his 1941 graduation with a BS degree in Animal Husbandry, Tom and Mary Jane Morris wed on December 13, 1942- a day he remembers as being bitterly cold many degrees below zero.
After the passing of his father, William, Tom farmed his family’s home place until 1943, when the estate was settled. Tom then bought his own farm near St. Anthony and moved there and farmed that farm for three years. Poor crops prompted Tom to change careers back into Extension work in Jasper County where he took a position with Jasper County as 4H Club youth assistant until 1948, then extension director after his best friend, Bill Zmolek, left that position to join the faculty at ISU. Together, Tom and Janie lived the dream of raising a family as they first had Bill in 1946 then Sudi in 1948.
Tom joined the faculty at Iowa State in 1950, receiving a M.S. in 1954, and retired in 1984 having been the University Sheep Specialist for many years prior to his retirement. In 1980, Thomas was chosen by his peers and received the Animal Science Extension Award for Distinguished Service to the Livestock Industry .Thomas was Emeritus Professor of Animal Science at Iowa State University.
He was a man who was dedicated to belonging to and serving his community. He was a member of Collegiate United Methodist Church in Ames, the American Society of Animal Science, Epsilon Sigma Phi, Farmhouse Fraternity and the Ames Kiwanis. Upon his retirement, Tom became interested in Heartland Senior Services and served on their Board of Directors. Tom even volunteered to help rock babies to sleep at a local daycare!
He also continued his love of his own family farm, making improvements as needed for the land and the historic homestead. With help from friends and neighbors, he completed the home place restoration. He enjoyed entertaining there, hosting many family and friend get- togethers.
Tom Wickersham was a man of honor, integrity, selflessness, and love. He was a good, good man who touched so many lives.
He is survived by his son, William Wickersham of Mazatlan, Mexico, his daughter, Susan Johnson of Manitowoc, Wisconsin; two sisters, Winifred Thompson of State Center, Iowa , Mary June Jones (husband Rod) of Tulsa, Oklahoma; and brother-in-law Walt (Liz) Morris of Sioux City, Iowa. He is also survived by Thompson, Jones and Morris family nieces and nephews. Four grandchildren survive him: Kate Bragg, Las Vegas, NV, Charles (Denise Ray) Wickersham, Woodbine, Maryland, Amanda (Brad) Kent, Pasadena, CA, Holly (Darrick) Wesson of DeKalb, Il., and seven great-grandchildren; Berkley Bragg, Kent Christian and Cole Thomas Wesson, Iris Elizabeth and Hannah Jane Kent and Charles’ and Denise’s daughters Samantha and Catherine.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Mary Jane on January 3, 1983, his mother-in-law, Neva Morris, and granddaughters, Stephanie Wickersham and Ame Wilson.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be designated to Northcrest, the Thomas and Mary Jane Wickersham Scholarship Foundation at Iowa State University, or a charity of choice.
Adams Funeral Home in Ames is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences and photos may be shared at www.adamssoderstrum.com.