William Edward “Bill” Saupe, 85, of Madison, died Sunday, March 17, 2013.
Bill was born in a farmhouse which lacked modern amenities (indoor plumbing, central heat, and electricity) on January 23, 1928 near Sheldon, Iowa, to Edward F. and Eva S. (Mattson) Saupe. He attended a one room country school through grade six, and then attended school in Sheldon, where he graduated from high school and attended junior college. He continued his college education at Iowa State College (now University) and received a B.S. degree in 1951. He returned to the family farm, working with his father. Bill married Lorna Kruse on June 8, 1952. They had three children: Rebecca, Barbara, and Kurt. In 1954 Bill enlisted in the Marine Corps. He returned to farming after active duty, and concurrently taught a Veterans’ Farm Training course and worked on advanced degree credits. Bill returned to Iowa State full time in 1961, earning a Master’s degree that year and a PhD in Agricultural Economics in 1965.
Bill joined the faculty of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1965, where he retired thirty years later as a full professor. His research, teaching, and Extension programs focused on the financial issues of low income and beginning farmers and on rural poverty. Because of the importance of agriculture in developing economies, Bill had many opportunities for international work that included two years in southern Brazil. His family accompanied him on this adventure, opening their eyes to the wonder of travel. Bill was a longtime member of the Agriculture and Applied Economics Association. Their annual meetings provided destinations for family vacations throughout the United States. Bill was inducted in the Sheldon, Iowa Prairie Museum Hall of Fame for his work in agricultural economics.
Bill became an avid runner after turning 50. He competed in over 100 races, including seven marathons. In his retirement, Bill volunteered to pick up surplus produce and baked goods from area farmers’ markets and bakeries and delivered them to various food pantries. He and Lorna devoted many hours to gardening. They continued to travel, exploring new places, visiting friends and relatives, and staying warm and dry in Arizona for several winters. Bill was an active and involved father and grandfather. Asbury United Methodist Church was his church home for 47 years. His faith was important to him and took the form of leadership, diligent Bible study, and support of mission projects.
Bill is survived by his wife of 60 years, Lorna Saupe; two daughters, Rebecca (David) Luther and Barbara (Barry) Hein; a daughter-in-law, Nancy Sweitzer; seven grandchildren, Amy (Chris) Claflin; Kristy Luther; Sarah, Elizabeth, and LeeAnn Hein; Geneva and Peter Saupe; and a sister, Ruth Larson. His son, Kurt W. Saupe, died in 2012. Bill was also preceded in death by his parents and sister Patricia Schwartz.
Memorials may be directed to the Kurt W. Saupe Foundation at www.kurtwsaupefoundation.org or Asbury United Methodist Church.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Asbury United Methodist Church, 6101 University Ave., Madison, at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 with the Rev. Harold Zimmick presiding. Bill’s cremated remains will be buried in the Saupe family plot in Sheldon, Iowa at a later date.
Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Asbury United Methodist Church, 6101 University Ave., Madison, at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 with the Rev. Harold Zimmick presiding.
Bill’s cremated remains will be buried in the Saupe family plot in Sheldon, Iowa at a later date.