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William ‘Bill’ J. Hitz

CROSSLAKE — William “Bill” J. Hitz, 90, of Crosslake, died Friday, April 22, 2011, at Golden Horizons Memory Care.

Bill was born Dec. 24, 1920, to Alvin and Henrietta (Thompson) Hitz in Polk City, Iowa. Bill attended Iowa State College, later known as Iowa State University, where he majored in dairy science and was a member of Eta Chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR).

He married Ruth Kirkman on June 5, 1943. The couple raised three daughters: Barbara (Lowe), Janice (Johnson) and Joyce Hitz.

Following college, he returned to the family farm in Polk City and, in partnership with his father, developed a purebred Guernsey cattle herd. Rosebud Farm was host to many ISU judging teams as well as the National Guernsey Approved Judges. He was a world renowned cattle judge, having judged cattle in Scotland, the Royal Dairy Show in London, the island of Guernsey and every major state fair and national show in the United States.

Bill served as secretary and then president of the Iowa Guernsey Breeder’s Association, president of the Iowa State Dairy Association. He was president of the first American Dairy Association of Iowa and in 1961 became the president of the American Dairy Association. He served in this position for four years. During this time he went to Bombay, India, for three months as the chief of mission of the U.S. Trade Fair.

Bill served as treasurer of the Iowa State Fair for 12 years.  It was through his fair associations that he became the executive secretary/treasurer of International Motor Contest Association after he left the farm in 1965. He held this position until 1975.

Bill was a 32nd degree Mason, 50-year member of the Za-Ga-Zig Shrine and a 50-year member of the Royal Order of Jesters. He was past director and charter member of the National Dairy Shrine Club and in 1996 received the AGR Alumni Achievement Award.

In 1975, Bill and Ruth moved to Nisswa, Minn. After moving to Pelican Lake, Bill sold lakeshore property for Kurilla Real Estate for five years. They moved to Crosslake in 2006.

In addition to his wife and three daughters, Bill leaves behind two sons-in-law, Terry Lowe of Crosslake and Larry Johnson of Ramsey; grandsons Brian (Nikki) Atkinson, Doug (Amy) Johnson; granddaughters Shelly (Barry) Somrock, Shannon (Chad) Pietzsch, Heather (Dave) Eisenmenger and Tammi (Al Gorman) Atkinson; and 13 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, April 27, at 11 a.m. at Highland Memory Gardens in Des Moines, Iowa.  Visitation with the family will be held one hour prior to services. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Shrine Children’s Hospitals.

Brenny Funeral Chapel and Cremation Services

(800) 824-5051