Obituary and Condolences

Robert E. Yager

April 13, 1930 August 6, 2019
Robert E. Yager
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Obituary for Robert E. Yager

Robert Eugene Yager, 89, of Coralville, Iowa, died peacefully on August 6, surrounded by family and friends, after a lengthy illness. Dr. Yager was an award-winning, internationally recognized science educator who believed adamantly in the importance and value of science education and public service.

Born on April 13, 1930, to W.C. and A. Grayce (Owen) Yager in Carroll, Iowa, Dr. Yager’s own education began in a small rural school in Viola Township in Audubon County, Iowa, near the family farm.

He attended the University of Northern Iowa, graduated at age 20, and took a teaching position in Chapin, Iowa. Here he implemented his ideas of involving students with their personal questions for exploration and learning. He then started graduate studies at the University of Iowa. Drafted into the Army during the Korean War, he was deployed to an Army school in Germany where he taught math and reading to soldiers who had less than 4th grade level skills. He learned to incorporate social issues into the curriculum to engage his unconventional students.

After his military service, he returned to the University of Iowa where he earned a PhD in plant physiology. In 1957, he became the head of the Science Department at the University Laboratory High School and remained in that position until the school closed in 1972. Dr. Yager held various leadership roles as a professor of science education with University of Iowa, until his formal retirement in 2006. He continued as Professor Emeritus with office hours until his death.

A prolific author, Dr. Yager devoted his life to teaching, writing, and advocating on behalf of science education worldwide. He served as president of multiple science education organizations and academies, received multiple awards and recognitions, and received the Iowa Governor’s Science Medal in 1990. He chaired nearly 140 doctoral dissertation committees, nurturing an entire new generation of science educators. Working with former students throughout the world, Dr. Yager helped influence international approaches to science education.

Robert Yager was a philanthropist and supported the University of Iowa Foundation, UNI Foundation, science education organizations, local theatres, the University of Iowa Diversity Committee, and the Iowa Children’s Museum. He established a charitable trust that will continue his philanthropic efforts and Yager scholars far into the future.

He is survived by his son, Stuart (wife Michelle), of Avon, Illinois; daughter, Laura (aka Lolly), of Falls Church, VA; grandson, Weston of Las Vegas, NV; granddaughter Aubrey, of Cedar Rapids; brothers, Bill (wife Marky), of Des Moines, and Lowell (wife Louise), of Ames, and their families. He is also survived by his secretary Maryann Mullinnix of Iowa City, and by his longtime friend Mitchell Owen of North Liberty, Ia. His wife of 37 years, Phyllis (Crable) Yager, died in 1991.

Visitation will begin Thursday, August 8, at Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service in Iowa City from 4:00 to 7:00 pm.

Funeral Services will begin Friday, August 9, at 10:30 am at First Presbyterian Church, 2701 Rochester Avenue in Iowa City. Friends may also call an hour prior at church on Friday. Burial will be Friday at 4:30 pm in the Maple Grove Cemetery in Audubon, Iowa.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that those who wish to honor the memory of Robert Yager select and support their own favorite cause and vote in November.

To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of Robert E. Yager, please visit our Tribute Store.

Previous Events





4:00 PM 8/8/2019 4:00:00 PM - 7:00 PM 8/8/2019 7:00:00 PM
Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service -- Iowa City

605 Kirkwood Avenue
Iowa City, IA 52240

Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service -- Iowa City
605 Kirkwood Avenue Iowa City 52240 IA
United States





10:30 AM 8/9/2019 10:30:00 AM
First Presbyterian Church

2701 Rochester Avenue
Iowa City, IA 52245

First Presbyterian Church
2701 Rochester Avenue Iowa City 52245 IA
United States

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