Obituary and Condolences

Thomas H. Walz

September 21, 1933 February 10, 2018
Thomas H. Walz
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Obituary for Thomas H. Walz

Thomas Walz, 84, Professor Emeritus at The University of Iowa¬, author, volunteer and noted wood worker, died after a battle with cancer on February, 10, 2018.

Tom was born in Aitkin, Minnesota in 1933, the eldest of ten children born to Ione and Harold Walz.
He received a BA degree from St. John’s University of Collegeville, Minnesota, a Master’s in Social Work from St. Louis University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, where he was hired as a professor. Following his tenure at the University of Minnesota, he served as the Director of the University of Iowa School of Social Work for five years and then continued as a full professor until his retirement from teaching.

He met his wife Lisa when he served a member of the Armed Forces in Occupied Germany during the Korean War era. His commitment to a life of service began with his tenure as the first Peace Corps Director in Honduras from 1962-1964.

Following his retirement from teaching in 2001, Tom began a new career as the founder and director of two local non-profit organizations: the Extend a Dream Foundation and the Disability Enterprise Foundation. He held the latter position at the time of his passing. Both foundations were dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged members of the greater Iowa City area.

Tom had a passion for the game of basketball, which he played full-court until well into his 70’s. Other passions included woodworking and creative writing – he compiled books for short stories, essays, op-ed pieces, poetry and biographies, including authorship of The Unlikely Celebrity, a biography of a mentally handicapped Iowa City resident named Bill Sackter, who managed the coffee shop at the School of Social Work. A movie made about Bill won an Emmy Award. In 2002, Tom was named the Iowa Volunteer of the Year and he is also a member of the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame.

Tom is survived by his wife of 60 years, Lisa, and their six children, Mark, Jennifer, Chuck, Ruth, Paul, and Paco, along with his siblings, Robert, Richard, Margie, Mary, Joe and Carol Walz and many grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, and siblings Harold Jr., John and Petra.

He requested that there be no funeral following his death. He willed his body for medical research. In lieu of flowers, friends are encouraged to make a donation to the Iowa Disability Creative Works Gallery c/o Disability Enterprise Foundation Special Fund at Hill’s Bank and Trust Co..

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Iowa Disability Creative Works Gallery

1 Westgate Circle
Iowa City, IA 52246

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