Dr. William Edgar Iwen, 82, passed away from ALS complications on December 10th, 2021, at the VA Medical Center in St. Cloud, MN. He was born in a blizzard in Algoma, WI, on January 27th, 1939, to Frederick and Adelia (Born) Iwen, and grew up on their small farm in the Kewaunee River Valley. He would later attribute his interest in environmental advocacy to his childhood living and working on a farm that operated in harmony with the land. His first eight years of school took place in a one-room country schoolhouse in that same valley.
He graduated from Kewaunee High School in 1957 and enlisted in the United States Air Force, where, due to an aptitude for chemistry, he was assigned to be a technician in the Dental Corps and served four years in that capacity at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. When his service ended in 1961, he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, which he was able to pay for with money he’d saved while serving in the military.
In Madison, he met Andrea Beryl Deters, whom he would marry on January 30th, 1965. That same year, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy. He practiced pharmacy for five years in Kenosha and Racine, WI, but found that the profession did not suit him, so, with the encouragement of his wife and support from the recently passed Vietnam Era G.I. Bill, he went back to school, this time at the Marquette University School of Dentistry, a profession for which he had gained a deep appreciation in the Air Force.
When he graduated, in 1974, he served for a few years in the National Health Service Corps, in La Farge, WI, before moving to Luxemburg, WI, where he purchased the King Soccer Motel and converted part of it into a dental practice and the rest into a home for his family. William thoroughly enjoyed his years practicing dentistry in Luxemburg, particularly working closely with his patients and colleagues.
Upon retirement, at the age of 60, he sold his practice to his oldest son, and, inspired by his childhood growing up on an environmentally friendly farm, William dedicated the rest of his life to advocacy for both environmental protection and small family farming. He had become convinced that the misuse of chemistry, by agrochemical corporations, and the industrial-scale application of those chemicals threaten to “unweave the web of life.”
He founded and served as president of the Tri-Lakes Association, which was dedicated to the rehabilitation and preservation of Krohns and East and West Alaska Lakes. He was also an active member of Kewaunee Cares, which advocates for responsible environmental stewardship in agriculture. The annual Bill Iwen Environmental Justice Award has since been named in his honor.
He is survived by this wife, Andrea, of 56 years, their five children, Lisa (Kelly) De Bauche, Bryan (Carmen) Ayala-Iwen, Jayson (Jovana) Bouche-Iwen, Mark (Tsveta) Sendova-Iwen and Eric Iwen (Dean Miller), six grandchildren, Elise, Harold, Maria, Marlow, Zenon and Evgenia and one great granddaughter, Harmonie.
William was preceded in death by his parents and his granddaughters Jasmine and Kelbryn De Bauche.
William’s family would like to thank the staff at the St. Cloud VA Medical Center for the tireless care and camaraderie they provided him in his final years of life, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when in-person visits were limited.
In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, the family would like people to plant a tree, make a donation or join an environmental group in memory of William. The family picked out a casket that will plant 100 trees in William's memory.
The family will be having a private service at the SCHINDERLE FUNERAL HOME, Algoma. Masks will be required for the private service.
A Celebration of his life will be held for the public in spring.
Express your sympathy, memories and pictures on William's tribute page at www.schinderlefuneralhome.com
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