Robert William Dyas passed away on November 10, 2014 at Northcrest Health Care Center in
Ames, Iowa. A Celebration of Life memorial service will be held on December 6th, at 11:00 a.m.
at Grandon Funeral Home. A luncheon will follow the service. Burial will be in the Iowa State
Robert W. Dyas was born on May 4, 1919 in Maquoketa, Iowa, the son of Roy W. and Mary E.
(Weirick) Dyas. In 1935 he graduated from high school in Andrew, Iowa. Robert entered the
U.S. Army on December 5, 1940 and was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in July 1942,
serving in the 42nd Infantry Rainbow Division, including combat in France, Germany, and
Austria from 1944 to 1946. He earned the Purple Heart, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and
several combat ribbons. He was separated from service as Major in 1946.
Dyas received B.S. and MLA degrees in Landscape Architecture from Iowa State University
(1946-1953). He taught at Penn State University, 1954-57, and University of California,
Berkley, 1957-58. From 1958-60, he was employed as a landscape architect at Hare & Hare in
Kansas City, MO. Robert W. Dyas was a Professor of Landscape Architecture at Iowa State
University from 1960 until his retirement in 1989 as Distinguished Professor Emeritus. One of
his largest studies while teaching at Iowa State involved a field study (1970-71) of the
Midwest savanna, a region stretching from Canada to Texas.
Dyas received numerous awards including the Outstanding Teacher Award (1969) from Iowa
State University, the L. C. Chadwick Award (1978) from the American Association of
Nurserymen, the Horticulture Merit Award (1979) from the Iowa State Horticultural Society,
the Faculty Citation (1986) from the Iowa State University Alumni Association, and the Silver
Medal (1987) from Tau Sigma Delta for distinction in design education.
In 1956, he married Lorraine E. Roden in Paris, Texas. The couple moved to Ames in 1960
where he joined the faculty at Iowa State University. Robert Dyas was a member of the First
Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts, and its Ames branch church where he
also served as a reader and board member.
Robert W. Dyas is survived by his brothers, John W. of Maquoketa, Richard H. and his wife Ann
of Eagle Grove, sister-in-law Rosella (Thomas) of Maquoketa, nephews, Willard, Richard,
James and John R., nieces Susan (Jeb) Johenning and Sandra Dyas and many more family
members not named here. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Lorraine, his
brother Thomas, his nephew Floyd and sister-in-law Doris Dyas.
Memorial contributions may be made to:
Robert W. Dyas Internship, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation; 505 Fifth Ave Suite 444, Des
Moines, IA 50309
Robert W. Dyas Scholarship, College of Design, Iowa State University Foundation, 2505
University Blvd, Ames, IA 50010
Anderson-Dyas Prairie, Research Farms, Iowa State University Foundation, 2505 University
Foundation, Ames, IA 50010
All of us who studied plant materials under Professor Dyas's instruction have in common the knowledge of specific trees' locations on the Iowa State campus. We also have in common his advice that an action should not be taken unless it is right for everyone. Professor Dyas made indelible marks on all our lives; and we seek to emulate him.
Professor Dyas provided invaluable research information regarding his early Iowa pioneer family for background to an Iowa history book that I wrote. He also offered priceless enthusiasm when it appeared in print.
He stays in memory as a gentleman possessed of warmth and sincere appreciation of others efforts that mark a true teacher. Even though our meetings were brief and long ago, he comes often and warmly to mind as example and in appreciation. I am so pleased to be among the many people whose lives were enriched by having known him.
It is a sad day as I read of Mr.Dyas' passing. Of all my professors and teachers throughout my life and can honestly say he was truly a favorite and a man who had a profound effect on my life though his teachings.
Godspeed, Mr. Dyas! you will be missed.
I loved having a professor like Bob Dyas when I was a student at Iowa State. He taught me "plant materials" and to this day, I still remember words/facts he told us about the trees on campus. He spoke of these trees as though they were good friends of his. What a fabulous man and a credit to his family and his university. Reading in the obituary about his military service and awards surprised me. I did not know that about him. But then, it all makes sense - he was dedicated and faithful to whatever he did. God bless the memory of Bob Dyas!
When I saw him in August, he was as always, and the things he spoke of were all things he was thankful for. Thankfulness... that's a beautiful quality. His students would likely describe Mr Dyas as learned, steady, generous, considerate, patient, and cheerful. I suspect the soldiers under his charge in Europe would say the same.
Mr Dyas was something rare: a faithful and thankful shepherd. He will be missed.
Bob Dyas was a special friend and professor to so many ISU students. His caring manner and infinite knowledge of plant material will always be remembered. His yearly Christmas cards displaying his beautiful sketches of the Iowa landscape still decorate my office during the Holiday season. Rest in peace.
I met Mr. Dyas in the late 1990s when during his retirement he repeatedly volunteered his time to speak to my class at Iowa State. His poise, his humility and his sense of respect for the enterprise of designing and making landscapes presented an example that I still aspire to.
Professor Dyas took the time to make me a landscape architect and better person. Many have been blessed.
Of all the instructors I had during my years at ISU, Bob Dyas was the most influential and inspirational. I will always remember him fondly.
Bob Dyas was a strong influence during my college career. He was an excellent professor and became a personal friend as well. I value the collection of hand-sketched Christmas cards & personal notes as a great memory of a wonderful man...truly a class act.
Mr. Dyas was one of the most kind and inspirational teachers I have ever had the pleasure of having. His knowledge was so vast and his talent of really getting a student to think about their decisions was most beneficial. Going on his field trips was another fabulous side of the man - unstoppable!! He is in my heart and I count myself extremely fortunate.
Bob Dyas was a special friend to all who knew him. Bob was greatly admired for his dedication and commitment to excellence in all that he did as a Landscape Architect, teacher, artist and advocate for the beauty of our natural world. As a genuinely fine person, Bob was unsurpassed. He will be long remembered by his friends and fellow professionals.
So few landscape architectural professors have shaped so many students, academicians, and practitioners with so many lasting foundations, understandings of our place, and visions for the future as has Robert Dyas. Where among us now is the Robert Dyas for the next 100 years?
We always looked forward to visits with Mr. Dyas when he came to our chocolate shop. He was such a kind gentleman and always thinking of others with his gifts. He was always a bright spot in our day. Our condolences to his loved ones.
Professor Dyas was a great teacher whose passion for plant material and sharing that with his students was demonstrated each and every day in class.
Bob and Lu were wonderful family friends for 60 years. We always enjoyed their visits and Bob's stories. His memory was unbelievable! We will miss you.
Rest in peace. All of the Kluber family.
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