William Ralph (Bill) Rees was the son of Ralph and Ellen (Lottie) Barnett Rees. Bill was born on July 19, 1932 in Garden Grove, Iowa. He passed away Thursday, January 28, 2010, at his home in Mount Ayr, Iowa.
Bill grew up in rural Ringgold county and graduated from Mount Ayr high school in 1950. He served in the U. S. Army during the Korean War from October of 1952 through October 1954. He earned an associate’s degree from Mount Saint Clare College in Clinton, Iowa in 1982. Most of Bill’s working career was spent as a plant operations and chemical engineering specialist at the Chemplex plant in Clinton, Iowa.
Bill married Virginia Ann Blunck on December 14, 1956 in Des Moines, Iowa. Bill and Virginia had four children, Debra Ann, William Jeffery, Warren Jay and James Allen. Bill was an avid collector and kept every collection carefully stored and catalogued. He was also a master craftsman who got great satisfaction working in his shop. His specialty was wooden furniture that he and Virginia would finish together.
After his retirement from Chemplex, Bill and Virginia began traveling all over the world. They spent one year in Malaysia as Bill supervised a plant startup in that country. Later he would travel to Syria to do the same there. Throughout their married life the pair was able to tour many countries in Europe and greatly enjoyed a trip to China. Later Bill and Virginia would spend winters in Alabama.
Bill was loving and proud of his family. He enjoyed his friends whether at the coffee group or at the auction house. He was a member of the Lutheran church in Mount Ayr and also a Mason.
Preceding him in death are his parents; father-in-law, Roy Blunck; brothers-in-law, Ike McGehee and Robert Blunck, and sisters-in-law, Audrey Blunck and Joann Blunck.
Bill is survived by his wife, Virginia of Mount Ayr, Iowa; children, Debra and husband Mark Eickert of Clinton, Iowa, Jeff Rees of Camanche, Jay and wife Andrea of Kansas City and Jim and wife Jackie of Oundle, England; grandchildren, Elizabeth Rees, John Eickert, Nicole, Spencer, Gabrielle, Morgen, Alexander and Kathryn Rees; one great-grandson, Connor; two sisters, Mari McGehee of Mount Ayr, Iowa and Jo and husband Bob Loudon of Afton, Iowa; mother-in-law, Helen Blunck of Mount Ayr, Iowa; brothers-in-law, William Blunck and wife Kathi of Mount Ayr, Iowa and Donald Blunck and wife Mary Kathryn of Indianola, Iowa; sisters-in-law, Jean Davenport and husband Duane of Aurora, Colorado, Joann Trullinger of Muscatine, Iowa, Linda and husband Larry Sickels of Mount Ayr, Iowa, Nancy and husband David Stephens of Indianola, Iowa and Judy and husband Donald Snedeker of Norwalk, Iowa; many nieces and nephews, and a host of friends.
A memorial fund has also been established for the Mount Ayr Public Library in Bill’s name.
Services were held at Watson-Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr on Monday, February 1, 2010, with Rev. Eydie Stephens officiating. Musicians were Nancy Sackett and Judy Cunning.
Casket bearers included Tim Loudon, Mike McGehee, Tony Sickels, Andy Sickels, Aaron Sickels, Bill Blunck and Eric Snedeker.
Honorary pallbearers were Kenneth Creveling, LBanks Wilson, Leroy Blessman, Clyde Summers, Jim Overholtzer and Duane Glick.
Military rites were conducted by Ringgold Post #172 American Legion and Iowa Army National Guard Honor Squad.
Bill was laid at rest in the Benton cemetery, Benton, Iowa.