William Joseph Broz

Bill Broz diedon Saturday, May 9th, at his home, north of Batavia. A short memorial service will be held there on Friday May 29th at 3 p.m. Bill’s family would appreciate any memorial donations to be given to the donor’s local library.


William Joseph Broz was born in 1949 to William Jerome Brozand Wilma Genevieve Smeltzer. He graduated in 1968 from Dowling High School in Des Moines, Iowa.

Bill Broz was best known as a teacher and touched the lives of thousands of high school and college students in Iowa, as well as many more students in Illinois and Texas. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 1972, and began his teaching career at Prairie High School before a 25-year tenure at Fairfield High School as a literature and writing teacher. Bill loved encouraging his students to write and share their work.

In 1996 Bill earned his Ph.D. in English education from the University of Iowa and taught as a college professor at Western Illinois University, then the University of Northern Iowa, and finally the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley until his death in 2015.

One of Bills recently published academic articleswas entitled “Not Reading: the 800 Pound Mockingbird in The Classroom.”He wrote passionately about student engagement, and received hundreds of responses from educators about this article, as well as invitations to speak about his methods.

Bill and his family were well established in rural Batavia. After marrying his wife Virginia, Bill constructed a log house with help from his friends. Bill and Virginia raised two sons, Nick https://www.viagrageneriquefr24.com/viagra-pfizer/ and Frank, in an enriching landscape including a pond for fishing, swimming, and ice skating, as well as a yearly vegetable garden, many acres of timber, and an impressive library of books.

Bill and Virginia formed an amazing partnership during their marriage. They complimented and complemented each other over many decades of family, academic, and homestead accomplishments.

Bill’s family deeply feels the loss of his spirit and his endless imagination for projects. Bill is survived by his wife Virginia, sons Nick and Frank, daughter-in-law Kimberly, and grandson Henry. He is also survived by his brothers, John and Mike, whose friendship he treasured.

He loved corresponding with friends and colleagues, and he loved giving advice. Bill was a connoisseur of both cookies and pie. Bill followed the Iowa Hawkeyes closely, and his favorite musician was Bob Dylan, by far. Bill believed that there was a perfect book for every person, and he believed he could be the one to find it for them. For comfort, insight, and inspiration, Bill read Mark Twain. We will all sufferfrom his absence, and benefit from his life in large and small ways.

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Please share any memories of Bill or thoughts you would like to express.

123 thoughts on “William Joseph Broz

  1. Bill was a tremendous colleague and friend. I will always remember his good cheer, his Midwestern values that included hard work, friendliness, and honesty. We shared many good times together, both on and off the UTPA campus. He worked hard on behalf of our students, built an excellent program in English Education, and adapted himself and his pedagogy to the RGV.

    We all miss him!

    Un abrazo,

    Steven Schneider

  2. I was your student as you went through your physical transformation at the hands of your illness. However, your cheerfulness never left you as you conducted class, leading to shock and disbelief when I read about your death. Thanks to the book you recommended, I was able to pass my English content exam, and today I earned a teaching position at my old high school. Just like you, I plan to teach English for the rest of my life. In addition, a week before your death I got into the MFA program you gave me a letter of recommendation for. I promised myself I would not contact you until I had the means to pay for my masters studies, which barely occurred today. Thank you professor.

  3. I never had Dr. Broz for a class, I do remember seeing him around campus. He was always cheerful and had a smile on his face. My deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. His impact on our campus (UTPA) and greater community lives on.

  4. I just to say I am very sorry about your lost! Mr. Broz was a great inspiration as a proffesor at UTPA. He made us fall in love with books and to do things the right way. As one of his students here in Texas I believe he was a blessing to me and many. I hope the Lord can be with you through this painful moments. God bless you all!

  5. Dear Mrs. Broz,
    My heart is with you and your family. I only had glimpses of your husband through the stories you lovingly shared about him in your classes. It is rare to find two partners so evenly yoked- who compliment and build on each other- making the other excel- pushing when given hurdles- carrying when the other tired… I know he will still shine in everything that you do. I am so sorry for your loss. I want you and your beautiful family to know that the world is thankful for all of the contributions and sacrifices made throughout your careers. I believe I can speak for all of the students who were lucky enough to encounter your dynamic duo- Thank you! It is now our time to give back to you. You built a strong foundation together- trust that it will hold you in your hard times and that we are all here supporting you in this difficult journey. You incite change in your students and you personally taught me how to harness my struggles in my writing. I hope you can heal and overcome. You amaze me. It is selfish for me, and possibly tactless, to remind you that you move people and that you are so needed in this world. I don’t know how you will learn to move again yourself, but I offer my back as a platform to stand on, I offer my voice as a reminder that the world waits for you…embraces you…loves you.

  6. I found out that my favorite professor passed away about 2 weeks ago. I remember he would always say, “if you’re passionate about teaching and don’t quit to sell shoes, you will succeed in your career.” This will be my greatest memory of Dr. William Broz my English professor from last semester because the comment made me laugh because I currently work at a shoe store at the mall. Dear Dr. Broz, Not only am I going to stop selling shoes for a better career at some point, but I will take what you taught me to help children learn where the fun in reading and writing is at. Thanks to you, I took upon starting a project to write a book. I will finish it in memory of you. Thank you for seeing the best of me; it was such an honor to be taught by someone who loved and had passion towards their job. You will be missed. My condolences to your family.

    • I noticed I put “2 weeks ago” because I found out Dr. Broz passed away around May 29th and this is the exact same post I put on Facebook.
      Thank you.

  7. Aloha Viginia and family, so many kind words have been said about brother Bill, it warms my heart to know he touch so many people in such a positive way. From the first days of our friendship in college to our last conversations Bill always wanted you to be mindful, of what you did,said , and felt. My heart is truly sorry my good friend is gone and I miss him dearly. His love of life will live on in the many people he has touched. My only wish is that we would have had more time together, my deepest sympathy, aloha Dalyn

  8. Dear Virginia,
    My heart goes out to you and your sons. Bill was so many things to so many people, and he made a positive impact everywhere he went. Bill was kind, gentle, highly intelligent, passionate about books, had a twinkle in his eye and played a mean game of ping pong. He is sorely missed.

  9. My condolences out to the Broz family. I am so saddened to hear this news. I had Dr. Broz in the Spring of 2013 for my Teaching Secondary Adolescent Literature class. I learned so much, and have always credited Dr. Broz for my success as a high school English teacher. I remember emailing him during my first year of teaching, asking for advice. He was a great man, a great teacher, and inspired so many. His legacy will live on through his family and students.

  10. My sincere condolences, Bill will be missed. I attended Prairie High School and this amazing teacher allowed me to call him Bill or Broz. He shared Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet beside West Side Story. He taught me I could choose to dream. Thank you Bill, I think of you often and am blessed.

  11. First I would like to say to the Broz family my condolences to you, I’m sorry for you loss. Secondly, I was extremely saddened to hear this news, it broke my heart completely. I had Dr. Broz for my Children and Adolescent Literature in the fall semester of 2013. He made it easy for us to communicate, and feel comfortable with him. I still have the books that he assigned us to read, and still discuss to friends about these books. My teaching philosophy is adapted from the way he taught us in the classroom. He inspired me to become an English teacher, and hope to teach just as good as he taught us. I remember him being so passionate about the subjects, and talking about his son with great pride showing us pictures of him. He let me borrow a book in spanish so my mother could read it, and I would like to return that book to your family. If you could reply with an address I’ll return it. His class was so inspiring, and fun that I would go to friends and discuss the readings with them too, and they even picked up the books we read in class. He was a great man, and will be greatly missed!

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