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.

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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. I had taken his last course in secondary literature. Despite it being online, Dr. Broz made sure he and each one of us were able to interact with another through papers and chat rooms. He’s really given me so many ideas about teaching and has added fuel to the fire of my passion. He was always encouraging and to know that he still graded us the last week of his life when he had every right to rest—that humbles me and something I will remember for the rest of my life. UTPA lost someone valuable.

  2. “When a great man dies, for years the light he leaves behind him, lies on the paths of men.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said this. Bill Broz was as great of a man as they come, he truly inspired thousands of students, and he will never be forgotten. I only had the luxury to have him as my professor for one semester, but I will never forget what he has taught me. It is because of him that my children will know what a borderland book is. Bill Broz has inspired countless generations of teachers and through them he will continue to inspire countless more. Bill you will be missed by all Thank You for being the kind person you were, your students are blessed to have known you.

  3. Today, I can call myself a “teacher” because of Dr. Broz and for that I am forever grateful. Words can’t describe how blessed I was to have him as my professor during my undergraduate studies at UT-Pan American. I didn’t keep a single piece of paper from my other courses ,but I have a divider folder near my desk with all the papers he went over and shared with his classes. (Educational articles, essays, lessons, activities, book reviews, etc.) I always know I can go to my “Broz folder” when I need some guidance in my teaching. Dr. Broz took it upon himself to make mold aspiring individuals into competent, qualified educators. Thank you for bringing such passion for education to the Rio Grande Valley. God bless your family.
    Love, Melissa.

  4. I was deeply saddened when I heard the news of Dr. Broz. I send my condolences on behalf of my family and friends. Dr. Broz was one of the best professors I have ever had the pleasure to learn from. His love for what he did was unmatched and his passion for teaching and molding students was even more so. I am filled with joy to have been to be apart of his class and his vision. I look to implement his teachings into my own and take his ideas into the schools that God willing I become a part of. I pray for your family and all of those who knew him well. May the grace of God bring you a peace and strength. Thank you Broz family for all that you do and have done. Dr. Broz will be deeply missed. You are in our prayers always.

  5. Mrs. Broz and family,

    My deepest condolences in this time of loss. Dr. Broz was my professor my sophomore year of college at UTPA for Children’s and Adolescent Lit. Up until that point I hadn’t taken college seriously and his class, and his passion for teaching and for literature and of course Iowa, (which he talked about often and showed us pictures of) were instrumental in me turning my academic career around. I used to be on the fence about becoming an English teacher, but after taking his class I was positive that I wanted to be a teacher. I hope to be even just half the teacher he was. He was so kind and so passionate about his subjects and his students. He knew us all by name and always helped us understand the assignments if we had trouble. He taught us the importance of local literature and its effects on students and their desire to read. He shared with us so much about his life. He was not just any other professor that you only know within the confines of a classroom for a semester. He invited us to stop by and visit with him anytime we needed. Professor Johnson said it best when he said that people in the Rio Grande Valley know what you have lost. It saddened me deeply, and I still can’t believe it, to have learned about his passing, this afternoon. Please know that he is missed and adored amongst so very many from all over. People like Dr. Broz are few and far in between.

  6. I was so sad to hear about this; I had no idea. I was his student for Teaching Secondary School Literature. I remember reading “Bless Me, Ultima” for his class and working on the projects he assigned us to do. The last thing he said to me was, basically, “Now go forth and teach young people.” Mrs. Broz, if there are any books I can donate to a library, let me know.

  7. Dr. Broz was an amazi g professor and person. I had him for a class last fall, and he was always so full of energy and spirit. I’m glad I had the honor of taking one of his classes. He surely will be missed. I want to give my condolences to the family, and I hope that his son Nick will read this specifically. I share a passion for the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu like Nick, and I would like to meet the person that I have heard so much about. Dr. Broz spoke highly of his entire family, but as we share a similar passion, I would like to meet Nick one day. Thank you Broz family for sharing a great man witha great vision and a great mind with all of his students and the world. He truly was an artist and inspiration to all those who have had the pleasure of meeting him.

  8. My sincere condolences to his family he always talked about his family in class he was very proud of his boys. I was in his class a year ago. He was a caring inspirational teacher. He went above and beyond for his student. He ALWAYS had a smile on his face. Thank you Dr. Broz for everything you did for your students you will be missed.

  9. When I read the news, it hurt me very much. Even though I only took one of his classes, he made a huge impact in my life as a future educator. Dr. Broz was an excellent professor. I admire his passion for teaching, his homeland Iowa, his family, and his wife. I remember the first time I heard from him, he sent our class an email with a brief description about himself and several pictures. He was always very excited to show us new books and his projects. I enjoyed the book reviews he offered at the beginning of the class. Thanks to him I started reading again and asked myself why I ever stopped. He also encouraged us to use books our students could relate to in our class and to involve our students in their learning. I will forever be thankful for persons like him. May he rest in peace and my condolences to his family. He will truly be missed.

  10. I am incredibly sorry for your loss. I had Dr.Broz for Teaching in Secondary School Literature last Fall, and it was such a wonderful class. Dr. Broz and I would joke because I am “BB” just like him. He was a fantastic professor who was enthusiastic and so very positive every single class day. I admired him greatly. I admired his positivity, his strategies, and how encouraging he was with every single one of us. I am so thankful for the opportunity to meet someone like him, and to have taken his class. As, I said in his class evaluation, “Thank you, Dr. Broz for a great semester. You are just the kind of teacher I hope to be one day.” My sincerest condolences.

  11. My condolences to his family. He was an amazing professor! He really took pride into work, and he will be dearly missed.

  12. My condolences to Dr Broz family! He was an amzing, professor–very helpful. He will be dearly missed! One of my best professors in UTPA!!

    • I was lucky to see Bill at work in the classroom at UTPA, and I can tell you he was truly a master teacher. He knew every student’s name, got them all involved, and the material was interesting and challenging. I was so impressed with his ability to come down here to the Valley and immediately pick up on the regional literature and how teaching it to the students opened up a new world to them. Bill was always a positive force in the department, and I was thankful for his support of my teaching and research. You couldn’t ask for a better colleague, and looking over this memorial, it looks like he was a matchless man in general. To his children and family, please know that those of us who knew Bill down here in the Valley are well aware of what you have lost. But I have a feeling his influence will stay around down here for a long time to come.

  13. Dr. Broz is one of the professors I will always remember. He influenced me for the love of books especially children’s books. I’ll be a teacher soon and there’s so much I saved from his class that I will be using in my future classes. I still remember much that he taught me years ago. I loved going to his class and I learned a lot from him. He had so much passion for what he did and it showed everyday in the classroom. He influenced many young lives and I’m glad our lives crossed paths. God bless the Broz family, my condolences.

  14. My heart goes out to the Broz family during this difficult time. Dr. Broz will be greatly missed.

  15. …Dr. Broz was amazing. My heart aches to hear of this news…It was a privilege to have him as my professor. I learned so much from him and I will forever carry what he taught me into my future classroom. He helped me be a better teacher. My deepest condolences to the family.

  16. I’m am so sorry for your loss. Dr. Broz was my professor and mentor at UTPA for many years. I invited him into my own classroom to talk to my students about having a passion for reading. The world has lost someone special but his spirit will continue to live forever in the hearts of all those he met. God bless!

  17. Dr. Broz was my professor for two classes that helped guide my way to my teaching career. The way he spoke and taught in the classroom had a great influence on my teaching style today. He was a man that loved to teach and gave me great advice when I needed it. I can absolutely say that he helped me confirm my want to teach. I don’t think that I would be as motivated to teach if I didn’t take his classes. Yes, he was that awesome! Thank you Dr.Broz… You truly made a mark on many lives!

  18. My deepest condolences to the Broz family. I had the privilege of being a student of Dr. Broz at UTPA. He was such an influential professor in his English course future educators. The skills I acquired in his class have influenced and inspired my teaching methods I use with my own students. It is so sad to have lost such a great educator! His presence will definitely be missed in teaching world.

  19. So sorry to hear about this. My deepest condolences to your family. He was a wonderful professor and you felt he deeply cared about life and the art of teaching. He will be greatly missed at UTPA/UTRGV.

  20. Dr. Broz was my professor at UTPA. He’s a wonderful person and I had a great relationship with him. I took three of his classes and learned so much. He was a very passionate individual who cared very much about his students and his wife. Rest in Peace, Dr. Broz. Education has lost a great professor.

  21. Dear Virginia and Family,

    So saddened to hear about your loss. Bill shared his love of knowledge with so many, he will be missed. Our best to all of you as you move forward.

  22. Dear Virginia and family,

    Our condolences…
    That wasn’t good news that Nele Anseeuw send us…
    The day when Bill died we have spoken about your visit to Belgium, the Westfront. We were cleaning a box whit scarfs and other things and then we fond the cap that Bill gave as souvenir. So we talked about you, “the Americans”… strange… it was that saterday…
    We hope you find support the coming days, weeks, months, years…
    (I hope you understand everything because it is years ago that I wrote in English…)
    We wish you and your family all the best.

  23. Sorry to hear about Bill’s passing. He had a great sense of humor and an infectious smile. I went to school with Bill at Holy Trinity parochial school, graduated from Dowling in 1968 and the University of Iowa in 1972. I was upset when Bill’s family moved to Des Moines because until then I was the oldest one in my class (Jan 1950), because he was older (Nov 1949.)
    I remember when Bill, Mike and I camped out overnite at Beaverdale Park because we were learning the constellations. We had to convince our folks it was OK to stay out all nite.

    My condolences to the family.

  24. WOW! I just received an email from a friend in Bill’s “original home town” of Dysart, IA telling me of Bill’s death. What a shock! I just had the opportunity to visit with him last fall at an Iowa football game. Bill attended Dysart Consolidated Schools through 6th grade before his family moved to Des Moines. Bill…or “Billy” as he was known by all of his classmates and teachers…and I were great friends. In 6th grade we shared the “responsibility” of making our teacher, Mrs. Vandewall, question why she ever got into teaching. Thus….I was quite surprised when I found out a few years later that Bill went into teaching. We reconnected about 10 years ago…Bill was a Prof. at UNI and we were living in Waverly. It was great to see him again and catch up on his fascinating life. Our sympathies to Virginia, Nick, Frank, John and Mike. He will be missed!

  25. Wow. I just read about Bill’s passing. So many wonderful memories of class with him as a teacher. One of my favorites that I think of fondly, was before class even started…somehow we were talking about people who have one name nicknames and we came up for one for Bill…Xero…I called him that the rest of the time he was my teacher and every time I ran into him at WIU. But he certainly was not a zero! He taught so many of us so much. He made me proud of my writings and worked hard with me on so many projects. I will never forget him!

  26. A favorite person I met at UNI, he was a professor and I a poor student.
    I still remember a story he told about an art class he had where he panicked and didn’t have a final project so he had his friends carry in himself on top of a door, and he was the project. I believe he got an A as memory serves.
    I still make little notes while reading a book, like Professor Broz insisted. A good man gone far too soon.

  27. My deepest condolences to you for your loss Mrs Broz, Nick and Frank. Mr Broz was much more than a teacher for me, and really one of the very few connections with Fairfield that I kept after leaving for university, something that he played no small role in. His graciousness and generosity shall never be forgotten.
    I love you Mr. Broz and send my best to you during your transition. I’m glad to have been one of the many touched by your twinkle-eyed genius and hopefully one of the few to eat the tomatoes from your garden.

  28. Dear Virginia –
    My heart was deeply saddened last evening when I heard the unbelievable news of your Bill’s passing. As I’ve read through the dozens of messages, it’s again become crystal clear that he deeply impacted people everywhere he walked. When I think of Bill, I think of his gentle spirit, his curiosity, his wonderful laughter, and his never-ending love for literature and family. Please know that I’m holding you all in my prayers. In the heavens and in our hearts, the ones we love will live forever. Take care my dear friend, take care.

  29. Dear Virginia and family, I’m incredibly sorry to hear about your incredible loss – all of our loss – with Bill’s passing. He was devoted to his students – to all students, the idea of students – and to literature. I was so heartened to have him nearby when he was at UT Pan Am, and we often corresponded about students and our common work in Texas. I’m grateful to have known him, even as I feel the loss of him. I’ll be thinking of all of you in the coming months. Randy

  30. I had Bill for tenth grade English – his last year teaching high school – but he never really stopped being my teacher. He dropped off books for me during my senior year when he heard I was down in the dumps (Reviving Ophelia and French Lessons), and after I graduated from college and had a classroom of my own for the first time, he reappeared, emailing me advice about teaching grammar, reading drafts, and choosing texts. As I barely had a boss at that school and had no idea what I was doing, he came at a much needed time. (And I still follow his advice about those things!) He stayed in touch while I was in grad school and helped me when I returned to Iowa to adjunct at Kirkwood, fostering introductions with faculty there, commiserating about job searches, sending congratulations when I got hired full-time. I always appreciated knowing that he was rooting for me, and reading all of these comments, I’m even more amazed at his generosity and support – he was rooting for so many of us! I feel very, very lucky to have had him as a champion.

    On a lighter note, one of my favorite memories from high school was his class the day he gave Frank a detention. Frank made some inappropriate comment about Guinevere and Lancelot, then, “Dammit, Frank – that’s an hour!” Bill was exasperated, but there was some delight in that interaction, too.

  31. Virginia and family: Please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss of Bill. Most of my memories are from Iowa and the Beta house. Boy did we have some good times. I felt very fortunate that we were able to get together at a few Iowa games these last few years. Bill was a “good” man. I don’t think I can describe it any better than that. Hammy.

  32. Tremendous guy. He used to come into my office at the university all the time and turn me on to new writers. A dream colleague.

  33. There are a handful of teachers most of us remember well. For me, one of those was Mr. Broz. I had him for two years before he left Prairie and moved on. He was my homeroom teacher for two years and I took two creative writing classes with him. He was an inspiration but I didn’t realize how much of an impact he had on me until I was no longer a “know it all high school student”. I’m sure I am one of many students he impacted in his career. A teacher like him does not just influence one or two students, he influences hundreds or perhaps thousands.

    One thing that brings a smile to my face that I remember….. he sure liked Bob Dylan….   Rest in Peace Mr Broz.

  34. So sorry for your loss…I had Mr. Broz for poetry class @ Prairie in the mid 1970’S…And he would laugh at the poems I wrote about the dance hall in Walford, Iowa that was next to his Aunt & Uncle John And Grace Broz…He came and visited me many times while I was in the hospital in the summer of 1973…”I have thought of him many times over the years…He taught me ” Who kept his guitar in a gunny sack’ & about Big Sur….He is / was my favorite teacher ever…Rest in Peace Mr. Broz….

  35. Virginia and young men. I was so saddened to hear of the news of Bill’s passing and can only imagine the sense of great loss you all must be feeling. I was a college roommate of Bill’s and a companion in wasting time together during our college summers as we both lived in Des Moines. We drifted apart after college as I moved to the west coast but am glad we reconnected a couple of years ago. I’m glad we spent some time on the Batavia homestead that I’ve heard so much about.

    As I read through these many comments, the love for Bill that comes through is palpable, especially from his students. I recall the passion Bill had for teaching, for being driven to be a good teacher in his student teaching and for his compassion for trying to reach and connect with each student uniquely. He would talk of using comic books and rock and roll lyrics and yes, of course, Bob Dylan songs or anything that would touch a student to engage in learning English. I can see that this passion not only never stopped but grew profoundly richer. His heart was large, filled with compassion for his fellow human beings, for social justice and for his love of family and friends. May his God enjoy him as much as we all did! Peace my friend.

  36. I remember the Broz family and both Bill and Mike when they lived on 39th Place, south of Shawnee (we lived just North of Shawnee (Des Moines, IA) in the 60’s.

    Sorry to learn of his passing. I am sure he will be greatly missed. Best wishes to his family; very sorry for your loss.

  37. How very sad to read Bill’s obituary in the paper today. I remember Bill from the Iowa Writing Project not so many years ago. His wit and generous spirit, his passion for language and literature and writing were an inspiration for all of us; he had the charm of bringing out the best in fellow teachers and students. I always looked forward to being with him, corresponding with him, and hearing what was on his mind. The world is a better place for having had Bill in it.

  38. I knew Bill at Dowling and at Iowa. I lost track of him after college and am saddened to see his obit in today’s paper. But, I am happy to see how many people he touched. He always was a gentleman and a scholar.

  39. Bill was married to my cousin. I had met him several times thru the years. I did not know him as an educator but as a devoted family person. I could tell he, Virginia and the family had something special. It was real and it lasted into the next generation. That type of impact on the lives of people is no easy road. It is something most people strive for but not many reach. Bill and Virginia did that as a couple. We as a community are better off because of their relationship.

    Go in peace my friend!

  40. The measure of a man is counted by what he gives to others. Bill gave all of himself to his students,his friends and most of all, to his friends. I was his friend and feel grateful for the time we spent together.
    I miss him.

  41. Bill Broz was one of the few teachers I had growing up who treated me like a person and not just a student. (Virginia, you were another) He was encouraging, funny and motivated you to want to do more. I still have the book, State Fair, that he gave to me when I graduated from high school. It’s been many years since we spoke but I know if we had seen each other we could have picked up right where we left off. I considered him a mentor and a friend. I’m sad that he’s gone and my heart goes out to his family. You are in my prayers.

  42. There are too many memories to express here, but being a long lost “cousin” to Nick and Frank and having been raised my entire adolescence spending many weekends a year with Bill and Virginia I feel like I can clearly express several with just a couple of simple words… late night cribbage & Trivial Pursuit, ice hockey, zip line, cabin sleep overs, float fishing, king of the tube, chickens, Hickenbottom park, rhubarb, quiche, many many more. Bill told me at a young age that I would go on to be a good engineer someday, most likely recognizing reading and writing were not my strong suits, but it drove me to believe in myself. He wrote a letter of recommendation for me for both my college application and my first job application (even to go to Iowa State and even though I dropped out of engineering)! Bill cared very much about people and wanted to make sure everyone was going to have the best opportunity or fun possible. One of my last memories of Bill was that Troy and I needed a get away so we asked if we could come ice fishing on the pond. After we got there and all set up with poles in the water, here came Bill down the hill with a couple of beers to check on us and see if we needed anything. He had already given us so much just with the peace and quiet of their acreage for the day, but that’s who Bill was – the planner, the helper and the entertainer! We will miss you but never forget you, Bill!

  43. Bill was a wonderful colleague and a good friend and one hell of a ping pong player. He was extremely generous with his support and encouragement and able to make a real difference in the lives around him. Bill always was engaged and spoke about what he was reading with me and listened to what I was doing. He loved his home, family, and friends and the mockingbirds that he fed craisins on his patio.

  44. Virginia, our hearts are heavy with the sad news. Words are so limited in a time like this. Please know that our prayers are with you and your family. I remember Bill as such a friendly guy, happy to share his books. I was thrilled when he handed me his just autographed copy of “The House On Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros, one of my favorite authors. He also gave me numerous books from authors he knew I would like. Bill got me involved in Reading Rock Stars where I got to meet local writers. It was nice to know that he embraced our Hispanic culture and had his students read Hispanic literature because he knew it was a way to engage young readers in this area. It was also amusing to see Bill strolling to the mailbox wearing shorts and a tee-shirt on a cold day in winter while I was bundled up in a coat. Seeing that Iowa Hawkeye flag outside your house meant Bill and Virginia were back in town!
    Ken and I will remember the good meals, wine, books and conversation we shared with you both. We couldn’t have asked for better next-door neighbors.
    It was a privilege to have known Bill and we know his influence lives on through his students. He will be deeply missed.

  45. I remember Bill fondly when I first started at Fairfield Community School District. He did an in service on how to use e mail in the work force. Virginia, you I believe was working at the middle school. You each wrote and responded to each other. It was the state of the art at the time. Bill was on the cutting edge then. He knew students would write the written language on the computer vs.hand write it.
    They do not make people like Bill anymore. He had a passion for life, his students and his family. We are all blessed by having him in our lives. I lift you and your family up during this time of loss. Fondly, Mary M. Hill RN

  46. I knew Bill for only such a short time, but it doesn’t take much time to know quality. He was devoted to his family, to his avocation, and to his students, in that order. Somewhere in that mix was a great love for his home state of Iowa, yet he was sincere in his attempts to “understand” Texas, especially South Texas.

    He loaned me a book not too long ago; what impressed me about the book was that it wasn’t “high-brow” literature; instead, it was a young adult novel which featured South Texas culture and characters. He liked its authenticity and what it taught him about the place where he was teaching.

    That’s what he was: authentic. An Original. I will miss him, and I will always remember him.

    To his family: please accept my deepest sympathies. Bill was such a good man.///amery

  47. I am so sorry to hear that Bill has passed. He was one of the first teachers I got to know when I started my teaching career. His love of the written and spoken word was highly evident when you spoke to him. His passion for his students and their success was obvious. Because of Bill and Virginia’s influence and the Iowa Writing Project — my writing confidence grew. Thank you for that influence. The “writing community” has lost a true friend.

  48. Deeply saddened when I heard that Bill had passed. Bill was one of the best teachers and all around mentors I was lucky enough to have in High School and on occaision when our paths crossed at the University of Iowa. Bill’s zest for literature and writing was contagious. As a young man, he was a great guidepost of what you should aspire to be when you “grow up”. Insightful, dependable, passionate, honest, smart, caring and best of all, he was downright hilarious. He and his wry smile will be missed but not forgotten. Hope the family and friends finds comfort in the amazing life he led and the long list of people he helped shape.

  49. Another great memory I have of Bill is our working together in the English Department at UT Pan American in Edinburg. Our offices faced each other in the familiar corridor in ARHU building, second floor. We would walk back and forth all the time to share stories, get ideas, and solve problems together. (Sometimes we would slide over in a swivel chair to exchange breaking news about a book, author, or topic we both admired!) Bill had faith in me and gave me so much time, mentoring me through the years. Bill Broz forever changed my life. I will always treasure what I learned from him and what his friendship and example taught me.

  50. Virginia, Thank you for sharing your and Bill’s world with us. This is a moving tribute to Bill’s very rich personal life and professional career. Everybody here in our department feels the loss. We will remember Bill with great fondness and respect for the example he provided in so many ways, large and small, and most of all for his amazing grace.
    Allan

  51. I met Bill through Reading Rock Stars when he drove me around The Valley. Inside his car as we drove from school to school, we would talk about books, teaching, and helping kids learn to love reading. And when he taught my novel “Trino’s Choice” I discovered new ways readers interpret my work when he shared student reflections with me. The fact that he actively pursued Latino literature to share with his students shows the diversity he felt was necessary to a successful classroom. The last trip we went shopping at “Gabi’s”. I will miss my friend.

  52. I’m saddened by the loss of Bill Broz, even though it’s been more than 20 years since we last spoke. Bill introduced me to Steinbeck and Hemmingway, and encouraged me to write. It’s because of Bill that I attended the University of Iowa’s English Literature program. It’s Bill’s influence that causes me to question the status quo, and to strive to comprehend, rather than blindly accept. More than 20 years ago, Bill believed in me when I had difficulty believing in myself. Thanks, Mr. Broz, you were one of the good guys.

  53. Bill was a great professor and inspiration to students and teachers across the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. What he taught his college students, who are now teachers, will be passed on to students and those students will carry Bill around the world. Thank you Bill.

  54. Mr. Broz was only one of many professors I had in college, but I remember him fondly. He helped me pull together skills learned in high school which I am using to this day. He helped me not to settle but to push forward. He is missed.

  55. To Bill’s family: When Barbara Price sent me the news that Bill had died, a profound sadness came over me. Bill had been one of my husband’s students, and every so often we would get a phone call asking if “Prof” would be available for a visit. We both enjoyed his visits, and Jix always seemed energized afterwards. He very much admired Bill, and was especially impressed with the books he wrote for the Hispanic children in Texas. He felt that was a splendid demonstration of Bill’s passion for teaching children to read and write. I know that Jix would be deeply grieved and would want me to extend his condolences. Peace be with you all. Jean Lloyd-Jones

  56. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. When I think of great teachers, Mr. Broz is at the very top of my list. He was a great mentor and always inspired me to extract my personal excellence. Although at times, it was frustrating to not be able to sail through his class, I respected him greatly for not accepting mediocrity and not allowing me to settle for mediocrity not only with my writing, but life in general. He set the bar high in his class, believing in his students even if they had no belief in themselves. He truly made a difference in my life and I am grateful to have had him as my teacher.

  57. Virginia,

    So sorry to hear about Bill. I thought I was the biggest Dylan fan, but sounds like Bill was. Please let us know if there is anything we can do.

    George and Kathy

  58. I was fortunate to have taught will Bill at Fairfield High School! He was a very talented man and always had a way of making you laugh! As a new teacher I remember learning from him! He will be missed!

  59. Get this picture…. 1978… First hour American Lit class…bell rings, no teacher. Bunch of sleepy high school kids kind of looking around for a minute or two….Mr. Broz comes striding in wearing a choir robe, forcefully plunks a book on the podium, and proceeds to give us Jonathan Edwards sermon, “Sinners in the hands of an angry God”…..I doubt if there was any other way he could have gotten us to pay attention to a sermon in a high school class….he didn’t just write about engaging students, he did what it took to do it…..

  60. Frank once told me that Bill, being an expert on the subject of the English language, would not bow to corrections others would make on his grammar, citing his expertise and preeminence in the field as implicit validation of everything he said or wrote. I think that is awesome.

  61. I will always remember his infectious smile. It makes me smile even now. I love the Batavia homestead, the log cabin home, the blue pond, the zipline… Coolest dad ever! Loved the days in Advanced comp when he let me hurry up with my work so that I could go help Nick understand calculus. He knew I’d always be better at math and science than language arts. What a special guy with that special smile. Thinking of you Nick, Frank and Mrs. Broz today.

  62. I am sorry to hear that Mr. Broz had passed. I was just telling my wife about him last weekend, while we were talking about our high school days. I didn’t like school and resented being there, but Mr. Broz’s class always seemed like a place I could just breathe. It could have been his hit-or-miss jokes, or his antics; he’d wave his arms, stand on a chair, anything to get through to us. Or his advice. I used some of that a lot. I spent more than a few days after school in his classroom trying to get homework finished, knowing I wouldn’t do it at home, and talking to him (did he ever suggest hitch-hiking across Europe to anyone else?) about life in general. He kept me in school more than once when I was read to give up. “Yes you can.”, he’d say, when I told him I couldn’t do this, or I couldn’t get that done.
    Cowbunga, Bill.

  63. I too have great memories of Mr. Broz. I always had too much time on my hands and had a penchant for adding odd little bits into my writings. Mr Broz never failed to find one. He would circle it, made a funny relevant comment or response and move on.

    He also helped me when I was writing my hardest paper, the one I used to try to get into architecture school. I changed my mind in the end about the profession and path I was going to take. But thanks to Mr. Broz for supporting me in my efforts. I am not a very good writer, but he inspired me try . So even the end I find myself dragging out the pen and paper every now and then.

    All the best wishes for the ones he left behind. But I know we all can say he left us better people for having known him.

  64. I wish I had a chance to thank Mr. Broz for the huge impact he had on my life and continuing career in education. He always believed in us genuinely and I have so many positive memories in his classes at FHS. Creative writing with Mr. Broz and Bob Dylan are highlights and I smile each time I think of the wonderful days spent in his class. God bless and know his impact was so great – I am sorry for your loss.

  65. I send my heartfelt sympathies to your family. Nick, Frank and I were all in several plays and musicals in high school together. I remember seeing Mr. Broz walking down the hallways at school and even though I never had him as a teacher, you could feel this presence about him. He was a talented man that taught a lot of kids to think for themselves. I knew several people that had him as a teacher, and as much as we students like to tear apart our teachers, I never heard a cruel word spoken about Mr. Broz. May God bless you, and may the Lord give you peace and comfort.

    -Rusty Weeks

  66. It wasn’t hard to realize that I had truly missed something by not being a student of Bill’s after reading a few of these condolences, but Mike and I valued his friendship over the years, really enjoyed his visits at the library once in awhile, and we know our girls thought a lot of him, your boys, and you, Virginia. Hope this finds you at peace and taking all the love in.

  67. I was blessed and honored to have had Dr. Broz as a professor. He was beyond in love with what he did. He made a huge difference in my education and I have no doubt he did this for many of us. I use his methods in my classroom and think of him almost every day. He influenced my teaching style and helped me discover the diversity of young adult literature. I treasure every advice he gave me. I treasure all the work he had me do. I treasure his spirit that will continue to live in many of us. We have lost an amazing person, there are few that posses what he did, passion. Passion for what he did and knowledge beyond anything.. My deepest condolences to his wife (the best eight grade teacher he knew) and his family. A life was lost but his legacy will remain in every single heart he touched.

    Memories of you will fill my life, every day I teach, everyday I try to inspire my students, aiming to be the inspiration you are to me.
    -Ilse V. Esparza

  68. I was lucky enough to have both Mr and Mrs Broz as teachers. Bill was a truly gifted teacher that had the ability to see a spark in the darkest of adolescent souls and would do whatever he could to make that spark come alive. I hate to imagine what my high school experience would have been without him. He encouraged me to set a higher standard for myself, and he made me see how powerful educators can be. I will NEVER forget the day I told him that I dropped out of college. The pained look in eyes, head dropped and nodding…. I have never before or since been so disappointed in myself! I wish he was still here so I could show him my Master’s degree, because I have a feeling he really would have still cared.

  69. I am saddened to hear this news. Bill Broz was my favorite high school teacher. He encouraged me in my writing, reading, and getting into college. One of my treasured possessions is a book he gave me for my high school graduation. I’ve told my children about him and how amazing he was. Thoughts and prayers for the family.

  70. I am so very sad to see this news. Bill was an incredible teacher and even more incredible human being. He truly cared about his students and enhancing their educational experience. He will forever be remembered in our house as one of the greats. Your family is in our thoughts and prayers.

  71. I am sad to hear this news. I had Virginia for Jr. High English and Bill in high school. Bill was such a wonderful teacher and had a good soul. He was wonderful to me in high school and helped me a great deal. He encouraged me and I was very lucky to have him as a teacher. I am very sorry for your loss!

  72. I will always remember Mr. Broz as a teacher who engaged and cared. May you find comfort in the memories he left with all of us.

  73. I am so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful teacher. I learned so much from Bill and Virginia. And I know Patrick learned so much also in her class. God Bless your family. From the Morrone family.

  74. May you realize the influence Bill had in peoples’ lives as they respond here. Virginia, may you gain much comfort and support from the love expressed by your family and friends. I have wonderful memories of both Nick (my son Keith’s age) and Frank from Elementary Challenge classes, etc. I respected Bill for the educational effort and influence he welded while here in Fairfield. I have no doubt he continued his high standards elsewhere. Please accept our sincere sympathy and prayers on behalf of each of you.

  75. I am truly sorry for your loss. I really enjoyed having Mr. Broz for a teacher. I still have my poems I wrote in his class. I had the pleasure of talking to him at Hy-Vee a couple times over the past few months. He was the same friendly man as he was in school. He will always be remembered with good thoughts. Prayers to you all !! & may God bless you !!

  76. Mr. Broz was such a great teacher and friend to me. He was one of the biggest contributors in my learning of English as a second language, when I attended FHS as a foreign exchange student from Colombia.
    I spent many hours reading English books in his classroom and he’d make me read out loud to correct pronunciation and would explain to me the meaning of words I didn’t know. Even though I hated it at the time, now I greatly value his efforts for me to learn. I visited his house in Batavia back then and remember like it was yesterday, jumping on the thin ice of his pond until it almost broke
    I had such a great time.
    Sad to learn of his death.
    I never saw him again after I returned to my country but thought of him often. May God have a place for Mr. Broz in heaven, next to him.
    My condolences to his family.

  77. I have the very fondest memories of Bill Broz. He was a teacher, mentor, and friend to me while I was at Fairfield High School, always encouraging me in my writing and reiterating time and again that my voice mattered in this world. These are invaluable treasures to me as I now, a decade and half later, write my first novel.

    Being friends with his sons, Frank and Nick, I was privileged to see the family-man side of Bill at their home in Batavia. He had a fabulous, bright smile and was quick with a joke and a laugh. He had a talent for making people feel welcome and included and special. The older I get, the more I rare I realize that trait is. He truly cared about how you felt and was naturally, genuinely kind.

    Bill was incredibly vocal about his love for his family; and I know he was passionate in his adoration of his wife and sons (daughter-in-law, and grandson too!). Our lives are like a vapor – gone so very quickly – but when we touch those around us with positivity, compassion, encouragement, and love we live on for eternity.

    Bill touched so many lives, mine was just one of the multitude. I will be forever grateful and humbled by his voice in my life. It has echoed through the years of my existence, and I know it will continue to do so.

    I am praying for God’s unfailing love and supernatural peace to envelope each and every family member and friend grieving this tremendous loss. You are precious and so deeply loved!

    (((HUGS))) from Missouri,
    -Mandie Hickenbottom-Conner

    • I forgot to mention that when my own mother passed away in 2013, Bill sent me the most amazing letter of condolence. I still have it in a special box of my most favorite letters, cards, and correspondence. Such a special man! My heart is hurting today!

  78. Bill was like a second father to me. When Jenna and I bought our house in the country after my own dad had passed away, Bill and Virginia came over to see it and Bill inspected it and gave us tips on things that would need to be taken care of (adding more dirt around the foundation to keep the basement from leaking, getting the appropriate kind of ladder to safely reach high up gutters). Also, I vividly remember him standing up to a crooked bicycle repairman who had shoddily repaired a wheel on Frank’s and my tandem bicycle on RAGBRAI.

    • Virginia and Family,
      Just wanted you and your family to know your in my thoughts and prayers. I didn’t know Bill well but I have always enjoyed knowing you Virginia and my heart aches for your loss. It sounds like he was an amazing teacher who touched many lives and that says a lot about him as a person. May your memories help ease some of your pain. Hugs!

  79. I still have many of my literary assignments from him, as they were some of my favorite items from my high school days. He had incredible patience and I specifically remember his keen insight during a paper I was writing. He was able, in just a few words to make me see another side of things, and reinvigorated my creative side. I am terribly sad to hear of his passing, and my thoughts go out to his family.

  80. Mr. Broz was the greatest teacher that I was privileged enough to learn from throughout my academic career. I will always speak and think highly of him, and will do my best to pass on the passion for literature to those I am lucky enough to come on contact with. My deepest condolences go out to his wife, who was an amazing teacher in her own right, and the rest of his family.

  81. What a loss! I was really shocked when I heard about Bill because I always saw him as a kind of indestructible force. I will always remember him for his writing and for his warm personality and smile. You are all in my prayers as you deal with this sadness.

  82. I will be forever grateful to have known Bill. He was so much more than my husband’s best friend’s dad; he was kind of a father to all of us—vibrant, curious, funny, and generous with his time and wisdom. I learned from Bill and Virginia what a beautiful marriage looks like, and from Bill in particular I learned to interrogate my own opinions (about literature and everything else!). Whenever I had a question or anxiety about teaching or applying for academic jobs, he was there to advise. The world is richer because Bill was in it. His influence is everywhere and will remain for a long, long time. He has inspired me to live more passionately and to seek out and treasure meaningful conversations with friends. Thinking of you, Virginia, Nick, and Frank. XOXO.

  83. I really enjoyed his classes in high school at Fairfield. He opened my eyes to writing and challenged us to look at the world differently. It was always fun to be in his class. I still have the poems I wrote back then. I had his wife in 7th grade and really enjoyed her class as well. My prayers and thoughts are with his family. God Bless. –

  84. Out of the blue, Mr Broz pulled me out of a morning class and asked me if I’d go to a writers conference with him; at the time I had no idea what the Iowa Writers Workshop was, so I didn’t take it seriously when I placed in the top 3 authors in the event. He believed in me when I didn’t…..and it pains me to know that he’s no longer here….it shames me that I didn’t look him in the eyes and thank him for showing me that I was worth more than just following orders and that I had a gift with words (even thought he didn’t necessarily agree with them). Mr Broz was one of the good ones. And I will miss him. I will take a knee and weep in his honor, but I’ll be standing up again proud of knowing him and being a better man for have learned from him. So Mote It Be.

  85. So sorry to hear about Bill. He was such a wonderful, professional teacher and colleague in education. His writing and work will certainly be remembered. All my best wishes for all of you -family, friends, colleagues…

  86. I am sorry for your loss, Virginia. I worked with Bill at UNI and he always had a kind word and a huge smile for me and for everyone. It was a genuine treat to sit and visit with Bill when he came to UNI some time ago. It was like he had never left. He was always an inspiring teacher — many students shared that with me over the years — and his love for Iowa literature was legendary. May he rest in peace. Bill will be missed by a great many people.

    This is a heartwarming obituary and the pictures really capture Bill’s love for life. Thank you.

  87. I know the loss is always greatest for the family. My condolences to you all. But this is a great loss, too, for his profession. Bill was not only an outstanding teacher and teacher educator, but he was also a “cheerleader” and supporter for us all, encouraging us in the sharing of ideas and expertise. His spirit will live on in many, but the profession will never be quite the same without him.

  88. My sympathies. I was a student of his. He taught me to appreciate american literature. Sorry to hear of his passing.

  89. I am shocked and saddened by this news. Bill ( and Virginia) were an inspiration to my children and he never failed to stop me when he saw me to ask me about them. It wasn’t just my children that Bill inspired, but all with whom he came in contact-wearing various “hats”! His spirit will remain with all of us who were fortunate enough to be touched by him and he will be greatly missed. My deepest sympathy to all of his family.

  90. I didn’t have a chance to work with Bill for very long at the Univ of Northern Iowa
    before he moved to Texas, but he was a wonderful and welcoming colleague and I admired his work–especially his impact on students.

  91. Mr. Broz was my favorite teacher! I have devoted my life to education, and during the tough times I often think back to my senior year in high school – Advanced Comp – and the patience Mr. Broz showed me and the encouragement he gave daily! I am fortunate to spend everyday with high school teachers and students and try to spread a little of what I got from Mr. Broz. He will be greatly missed!!

  92. I knew Bill when I was in high school with his boys Nick and Frank and many times we spent hanging out at the cabin swimming. I remembered all of the fun we had there zip lining, volleyball and funny conversation. Bill was there not as a parent supervising his kids but more of an instigator of fun. He always was happy and had a grin on his face all the time. I don’t recall ever seeing him without a smile on his face.

    When I think about the Broz, I don’t think of my friends Nick or Frank alone but I think of the whole family. How wonderful that the boys had such great parents! My family wish you with all of our hearts our deepest condolences! We will miss you Bill!

  93. I am very sorry to hear this news. Whenever I am asked about a teacher that had a profound impact on my life, I always mention Bill Broz without hesitation. He took a genuine interest in his students and had the rare ability to inspire, critique, cajole, and make you realize you were a lot better than you ever thought possible. He will be missed.

  94. I’m very sorry for the loss of a husband, father, grandfather and mentor to many. I had Bill as a high school teacher but it was later in life when I got to know him as the great person he was and saw the influence he had in many lives.

  95. Holden is gone?! Oh Virginia, it was a punch to my heart this morning when Scott Romaine passed the news to me this morning. Bill was a great inspiration to me over many decades of my teaching. The number of students and other teachers he touched and influenced during his career can not be calculated. He helped me become a better teacher of writing. It was a privilege to have become friends with both of you through our IWP involvement. I will keep you and your sons in my thoughts. I hope you are surrounded by those you love right now.
    Somewhere there’s a field of rye with another Holden running freely.

  96. I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Bill and Virginia and Tom became pretty good friends and they let me in their group! We had some pretty good trivia games at the log house. I always got “Doctor” Broz as my teammate. Sometimes he even let me answer a question. I am so glad I got to visit with Bill last fall. It had been a long time but felt Luke no time had passed at all. Cherish his memory!!

  97. Bill was a wonderful friend and mentor to me. He changed my life. Bill provided me with personal and professional guidance during our years at UT Pan American. Bill was a true friend whom I will miss dearly. He affected so many teachers and students in the Rio Grande Valley. His legacy endures.

  98. So sorry for your loss.. I have a lot of memories of him.. including the Hawkeyes games that he and Harvey watched together and the help he gave Mark with a report in English Lit. (which Mark got an A++ on!) Lots of card games with you . Also the kindness that both you and Bill gave me at the time of Harvey’s death. Maybe “our guys” will be playing some cribbage together again. Sending thoughts, love and prayers to all of you.

  99. A man who believed in me, at a time I needed it more than any other. More importantly, a man who made me believe in myself, when I didn’t know that I could. He allowed me to care about reading and challenged me to write, and taught me more about expression than I could ever comprehend. Bill truly operated on a higher plane than anyone I’ve ever encountered (although Frank is not far behind). I am deeply saddened, to say the least. If I can be of ANY assistance in this most difficult of times, please let me know. I think I will go buy a book today…

  100. Mr. Broz was an amazing teacher and very cool guy. He will always be remembered fondly by those who are lucky enough to have had him as an instructor and friend.

  101. Dear Virginia and family. My heart is broken by this sad news . You are in our thoughts and prayers. When I think of Bill I see him always with Virginia by his side. A wonderful husband. father, and educator. God bless your family and may you find comfort in your lifetime of memories. Love, Marlyce and Ray

  102. I didn’t know you, but I know your son. After reading this page, I see the influence you had on him. It was a great one and one that I can imagine reached far outside your family. Because of this, I know your presence will be missed by many. I’m sorry for your family and friend’s loss.

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