Founding President of WITCC leaves legacy of education
Dr. Robert H. Kiser speaks at a podium on August 29, 1991.
SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -
One of the first things you'll pass at Western Iowa Tech Community College is a building with Dr. Robert H. Kiser's name on it.
On March 25th, Kiser died at the age of 91. The building was dedicated many years ago to Kiser. Friday, the school hosted a reception after his funeral for family, friends and those wanting to pay respect to the schools founding President. "The more you knew the man, the more you respected him," said Gary Thies.
Thies knew Kiser for 61 years. Their relationship began in Ute, Iowa, where Kiser was a high school teacher and Thies a pupil. Years down the road, Thies got a call from Kiser asking to help serve on the community colleges board of directors. The two worked together for 24 years Thies noted. "I guess when I grow up I'd like to be just like Dr. Kiser," Thies said with a grin.
Kiser was a combat infantryman in the U.S. Army. He served in World War II and was a Bronze Star recipient. One of his four kids, Rod, says his father was reluctant to tell many of those stories for many years. "I would ask him to tell me stories and he would say 'the experiences I had, in heavy combat, in the South Pacific, were so bad that I really didn't want to talk about it cause I didn't really want to relive those memories'," said Kiser.
"Bob" as many of his friends and family knew him was an avid golfer. He recorded multiple holes-in-one in his lifetime. But, at his roots, education was his passion. "He loved this place more than anything," Kiser added.
"Western Iowa Tech meant more to him than anything else in the world."
Kiser was the Superintendent of Sergeant Bluff-Luton Community Schools from 1960 to 1966. He briefly worked for Sioux City Community Schools in 1966 before his role at WITCC.
Flags outside the building dedicated to him were at half staff. 25 years Kiser worked there before his retirement in 1991. "And as long as the history books are kept, I think there will always be a place for his name to be remembered and for his legacy to be remembered too," his son added.
Kiser leaves behind four children and eight grandchildren.