Service Details


No visitation planned


In the Spring of 2015
McFarland Conservation Center
Story County, Iowa


University of Iowa Anatomical Department
Iowa City, Iowa


Hamilton's Funeral Home
605 Lyon Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
(515) 243-5221

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Des Moines

Wilbur E. "Bill" Horine Bill Horine thought it would be really fun to be a Centenarian; he came close. Yet for this self-proclaimed dreamer, it was the only dream he didn’t achieve. Bill began his 2005 Memoirs with “I am a dreamer. I always have been and probably always will be until God says enough is enough.”

A few weeks ago, Bill was still pondering what he could do with his life at this point: “I’d like to teach, but now I can’t hear, or see well, and my body just doesn’t work anymore. God has been so good to me. He gave me the ability and talents to do everything I’ve loved. I’ve had this great life because of Him. I’m ready to meet my Maker!”

On November 26, 2014 God said, "enough is enough," and Bill Horine left this earth and his worn out body and took off on another adventure; his final dream fulfilled!

True to his interest in science and education, Bill donated his body to science and since it’s winter, we will wait to celebrate this man’s extraordinary life and legacy next spring at the McFarland Conservation Center in Story County. An announcement with details will be published next spring.

At the moment, we’re finding it extremely difficult to capture his life in a traditional obituary. After all, Bill Horine packed more life experiences into his 99 plus years than most dare dream! So we invite you to share your thoughts of Bill and how he touched your life: Leave them here, send them to us, or bring them with you, but by all means plan to join us in the spring when we will come together to celebrate and enjoy the outdoors Bill was so passionate about sharing.

Bill once said “We’re all born for a reason; we have to be needed and wanted and feel that we’re contributing to society.” He truly did succeed in capturing life and living it to its full potential. Something we all can strive to achieve. And he did it from a little farm town in Iowa. Pretty cool!

Memorial Fund

The family plans to establish a Story County Conservation Education Memorial in Bill Horine’s name. Memorials or cards may be sent to the Bill Horine Family at, 18581 – 600th Avenue, Nevada, IA 50201.

Obituary: For those who appreciate life details at the time of passing, we offer the following synopsis:

Wilbur Eugene Horine was born August 15, 1915, in Sac County, Iowa, near Odebolt. He was the eldest son of Earl Eugene Horine and Ruth Christiana Nellist Horine. He was a graduate of Wilson High School in Cherokee. His beloved wife Mary Van Sickle, whom he married in 1939, preceded him in death in 2009. They were life-long residents of Nevada, IA.

He served in the U.S. Navy from 1941-1945 as a Naval gunnery instructor. Bill was also proud to have been a member of the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) during the Great Depression. He learned photography in the US Navy in World War II, returning to Nevada in 1946. He had an extensive array of careers that led him to his true calling as a writer, photographer, and educator promoting conservation. He had a voracious appetite for reading and educating himself. By 1972, he was writing and illustrating newspaper and magazine articles with his photography. He retired as a rural mail carrier at age 57 and began to write articles promoting the outdoor he loved on a full time basis. His work appeared in over 15 area publications and national ones including Better Homes and Gardens, Christian Science Monitor, The Iowan, Successful Farming, Wallaces Farmer, and Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation Magazine.

Bill was blessed with a sonorous speaking voice and the ability to inspire, teach, and tell a good story, which led him into numerous free-lance roles that included an "Outdoor Talk" program first at WOI radio and television, then 14 years at KRNT (KCCI) in Des Moines as part of the Pete Taylor sports segment. “Outdoor Talk” remained Bill’s “handle” for the rest of his career.

Bill traveled extensively to explore the outdoors and to experience nature firsthand. Among his many travels: Seven trips to Alaska for stories on bald eagles, fishing, and bears; trips throughout Canada and the high Artic as a guest of the Canadian government; travel to western Argentina as a member of the Braniff Airlines Outdoor Council. Bill was an avid history buff and traveled the Lewis and Clark trail out west to write one of his best series. His quest for adventure and the best stories led him across the country, as well as to all of Iowa’s state parks to promote Iowa’s natural resources. (We will share his photography and many stories at his life celebration in 2015.)

Bill was a founding member of the Story County, Iowa, Conservation Board, served as the chairman of the board, and for 17 years as a Charter Member. He was particularly proud of being a part of the creation of Hickory Grove Park and Lake in Story County. He received numerous awards and recognitions, including the 1997 Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation’s Hagie Award, the Izaak Walton League of America Ries Tuttle Communication Award, and the Olav Smedal Award for his contribution to conservation. He was appointed to Governor Robert Ray’s Committee on Conservation of Outdoor Resources.

Bill never quit educating and actively giving through community service. Well into his 80s and 90s he continued to volunteer in schools, at library programs, during elections, at community events, and always for conservation programs and events. He passionately advocated for walking trails and saving flood plains and farmland. Bill was an active member of many organizations such as the American Legion, the Lion’s Club, the Masonic Lodge, and the First Christian Church. And, of course, the Outdoor Writers Association of America.

He volunteered as a tour guide on the Boone Scenic Valley Railroad, telling youngsters and adults about the trains and the history of the Des Moines River as they rode through the Des Moines valley. He was considered one of the most personable and knowledgeable tour guides the railroad ever had. In his 90s he was part of the DNR Bald Eagle educational display at the Iowa State Fair, thrilled to tell Iowan’s about his life-long “love-affair” with the bald eagle.

Bill delighted in portraying Santa Claus with his white full beard and wavy white hair during the Christmas season at the North Grand Mall in Ames and schools and libraries and churches. Generations of children have a photo sitting on Santa Bill’s lap. With a twinkle in his eyes and his deep, gentle voice he would tell them to be good. Bill instilled trust and hope.

Last, but by no means least, Bill Horine had a continuing, abiding love and deep appreciation for his family. Bill is survived by his two daughters, Janet (Larry) Flanagan and Ruth (Loren) Book; grandchildren: Sara Martin, Brenda Book Kattenbraker, Susan Baetge, Shawn Flanagan-Beck, and Price Flanagan; great grandchildren: Hana Martin, Loren Kattenbraker, Georgia Baetge, Jaxon Baetge, and Bliss Flanagan-Beck; a sister Lois Johnson, and a brother Donald Horine. He loved his family heritage and leaves cousins, nieces and nephews and many, many others he met along the way who called him friend and ”Grandpa” Bill, just because he had an interest and heart for everyone.

His faith in God was foremost in his life, even more so in his later years. He never took anything for granted. Bill Horine used every opportunity to connect people to the beautiful outdoors and its creator, His God, whom he credited with giving him all his talents, inspiration, and love of the outdoors, and who set him on his life’s path. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:21

The End