In Memoriam: Dr. William Henry Cumberland (1929 – 2021)

Dr. William Henry Cumberland of Onalaska, Wisconsin, formerly of Cedar Rapids and Storm Lake, Iowa, passed away on November 8, 2021, after a long illness.

Dr. Cumberland was born in Urbana, Iowa, on June 14, 1929, the son of Roscoe and Clida Cumberland. As a young boy he developed a life-long love of history when he discovered his grandmother’s history books. After graduating from Urbana High School in 1947, he received his B.A. from the University of Dubuque, where he also honed his love of writing by covering sports for the college newspaper. He continued his studies at the University of Iowa, where he received his M.A. in 1953, and his Ph.D. in 1958. Bill was a professor of history at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa from 1958–1991 and worked tirelessly to serve the college he loved, serving as chair of Social Science, Religion and Philosophy for over twenty years. Known for his fairness, keen wit, and advocacy for higher education, Dr. Cumberland made a significant difference in the lives of students, as attested to by the number of students who kept in touch with him throughout his life.

The author of several books, over twenty articles, and numerous book reviews, Dr. Cumberland wrote pioneering studies on Iowa history, including a biography of the mayor of Sioux City, Wallace M. Short, which was used as a text in history courses at Iowa State University, as well as articles on the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic.

Bill was a life-long sports fan and an especially dedicated follower of the Iowa Hawkeyes and the St. Louis Cardinals.

He is survived by his wife, Ingrid, whom he married in 1959, and their three children, Lawrence, Erich and Debra (spouse Kim Vogt), and a granddog, Abby.

Posted: November 18, 2021
Tagged: In Memoriam