Leon Pope

Leon S. “Bill” Pope, 87, passed away at his home in College Station, Texas, on Monday, December 27, 2010. Memorial services will be conducted at A&M United Methodist Church at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, December 30, with a gathering of friends and family from 9:00 a.m. until service time. Interment will follow at a later date in Marlow, OK.

Bill was born in Boise, Idaho to Leon T. and Stella Spalding Pope. He grew up on a small livestock farm in Somerset, Michigan. He married Vanna “Polly” Mershon in 1951.

Bill was a Second Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps during World War II serving as a B-24 Bomber pilot stationed in England. He flew 23 missions over Germany.

When he returned from service, he finished his B.S. degree (1947) in Animal Science from Michigan State University and completed M.S. (1949) and Ph.D. (1952) degrees from Oklahoma State University. He joined the faculty at Oklahoma State University as a Beef Cattle Professor and served as Department Head. In 1968, he accepted the position of Associate Dean of Agriculture at Texas A&M University. From 1976 to 1986, he was Dean of Agriculture at New Mexico State University. After retiring from NMSU, he and Polly moved back to College Station and he began the TALL (Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership) Program. He was Executive Secretary in the IAPAL (International Association for Programs of Agricultural Leadership) organization until his death. Bill did international programs with Argentina, Ethiopia, Egypt, Iraq and Israel. Bill received numerous awards during his career. He was a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho Hall of Fame and was a Fellow in the American Society of Animal Science. He was admitted to the International Hall of Fame for Adult and Continuing Education at the University of Oklahoma and served as a Director for the Central Bank for Cooperatives. He was nationally recognized as “Agriculture’s Ambassador of Goodwill”. Bill was an active member of A&M United Methodist Church and College Station Noon Lion’s Club.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Art Pope, sister-in-law, Vivian Pope, and brother in law, Joseph O’Hare.

Survivors include his wife, Polly, of College Station, Texas; sons and daughter-in-law, Ron and Nita Pope, of Olsburg, KS, Tom Pope, of Marlow, OK; daughter and son-in-law, Susan and Tim Brown, of Westmoreland, KS; sisters-in-law, Elizabeth Pope and Georgia O’Hare; grandchildren, Russell and Misty Pope and Marie and Jeff Jones, all of El Dorado, KS, Bill and Heather Pope, of Hays, KS, Ronny and Kelsey Pope, Seward, of NE, and Billy Brown, of Lansing, MI; and great grandchildren, Blake and Vanessa Jones, and Rhett Pope.

Memorials can be sent to A&M United Methodist Church, 417 University Dr., College Station, TX 77840 or to Hospice Brazos Valley, 502 W. 26th St, Bryan, TX 77803; or TALL, 7607 Eastmark Dr, Suite 101A, College Station, TX 77840.


  1. I was proud to say that Bill was a friend of mine. I met him thru his efforts to make better men with the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity at A&M. He was selfless in his efforts to help others. My life and many others will be better due to the efforts of Bill Pope. May he rest in peace.

    Jim Dunn

  2. Polly and family, I remember our viewing George H. W. Bush’s parachute jump several years ago. And, how much I enjoyed your friendship in the Texas A & M Women’s Club 1st Monday Group. My prayers are for you and family at this time. Jan Wiedemann (Mrs. Harold)

  3. I can’t put into words what Dr. Pope meant to Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity, especially at Texas A&M. I will cherish his guidance, patience, words of wisdom, and leadership that he offered us all these years. He will be sorely missed, but I am mostly honored to have been able to know him and call him my “brother”. God bless.

    Mario Caro #240

  4. Polly, Ron & Nita, Sue & Tim and Tom: We am so very sorry for your loss. “Bill” was a kind and gentle person and we are so fortunate to have had the privilege to meet him. You are all in our thoughts and prayers as you go through this difficult journey. Remember, the love you had for him and he for you will always be in your heart. Again, we are all very sorry.

  5. Polly, Ron and family: Please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of one of my mentors: Dr. Bill Pope. As a freshman student at Oklahoma State in 1965, a tall gentleman made me feel at home and truly appreciated. Dr. Bill would always congratulate me on my family’s sheep winnings at various stock shows and made a point to let me know that he was proud of our accomplishments. Dr. Bill was a true gentleman, a great livestock person and a man that I truly respected. Who would have guessed that a Texas born cotton farmer could come to Stillwater as an 18 year old freshman and under the guidance of many great people, including Bill Pope, would emerge as a Ph.D. and a member of the OSU faculty for the last 39 years. It was people like Bill Pope that served as a guiding light to my success.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and the family. Ron – I truly respected your Dad. He will always be in my memories.

    May God bless you in this time of sadness.

    Bob and Susan Kropp

  6. We send our love to the whole family. We have cherished our friendship (almost like family) with all of you over the years. He was a great man whom we all admired and loved.

  7. Polly:
    Carrie and I extend our sincere sympathy to you and your family. Bill was a special friend to us and to many. I always enjoyed sitting at his table at our CS Noon Lions meetings. Your commitment to ensuring him attending was special. His good work in support of our church, including Men’s Prayer Breakfast will be long remembered. He epitomized the Greatest Generation. You are in our prayers. Love, Joe and Carrie West


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