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.