Dr. Robert Wilford Van Keuren, 89, of Wooster died Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at Wooster Community Hospital, Wooster, OH.
Robert was born Jan.2, 1922 in Virginia, MN to Harry Eugene and Cora Marie (Henrichs) Van Keuren, graduated from Augusta High School, Augusta, WI in 1939, and from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, WI, in 1943. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in Sept.1942, and upon completion of college, was sent to the USNR Midshipmen?s School, Notre Dame, IN, where he graduated in Sept.1943. He subsequently served as Engineering Officer, and then commanded U.S. Navy warships during World War II in the Mediterranean, the Aleutians, and the Philippines between 1943 and 1945. Upon returning to the U.S., he served as Assistant Operations Officer, U.S. Naval Ammunition Depot, Earle NJ, before detaching from active service in July 1946.
He married Joyce E. Stewart in Greenwood, WI on August 5, 1949. They subsequently moved to Madison, WI where he attended and then graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in Agronomy. He conducted agricultural research for Washington State University from 1954 through early 1962 before coming to Wooster to join the faculty of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC).
Between 1962 and 1989, while serving as associate and then full professor at OARDC/ The Ohio State University, Dr Van Keuren became a world-renowned expert on forage crops for sheep, goats, dairy and beef cattle. During his career, he published over 320 research papers and helped initiate the careers of dozens of graduate students. He was also instrumental in re-establishing the common use of round hay bails in the U.S. in the early 70’s. In addition to his primary focus of improving livestock production in Ohio, on numerous occasions he was called upon to travel overseas to South America, Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia to assist other countries in improving their milk and meat production.
In his retirement, Robert and his wife traveled widely in Europe, and were active in a variety of community groups. They especially enjoyed the numerous bicycle tours they took in Europe and the U.S. He was an active member of Wooster United Methodist Church, Wooster Photo Club, Wayne County Rails to Trails, and League of Women Voters ? Wayne County. In his spare time, he loved to read, take photographs, and do relief woodcarving.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his daughter, Patrice (Zenon) Wojcik of Eau Claire, WI, and two sons: Dr (CAPT) Jeffrey (Donna) Van Keuren of Norfolk, VA, and James (Traci) Van Keuren of Lakeville, OH. Grandchildren include Mikhail Wojcik of Anchorage, AK, Holly Van Keuren of Coventry, RI, Stefan Wojcik of Boulder, CO, Amy Van Keuren of Providence, RI, Elise Wojcik serving in the Peace Corps in Kenya, Taylor Krukenberg of Findlay, OH, Marisa Wojcik of Minneapolis, MN, Logan Krukenberg of Lakeville, OH, Emma Van Keuren of Perrysville, OH, and McKena Van Keuren of Lakeville, OH. Also surviving are two younger brothers and a sister: James (Ruby) Van Keuren of Oshkosh, WI, Doris (Louis) Muench of Cumberland, WI, and Dick Van Keuren of River Falls, WI; a sister-in-law, Mary Humke (Everett) of Rochester, MN; a brother-in-law, Dr Ken Stewart (Ardis) of Williamsville, NY; and numerous nieces and nephews. He will also be sadly missed by his dear canine friend Mocha.
A memorial service is planned for late summer. McIntire, Davis and Greene Funeral Home, Wooster is assisting the family.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to Wooster United Methodist Church, 243 N. Market St., Wooster, OH, 44691 or Viola Startzman Free Clinic, 1874 Cleveland Rd., Wooster, OH, 44691.
Wooster United Methodist Church, 243 N. Market St., Wooster, OH 44691 or the Viola Startzman Free Clinic, 1874 Cleveland Rd., Wooster, OH 44691
Memorial Service will be held at a later date
No calling hours