Lawrence L. "Larry" Rettig

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Lawrence L. “Larry” Rettig, age 80, of South Amana, died Tuesday, January 4, 2022, shortly before his 81st Birthday, at the University of Iowa Rehab Hospital in Coralville. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, May 21, 2022, at the South Amana Cemetery, South Amana. Friends may visit the family from 1 to 3 p.m., Saturday, May 21, 2022 at the Middle Amana Ball Park, Middle Amana.  Memorials may be contributed in Larry’s name to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22478, Oklahoma City, OK 73123. Kloster Funeral Home, Marengo is caring for the family.

      Larry is survived by his beloved wife and life partner of 59 years, Wilma; his daughter Robin of South Amana, and “son” Michael Newton from Cedar Rapids; sister Rosemary (David and family) of Moatsville, WV; and too many nieces and nephews to mention by name. He is also survived by his beloved dog, Brique and friends Laia, Banjo, Byte, and Cali.

      He was preceded in death by his parents, Wilma’s parents, and his sister and brother-in-law Bonnie and Stan Hertel.

      Larry was born January 31, 1941, in Middle Amana, the son of Leonard and Lina (Leonhardt) Rettig. He graduated as valedictorian of his high school class in 1959. His continuing scholarly efforts resulted in a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. He was a professor of German and Linguistics at Defiance College, Defiance, OH.; Alabama A&M University, Huntsville, AL.; and the University of Alabama, also Huntsville. For 25 years he served the University of Iowa as a central administrator in the Office of the Vice President for Research, retiring in 2003. During his administrative career he received numerous awards, among them The University of Iowa Staff Excellence Award and the State Board of Regents Staff Excellence Award. In his retirement, he became a garden writer for the website, Dave’s Garden, and wrote a popular monthly gardening column for the Amana Society Bulletin. He continued his service on the boards of a number of civic and nonprofit organizations.

      Larry had a great zest for life as evidenced by his many interests and activities. He was a gardener extraordinaire, a writer, a poet, an historian, an artist, a musician, a photographer, and a friend to many. He was frequently sought out for his extensive gardening knowledge, but lent a sympathetic ear to those with personal issues as well. He held a special place in his heart for his family, his dear friends, Jim and the late Kathy Fisher, and for the residents of Lakeview Village, where he volunteered his musical talents. Together with Wilma, he established Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens, which is listed with the Smithsonian Institution as a National Heritage Garden and has been featured in magazines, newspapers, and online. In the mid-1980s he and Wilma founded a seed bank that preserves vegetable varieties brought from Germany by Amana settlers in the 1840s. He loved taking garden visitors on a tour of the gardens and telling them not only about the plants in the many garden beds, but also about Amana’s historical legacy. Larry was a member of the Amana Arts Guild and the Amana Heritage Society.


Celebration of Life Gathering

10:00 a.m., Saturday, May 21, 2022

South Amana Cemetery, South Amana, Iowa

The family will receive friends

1 to 3 p.m., Saturday, May 21, 2022

Middle Amana Ball Park, Middle Amana, Iowa

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