Posted on April 5, 2011 at 1:48 PM by Global Reach
Dr. Bruce Van Zee is East Pottawattamie County's inductee into the 2006 Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame. Bruce was born in 1941 and started his 4-H career as a member in Jasper County. After high school graduation in 1960 Bruce attended Iowa State University where he was a member of FarmHouse Fraternity. He received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from ISU in 1966 and graduated with distinction and high honors. That brought him to become a partner in a veterinary practice at Oakland, Iowa that same year. In 1980 became a sole practitioner and established Riverside Animal Hospital as well as establishing Van Zee Nursery in 1998.
Bruce and his wife Joy were married in 1965. They were blessed with two children, Justin and Angela. Angela married John Mortland and their first son, Robert Bruce Mortland was born this spring. Bruce was always very active in the community. From church choir to community theatre to the volunteer fire department he was involved. He served on the school board, the Oakland Commercial Club, the Optimist Club and was instrumental in expanding the Oakland Industrial Foundation. These are just a part of his involvement. He was also a very strong supporter of ISU Extension and the 4-H program in the county.
Bruce served as a volunteer leader of the Westside Feeders 4-H Club for over 15 years. In this position he helped many new members get involved in the county 4-H program. He was also a member of the East Pottawattamie County Extension Council for nine years. Bruce served as the East and West Pottawattamie County Fair veterinarian for many years and was the resident veterinarian for the Carson Community Rodeo and the Iowa High School Rodeo. He belonged to the Pottawattamie County Cattlemen's Association and served as their President. Bruce was an avid user of research and information from both Iowa State University and Iowa State University Extension. As such he was enthusiastic about the Tri County Steer Carcass Futurity, a retained ownership cattle program that was started with the assistance of ISU Extension in 1982 and continues to be a strong program today. He was a long time board member for the Tri County program. Bruce was selected to serve on the Iowa State University Extension Citizen Advisory Council in 2003 and represented Southwest Iowa in that capacity until the time of his death.
Bruce was recognized in 1990 as a Friend of 4-H and in 2002 was inducted as an Honorary 4-H member in East Pottawattamie County. The county cattlemen's organization recognized him as the county's Beef Promoter of the Year. Bruce was a member of the Iowa Veterinary Examiner's Board for nine years and served on the Executive Board, the Public Relations Committee and the Bovine Practitioner Committees of the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association. In 1997 Bruce was named Iowa Veterinarian of the Year.
Last fall Bruce was at work doing what he loved when he was struck by a bull. He later died as a result of his injuries. Bruce will be missed by many but the East Pottawattamie 4-H organization will remember Bruce's generous sharing of his time and talents to further the 4-H program in our county as well as the rest of the state.
Categories: Pottawattamie (East)