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James P. Sandrock


Posted By: Sarah Fletcher (email)
Date: 6/21/2022 at 08:19:39

James P. Sandrock, 93, of Iowa City passed away peacefully at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City on Monday, June 6, 2022.

Born March 5, 1929, in Waterloo, Iowa, the son of Rev. Wilfred P. and Janet (Townsley) Sandrock, Jim grew up in Dubuque and graduated from Dubuque Senior High School. He came to the University of Iowa on a Nile Kinnick football scholarship and discovered Latin, Greek, and the Classics Department. After graduating with a BA in classics in 1951, he entered the US Air Force; during officer training, he studied German and was subsequently stationed in Germany. Jim returned to the University of Iowa to get his M.A. and Ph.D. in German language and literature; he spent his 40-year career as a professor in that department, serving as chair of the department and assistant dean of the College of Liberal Arts. His professional publications were in the fields of German pedagogy, literature, and folklore.

Jim married Donna Gow on August 8, 1951, in Fairfield, Iowa, and together they raised their daughter, Johanna. Donna died in 2000. He married Jean Cutler Prior on May 4, 2003, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They enjoyed extensive travels together and collaborated on two publications: The Iowa Nature Calendar and The Scientific Nomenclature of Birds in the Upper Midwest. On June 4, Jim and Jean celebrated 229 months of marriage.

Jim was an active birder with special expertise in southeast Iowa and an interest in yellow-throated warblers and Henslow’s sparrows. He edited the text for The Iowa Breeding Bird Atlas. Among his other interests were a love of cowboys, the art of Charlie Russell, the lives and works of Willa Cather and Eudora Welty, the game of baseball, playing the mandolin, manuscript studies, and regional literature as embodied by Mark Twain and his German-speaking counterparts, Ludwig Thoma and Peter Rosegger.

Jim’s quiet public presence belied his quick wit, marvelous memory, biblical sense of fairness, and strong sense of duty and self-discipline; he was a wicked devil's advocate with a charitable spirit and a sustaining Christian faith born of his childhood in a Lutheran parsonage. Always the teacher, those whose lives he touched will carry on his lessons of faith and learning.

He is survived by his wife, Jean, of Iowa City; daughter Johanna “Joey” Sandrock of Vienna, Austria; niece Ellen (Bill) Mackey of Red Wing, MN; and nephews Fred (Stephanie) Koch of Eau Claire, WI, and Jim (Laura) Koch of Panora, Iowa. Jim was preceded in death by his first wife, Donna, and a sister, Joan Koch.

Jim chose to be cremated. Private services are planned with burial in Evergreen Cemetery in Fairfield, Iowa. Memorials may be directed to St. Timothy Evangelical Lutheran Church, Williamsburg, IA; Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, Fargo, ND; C. M. Russell Museum, Great Falls, MT; Willa Cather House, Red Cloud, NE; Gunflint Trail Historical Society, Grand Marais, MN; or Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary, Gibbon, NE. Please share your thoughts of Jim with his family at www.lensingfuneral.com.

Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service

Johnson Obituaries maintained by Cindy Booth Maher.
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