Dr. William Wesley Gist, for twenty-four years a member of the Iowa State Teachers College faculty, died suddenly last Friday morning, June 8, 1923, a few hours after his return from Fort Dodge, where he was elected and installed Commander of the Iowa Department of the Grand Army of the Republic.
Dr. Gist was born on February 28, 1849, in Starr Township, Ohio. He was the son of Charles Wesley and Malinda Wilson Gist. He graduated from the University of Ohio and later attended Union Seminary. He entered the ministry, but soon became a college professor. On July 26, 1876, he married Lillian Jeannette Hurlburt in Youngstown, Ohio. Thay had eleven children: Ruth, Clarence Hurlburt, Charles Russell, Arthur Stanley, Nathan Howard, Julian Hurlburt, Ralph Hawthorne, Jean, Cecil Kinnison, William Wesley, and Marjorie.
He was a member of the G. A. R. for over fifty years. He enlisted at the age of fifteen in the 26th Ohio Infantry and served under General Sherman in the Atlanta campaign. Subsequently, he served under General Thomas and was with the command sent to the Mexican border. Because he was a student of American history, his war experiences influenced him to write several articles on the Civil War. Professor Gist recorded historic facts concerning battles that made them interesting and valuable to read.
Professor Gist was affiliated with the English Department, but was relieved from classroom work about a year ago. He gave his services primarily to students needing special attention and has in that capacity come into contact with a large number of students. He was ever willing to give an encouraging word or a helping hand to anyone, be he subcollegiate or senior. HIs influence has been felt thoughout the college community, the city, and the state. He was held in high esteem universally, and the college, in particular, mourns his death. He has written two articles for the College Eye during the past year, which not only show his interest in student enterprises, but also showed he kept closely in touch with the affairs of the school, for the articles were written on timely subjects.
He was vigorous to the last, and the report of his death came unexpectedly.
Adapted from an article in the College Eye, June 15, 1923, page 1.