Obituary: Bill Erps


Bill Erps of Eldridge passed away at home on May 19 after a brave battle with leukemia. Visitation will be held at Chambers Funeral Home in Eldridge on June 5 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.  Private family interment will be in the Walcott Cemetery.

Bill was born May 14, l937, in Davenport to William F. Erps and A. Lois (Knaack) Erps.  He was a l955 graduate of Durant High School, where he played basketball and participated in band and drama.  He received his BA degree in biology from Iowa State Teachers College in 1960 and his master’s degree in zoology in 1965 from then State College of Iowa in Cedar Falls.  He also did graduate work at Wayne State University in Detroit, where he attended a National Science Foundation Radiation-Biology institute for two consecutive summers.

He married Joan Madden on July 25, l959, in Davenport.  Bill began his teaching career at North Scott High School in the fall of 1960 as a biology teacher and coach.  After graduate school, he taught in Bettendorf for one year, and then returned to North Scott as a junior high science teacher. While there, he coached football and basketball and started the junior high track program.  As a CPR instructor trainer for 17 years, he trained medical, dental, school, and fire personnel, as well as many junior high students.

Bill’s earlier memberships included Beta Beta Beta, a national biological honor society, and the Moose “Loge” in rural Dixon.  He was also a past member of the Donahue Sportsmen’s Club and served on the Maysville Fire Department for nearly 30 years.  He was a lifetime member of the National Education Association, past member of Iowa State Education Association, and North Scott Education Association.  In 2022, he was inducted into the North Scott Athletic Hall of Fame.  As a former coach and advocate of fitness, he was an avid member, supporter, and donor of the North Scott Community YMCA.

Bill lived  his life to the fullest.  He enjoyed hunting and fishing.  One of his favorite places was on the Mississippi River at daybreak. He enjoyed sharing his catch with others and teaching his grandchildren how to fish.  As a proud grandparent, he supported his grandchildren’s athletic, music, scouting, and academic events.  Emulating his great-grandfather Peterson, he enjoyed gardening, preparing meat (butchering) with neighborhood friends, making old recipes and trying new ones.  Bill had a great sense of humor and enjoyed telling jokes (as many know).

Bill is survived by his loving wife, Joan, of almost 64 years and three daughters: Sheila (Rusty) Gillespie of Kennesaw, Ga., and their son, Brett Gillespie of Atlanta; Rhonda Erps of North Aurora, Ill.; and Brenda (Brad) Zogg of Blue Grass, and their children Molly (Cory) Adair of Davenport, and William Zogg of Ames; and a great-grandchild on the way.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Marilyn May Depew; a granddaughter, Kathryn Gillespie; and a nephew, Steven May.

In lieu of flowers memorials are suggested to the North Scott Community Y or the Scott County Library.

The family extends special thanks to Dr. Darrow, Dr. Huh, the doctors and nurses at Iowa Cancer Specialists, and University Hospitals for their help and encouragement, as well as St. Croix Hospice.

Condolences may be expressed to the family by viewing Bill’s obituary at


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