Services have been set to honor Dr. Harold Reetz, Jr., 74, of Monticello, who passed away Monday, Aug. 15. Visitation will be Monday, Sept. 12, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the Monticello United Methodist Church. Funeral will follow at noon.
Harold was born in Watseka, on March 10, 1948, and grew up on his family farm in Milford. He earned his first degree in 1970, a B.S. in Ag Science/Agronomy, from the University of Illinois, where he was a proud member of the Nabor House fraternity. He then pursued graduate studies at Purdue University, earning his master’s degree in Crop Physiology and Ecology in 1972, then ultimately earned a Ph. D in Crop Physiology and Ecology in 1976.
Harold met Chris Kaiser at the U of I, which was the starting point for the family that was his pride and joy. Harold and Chris married August 25, 1973, and began their life together in West Lafayette, Ind., while he finished his doctorate work. In 1982 they moved to Monticello, Ill., which became home base for his legendary career and the community where they finished raising their three kids.
His career sent him on travels around the world, and no matter how far from home he always crossed paths with people he knew. His career began at Purdue, where he was associate professor in the agronomy department. He then spent 28 years with the International Plant Nutrition Institute (formerly Potash and Phosphate Institute) where he served as Midwest Director, then became President of the Foundation for Agronomic Research and Director of External Support until his retirement in 2010. Even in retirement, he continued to advise on agronomic practices with his consulting company, Reetz Agronomics LLC.
Harold was a highly regarded member of the community, planting deep roots in Monticello through his children’s activities, serving many years as Boy Scout Troop leader and 4-H Club leader. He was the ultimate fan at any sporting event, band competition or dance performance that involved his children or grandchildren. He was passionate about education and served as a Monticello School Board Member in the 1990s and was on the State FFA Advisory Board. He was a Sunday school teacher and held leadership roles at Monticello United Methodist Church, serving as Lay Liturgist and on multiple committees, where he was an instrumental part of the visionary team that led the building project for their new church.
Harold is survived by Christine Reetz, his wife of nearly 49 years; his daughter Carrie (Doug) Walsh of Kansas City, Mo.; his sons Wes (Alisa) of Washington, Ill., and Tony (Katie) of Tolono; his sister Cheryl (Jim) Hasting of Hoopeston; his sister-in-law Vicky Reetz; and his nine grandchildren, Adrien, Zack, Isaac, Anna, Seth, Hannah, Cobie, Carli and Kaiser. He is preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Evelyn Reetz, and brother, Michael Reetz.
Services will be held on Monday, Sept. 12, to celebrate Harold and the lives he touched and the minds he influenced. Visitation will be from 10a.m. to noon, at the Monticello United Methodist Church. Funeral will follow at noon. Interment will be private.
Memorials may be made to the Monticello United Methodist Church Building Fund.