Joan Emily Herwig

April 7, 1943 - August 30, 2021

Ames, IA - Joan Emily Herwig, age 78, of Ames, passed away Monday, August 30, 2021, at home following a courageous battle with cancer.

Due to the COVID variant, private family memorial services will be held at 2:00 PM Friday, September 3, 2021, at St. John's by the Campus Episcopal Church, Ames, with The Reverend Kim Baker Turner officiating. The service will be livestreamed and may be viewed on Joan's Tribute Wall on the Adams Funeral Home website. Inurnment will be at Garden Bluff Cemetery, Lodi, WI, at a later date.

Joan was born April 7, 1943, in Chicago, IL, the firstborn child of Roger M. and Joyce I. (Mahlke) Herwig. She grew up on the family farm near Marshall, WI, and attended the one room Deansville School along with her three oldest siblings in her early years and graduated with honors from Lodi High School, Lodi, WI. She was selected to attend Merrill Palmer Institute, Detroit, MI (1964), received a B.S. degree (1965) from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, WI, a M.S. degree (1971) from Iowa State University and her Ph.D. (1978) from Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. Joan taught and served as counselor at Washington Intermediate School, Port Huron, MI (1965-1969) and taught in the first summer Head Start programs (1966-1968) in the same community. She joined the Child Development (now Human Development and Family Studies) Department, Iowa State faculty as an instructor (1971) and retired as Associate Professor Emeritus (2003).

Dr. Herwig's academic and research career included Child Development Laboratory School teacher (1971-1975) and years later as director (1993-2002), department chairperson (1983-1986), graduate student major professor and advisor to many domestic and international students (1978-2003). She was director of the laboratory school during the years of construction and completion of the James and Barbara Palmer Human Development Building, Iowa State Campus. She provided leadership for the Iowa Department of Education Committees for Iowa Standards for Programs for 4-year-olds.

Dr. Herwig received many professional recognitions for her nurturing of young children as well as undergraduate and graduate students while teaching and advising over her long career at Iowa State. These included the Amoco Outstanding Teaching Award (1982), Outstanding Academic Advisor in College of Home Economics from the Student Alumni Association (1982), Distinguished Alumni Award University of Wisconsin-Stout (1985), U.S./China Joint Conference on Early Childhood, Beijing (1993), the first NAEYC Accreditation (1986) and the Gold Seal Award (2001) for the Child Development Laboratory School, and Faculty Citation (2002). She was a Fulbright Scholar to India (1991-1992). Service to her professional organizations was highly regarded, typically serving as president: Iowa and Midwestern Association for the Education of Young Children, National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators. She was one of the first validators for the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs, Washington, D.C.

Over the years she served several terms on the St. John's Church Vestry and as Senior Warden, Friendship Force of Central Iowa President and Board of Directors member, ISU Women's Club cabinet and the Green Hills Retirement Community Advisory Council Chairperson. She enjoyed extensive world travel and visited all U.S. states, particularly cherishing the Amtrak holidays taken with all her nieces and nephews. She led several Friendship Force Exchanges to Ames and abroad, including Australia, Brazil, Cost Rica, Manitoba, Rail to Trail Biking, Taiwan and Japan. She was always ready to travel and explore. OLLI classes and road trips, Road Scholar and Prime Time excursions, extensive reading and international friendships throughout her life broadened her interests and appreciation of people and the world. She loved family times, staying connected with her friends, exploring genealogy, gardening and Fort Myers, FL winters and the Iona-Hope Episcopal Church parish family.

Joan is survived by her dear companion, Carole Magilton of Ames; her mother, Joyce Herwig Hillestad of Prairie du Sac, WI; three sisters, Jill (Nicholas) Bjornstad of Fond du Lac, WI, Patricia Treinen (Jan Marlett) of Bradenton, FL, Sarah Herwig (Peter Anderson) of Madison, WI; three brothers, Dr. Steven (Karen) Herwig of Des Moines, IA, Brian (Karen M.) Herwig of Tell City, IN, and Randy (Carol) Herwig of Lodi, WI; ten treasured and beloved nephews and nieces and their families; many cousins; the Sterling and Magilton families and a multitude of dear friends and former students.

She is predeceased by her longtime companion, Mary Sterling; beloved grandparents; her father, Roger; stepfather, Earl Hillestad; and brother, Gregory.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to St. John's by the Campus Episcopal Church, 2338 West Lincoln Way, Ames IA 50014 or Ames Community Preschool, 920 Carroll Avenue, Ames, IA 50010.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Adams Funeral Home and online condolences may be left to Joan's family at

Recommended for you