Kyle Dean Hoagland, longtime professor in the School of Natural Resources, passed away Aug. 12 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 69.
Hoagland was born April 24, 1951, in Omaha, Nebraska, to Robert “Bob” and Eileene (Schultz) Hoagland and spent many summers on the family farm in Humboldt. His love of the outdoors led to an interest in aquatic ecology, water quality and the effect of herbicides on the microscopic algae that live in lakes and streams.
With degrees from Michigan State University, Eastern Michigan University and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Hoagland chose an academic career that took him to the University of Maine, Louisiana State University, Texas Christian University and ultimately back to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where he taught for more than 25 years. He served in a variety of administrative roles, including director of the Nebraska Water Center and several stints as interim director of the School of Natural Resources. He was active in professional societies and published widely.
Hoagland was a popular professor, adviser and mentor to many students who went on to make contributions in academics, natural resource agencies and the environmental fields. His favorite class to teach was Limnology, the study of lakes and streams, which he taught in the summers at Cedar Point, the biological field station in Ogallala. He loved taking students to explore nearby aquatic wonders: the headwaters of Otter Creek, the Kingsley Dam toe drains and the Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge. He used these locations to demonstrate the infinite variety of ecological conditions and the resultant diversity of organisms.
Hoagland loved Nebraska and had a dry sense of humor that he speckled with Midwestern anecdotes and practical jokes. One of his favorite books was Ray Bradbury’s “Dandelion Wine,” a story about a Midwestern boyhood and summer. Hoagland was a cutthroat pinochle player and liked to socialize with friends and family over good food and drink. He was athletic, competitive and loved sports, especially coaching youth soccer teams, cheering on the Huskers, and playing baseball, tennis and basketball, until Parkinson’s disease made it so that he “couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn.”
The highlight of Hoagland’s life was becoming a father in middle age. He could not have been more pleased with the gift of both a son and daughter, and experiencing the different joys they brought him. He loved family adventures, especially vacations to Rocky Mountain National Park, where he taught the kids to hike, fish and love the outdoors.
Hoagland is survived by his significant other, Kristin Von Walz; his children, Aaron Z. Hoagland of Washington, D.C., and Sarah Z. Hoagland of Lincoln; his sisters, LeAnn (Neil) Merrifield of Pace, Florida, and Lori (Patrick) Umberger of Glenwood, Iowa; and nieces and nephews who remember him as the “fun” uncle: Megan Merrifield, Bryce Merrifield, Ben Umberger, Lydia Umberger, Samantha Umberger, Richard Barad, Sam Barad and Max Seiler. He was preceded in death by his parents.