In loving memory of

David Topel
October 24, 1937 - July 25, 2022

To view a livestream of David's service, click here:

David Topel, age 84, died on July 25, 2022 at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames, Iowa after a productive and rewarding life. Visitation will be Wednesday, August 3 from 4-6 p.m. at Grandon Funeral and Cremation Care, 414 Lincoln Way, Ames, Iowa. Memorial service will be Thursday, August 4 at 2 p.m. at Collegiate Presbyterian Church, 159 Sheldon Avenue, Ames, Iowa.

David was born in Lake Mills, Wisconsin on October 24, 1937, son of the late Walter C. and Mabel J (Strauss) Topel. He graduated from Lake Mills High School in 1956 and went on to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he received his bachelor's degree in Animal Science in 1960. He continued his studies at Kansas State University for his Master's degree, and Michigan State University for his Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1965.

David joined the faculty at Iowa State University where he gained international recognition for his research on the etiology of the porcine stress syndrome. David was also an outstanding teacher and developed a widely recognized course and book in animal growth and development.

David became Head of the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences at Auburn University in 1979. David was appointed Dean of the College of Agriculture and Director of the Iowa Agriculture Experiment Station at Iowa State University in 1988. David was a visionary person whose leadership changed the face of agricultural education, research, and outreach in Iowa and throughout the world. David presented numerous invited papers and seminars, not only in the USA but also in many countries in Europe, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Kenya, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, China, Russia, Ukraine, and many other countries.

David was a strong advocate and leader for international collaboration on scientific research. He traveled to more than 60 countries. Many of the trips were to develop collaborative research and to help those countries improve their agriculture research, animal and crops production, and to improve people's lives. David also devoted his time and resources to promote understandings of different cultures around the world for students and people in Iowa. He and his wife donated hundreds of art collections to the Iowa State University Museum to increase exposure of ISU students and residents to cultures of different countries.

For all of his contributions, David received more than forty awards, including the USDA Secretary of Agriculture Honor Award, four Honorary Degree Awards, Iowa State University Order of the Knoll Award, which is the highest award given to a faculty member at Iowa State University. Survivors include his wife, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Jay-lin Jane-Topel, sister, Ellen Topel White of Waukesha, Wisconsin, sisters-in-law, Violet and Delores of Lake Mills, Wisconsin, and many nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife, Jackie, and brothers, Wilbur (Florence), Cliff, Lynn, Harvey (Pat), and Earl (Dee) of Lake Mills, Wisconsin, and brother-in-law, Jerry White of Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Iowa State University Foundation to support David's passion for learning and teaching in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, 2505 University Boulevard, IA 50010. Online contributions may be made by visiting and designating fund #2706473.

Online condolence may be directed to


Sayuri Akuzawa wrote on Aug 6, 2022:

"Dear Dr. Jay line Jane, I am truly sorry to hear the news of your husband?s Dr David Topel passing. I reminisce with my memories during one year studying in Iowa State University in Ames. Please accept my heartfelt condolences. Sayuri Akuzawa, Japan"

Keiji Kainuma wrote on Aug 4, 2022:

"Dear Jay lin, We are deeply shocked and saddened by the news received from?you this morning. We cannot believe his passing even now. Please accept our sincere condolences on the passing of David. We did not know he had been in such a heavy illness. He was such a nice person. I was privilege to have had the opportunity to work with him when I planned the research collaboration between ISU and the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry on hog ES cell project. David represented ISU?as a Dean of College of Agriculture and we had often discussed in detail of the project. He was always an excellent counterpart. Since you married with David, he became a member of our starch research family. We do not know what to say to sympathize your loss. We will miss him very much. We just wanted to let you know that our thoughts are with you. In deepest sympathy, Keiji, Michiko, Mami and Emi Kainuma Tsukuba ,Japan"

Bill Colonna wrote on Aug 2, 2022:

"Dear Jay-Lin, A was very sorry to learn about the loss of your husband David. You have my condolences and I will keep you in my prayers. Sincerely, Bill Colonna"

Martha James wrote on Aug 1, 2022:

"Jay-Lin, I am so sorry for your loss. Like everyone, I admired him greatly. Martha James"

Mufit & Sevinc Akinc wrote on Aug 1, 2022:

"It is with great sadness we learned David?s passing. We regret that we did meet him only when we moved nextdoor to you. From the very first day, he impressed us with his soft spoken, polite, and gentle manners. Indeed he was a true gentleman, a rare quality to find these days. He was always helpful and with an immense knowledge and experience. In fact, we thought he was a walking encyclopedia. After leaving Ames we felt his absence more deeply. David?s departure will long be felt by his colleagues, friends and the community at large, certainly we are. Rest In Peace David. We share and feel your loss Jay-Lin."

Kevin Vinchattle wrote on Jul 29, 2022:

"My sympathies Dave's family and friends. I had the pleasure of getting to know Dave thru my work with IPA/IEC. Always a very kind man who would make the time for a meaningful visit. I always appreciated his thoughtfulness. He accomplished much for Iowa State during his distinguished career. Glad to have crossed the paths of life with him."

Janusz Kapusniak wrote on Jul 29, 2022:

"I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences on the untimely death of your husband Dr David Topel. I shall never forget the great times I shared with David during my one year stay in Ames. He will always be in my heart and memory."

Don Beitz wrote on Jul 28, 2022:

"Dave, thanks for the more than 50 years of friendship beginning as graduate students at Michigan State University and continuing through our many interactions at Iowa State University. Thanks for all the memories! I will miss you. Don Beitz"

John Mabry wrote on Jul 28, 2022:

"It is with great sadness and fond memories that I received the news of Dave Topel's passing. I am fortunate to have had the chance to have interacted with Dean Topel in so many different ways over the years. It started when I came to ISU for grad school in 1972. Although majoring in Animal Breeding he knew of my experience in Meats Judging and asked me to assist Dennis Dewitt in coaching the Meats Team, a great experience. I then continued coaching the team for the next two year with much success. He also served on my MS and PhD advisory committees. Dave was a great proponent of the Meat Animal Evaluation Contest at Aksarben, and I worked with him in this contest while at ISU and when I went to UWRF. In 1979 Dave took a job at Auburn and I took a job at University of Georgia. While there, I worked with Dave (and Dennis Marple) to start the first Academic Quadrathon for the SE section of ASAS. And in 2000 he called and asked me to apply for the Director of the IPIC at ISU, and hired me as well. It was great working with him at ISU as Director, Faculty member and as a colleague. One highlight was the opportunity to put together the educational program for the 2005 Ensminger School in China that he coordinated. After he retired, I had the chance to bring numerous international groups out to his house for a social, as he and Jay-Lin were perfect hosts. Not many faculty can excel at teaching, research, industry, and administration, but Dave Topel was a success at each. While Dean Topel may have passed, his influence on ISU and animal agriculture will last forever. "

Sue and Greg Lamont wrote on Jul 27, 2022:

"Greg and I extend our sympathy to Jay-Lin and the rest of Dave's family. I will always remember Dave -- in addition to him being an outstanding researcher, teacher and administrator -- as a real "people person" . He was a strong ambassador for Iowa State. On a trip to China, he remembered my research and connected a potential graduate student with me. She became an outstanding Ph.D. student and continues to make excellent contributions to biomedical research, because Dave took the time and effort to make a connection. Sue Lamont"