Livestock industry notes sudden passing of Angell |

Livestock industry notes sudden passing of Angell

William R. “Bill” Angell

1946 – 2022

William R. “Bill” Angell, who was well known throughout the agriculture industry has passed unexpectedly. Angell was born in Lansing, Mich., to Robert D. and Frances L. Angell on Aug. 24, 1946, and passed from this world on Jan. 27, 2022.

Angell was raised on a small farm in Michigan where he first acquired his love for agriculture. After graduating from East Lansing High School, he enrolled at Michigan State University where he would begin his lifetime involvement with the cattle industry. He was an avid evaluator of livestock and was a member of the livestock judging team at MSU where he had great success and always valued the instruction he received from his coach and lifelong friend, Dr. Harlan Ritchie. Upon graduation from MSU, Angell continued his education by earning master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin where his success in livestock judging continued, but this time as the coach. All the success he experienced as a coach paled in comparison to the most important thing he received while in Wisconsin and that was the introduction to the love of his life, Donna Zimmerman.

Bill and Donna were married on April 30, 1971, and spent the next 50 plus years together making a life of memories and leaving their mark on so many people. Shortly after their marriage, the couple moved to Lexington, Ky., where Bill coached the livestock judging team at the University of Kentucky and continued to impact many young people who would go on to do great things in the industry. Throughout his life, when Bill would recognize the potential a young person had to impact the industry or to achieve their goals, he was the first one to lend support and to share some of his expertise he had gathered along his journey. His willingness to take the time to share words of encouragement with people over the years was an invaluable gift to so many.

On April 17, 1973, Bill and Donna started their family with the birth of their first-born, Blake William. After two years at the University of Kentucky, Bill made a career change that would set in motion the next nearly 50 years of his professional life. In the fall of 1973, Bill moved his family to Pine Bluff, Ark., as he became a field man for the American Polled Hereford Association. This is where Bill’s love for the purebred side of the cattle industry was forged. He traveled throughout a four-state region, as well as nationally, working with Polled Hereford breeders assisting them with the marketing and promotion of their operations and conducting the business of the association.

While in Arkansas, Bill and Donna grew their family with the first blessing coming on Sept. 27, 1976, in the birth of their daughter Miki Renee. Just a short 13 months later, another blessing arrived in the birth of their third child on Oct. 29, 1977, with their daughter Marisa “Missy” Lynn.

In 1978, Bill and Donna moved their family to Colorado as Bill accepted a position with the Record Stockman newspaper. Bill loved working with seedstock operations and assisting them with their marketing and promotional strategies for their annual production sales. One of his most valued and loved contributions in this capacity was the ability to provide ringman services at these production sales. For those in the cattle business, Bill was a fixture ringside at production sales across the country for decades. He had a knack for figuring up the sale average within moments of the conclusion of any sale. Those who knew of this ability would seek him out to see how the sale ended up, because even in today’s world of computers, he was always the first one to have the averages tabulated.

After leaving the Record Stockman, Bill worked for Superior Livestock Auction for a number of years where he built the sale catalog, developed the advertising and promotional campaigns and generated the sale reports. However, Bill’s passion remained in the purebred side of the business and when he had the opportunity, he returned to that segment of the industry when he became the yards manager at the National Western Stock Show. Over the many years he was at NWSS, Bill’s contributions to the activities that took place “in the yards” were immeasurable. One of his contributions became an iconic glimpse of history when he constructed the “Wall of Champions” in the Livestock Center. It provided a visual tour to the past for all who viewed it. Bill’s most recent impact on the industry was known through his time as livestock manager at the Nebraska State Fair. Bill was hired when the fair moved to its new location in Grand Island and he played a pivotal role in advancing not only the Nebraska State Fair, but the incredible facilities, to one of the premiere livestock show venues in the country.

Bill gave a lifetime of service to the cattle industry and his contributions to it were vast. Bill was not one who looked for praise or recognition, but found joy and self-fulfillment in knowing the event he was involved with, whether it be a production sale or a national show, was as successful an event as possible and that he had done everything in his power to ensure the outcome. Based on his selfless nature and his kind soul, he was loved and cherished by so many he came in contact with over the years.

Of all his accomplishments, the one he was probably most proud of was being a grandpa. Bill was blessed to have four grandkids that he loved and adored. He attended any and all activities they were involved in and cherished spending time with each of them. He was a beloved grandpa who will be greatly missed.

Bill loved his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, his family, his countless friends, the cattle industry, his MSU Spartans and the United States of America, which he proudly served in the National Guard.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents, in-laws, sister-in-law, Lois and brother-in-law, David. He is survived by his wife of 50 plus years, Donna; son, Blake (Kirsten) Angell of Gove, Kan.; daughter, Miki (Steve) Kissler of LaSalle, Colo.; daughter, Missy (Amy) Angell of Greeley, Colo; brother, Richard (Leslie) Angell of Mich.; grandson, Tyler Kissler; granddaughter, Makayla Kissler; grandson, Seth Kissler; granddaughter, Brynnlee Angell; brother-in-law, Reg (Betty) Zimmerman of Wisconsin; sister-in-law, Barbara Zimmerman of Wisconsin; brother-in-law, Bill (Sharon) Zimmerman of Wisconsin; nephew, Nic (Shara) Angell of California; nephew, Kevin (Jenny) Angell of Michigan and numerous other brother-in-laws, sister-in-laws, nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life service will be held on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, at the First Presbyterian Church in LaSalle, Colo., at 1 p.m. and will be streamed live at A reception will follow at the church. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the First Presbyterian Church of LaSalle or to one of Bill’s favorite charities, St. Jude’s Children Hospital or The Wounded Warriors Project.


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