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William "Bill" Straw

William "Bill" Straw, age 70, of New Hampton, IA died Saturday, February 23, 2019, at his home. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10:30 a.m. Friday, March 1, 2019, at Holy Family Parish, New Hampton with Rev. Brian Dellaert celebrating the Mass. Friends may greet the family 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. Thursday, February 28, 2019, at Hugeback - Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in New Hampton. Visitation continues an hour prior to the Mass at the church on Friday. Bill was born March 29, 1948, in New Hampton, IA, the son of Orville and Wilma (Weidler) Straw. He was the second of three boys. He attended school in New Hampton and was a 1966 graduate of the New Hampton High School. While he was in school, he was very active in sports, including baseball, football, and wrestling. Following high school, Bill attended the State College of Iowa, today’s UNI, where he was a member of the wrestling team. On May 3, 1969, he married the love of his life, Ruth Soukup at the UNI Chapel. To this union two daughters, Stephanie and Christine were born. The couple eventually returned to New Hampton and made it their life long family home. He began by working for Smith Construction before he went out on his own path. Bill first owned Straw’s Country Store and Pizza Kitchen which he and Ruth ran for close to eight years. Bill was a true entrepreneur operating a sign business, wild fur trading business, insurance agency and the New Hampton Golf and Country Club. In 1998 he designed and built what would become the stamp on his legacy, Chaffs Restaurant and Spirits. He owned and operated Chaffs for many years. Ruth was a true partner in all ways and a very large part in the success of the business. Bill and Ruth loved the relationships they formed with their customers at Chaffs. They enjoyed their time spent with them and their patronage. On June 25, 2006, his beloved Ruth passed on from cancer and in 2011 Bill retired. In his free time as a young man, Bill had a passion for the outdoors, especially fishing and hunting. Sports also played a large roll in Bill’s life. He was a devoted Iowa Hawkeyes and UNI Panthers fan and followed their wrestling teams religiously. Bill was a founding member of the UNI Athletic Club which helps fund many of their sports teams. Along with UNI and Iowa, he also followed his only grandson's sports career and was incredibly proud of all of his achievements. Bill was the self-proclaimed “Chairman” of the social hour. He loved meeting new people and striking up a conversation over a few drinks. He will be forever loved and missed by his many friends and family. Bill is survived by two daughters, Stephanie (Gary) Maske of Waterloo, and Christine Straw of Waterloo; two brothers, Larry (Lois) Straw of New Hampton, and Tom (Connie) Straw of New Hampton; one grandson, Carter Maske; three nieces, Tammy Straw, Tracy Straw, Sybil Soukup; five nephews, Brian Straw, Mitch Straw, Tony Straw, Hans Soukup, Zach Soukup; and many close friends whom he considered his family. He was preceded in death by his parents, Orville and Wilma and his wife, Ruth on June 25, 2006.

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Memories Timeline


  1. To the Straw FAMILY My deepest sympathies to you All Bill was A Awesome man now he can be with the love of his life Ruth

  2. My deepest sympathy to the family! Bill will always be remembered as the best boss anyone could ask for. He was so caring and fun. You could always count on him and Ruth for anything. Thinking of you all! Teresa Stevenson (as Bill called me “Little Girl”)

  3. All our thoughts and prayers to his family. May his memories console you in the next days. Jeanne and David Roder

  4. Bill and Ruth gave me my first job as a teenager at Chaff’s. He taught me then, if you were a person who said: “It’s not my job”, then you wouldn’t be a person with a job. That kind of work ethic, among the many other things I learned there will continue to serve me well in life. Thanks for the education, Bill. Rest easy again with your Ruthie.

  5. Bill was a dear friend and fraternity brother of mine from college at UNI. We’ve spent many great times together and we always enjoyed going to New Hampton to visit Ruth and him. Both of us are big wrestling fans and enjoy calling each other during the season to keep up on whose who in wrestling. Love you Bill, RIP.

  6. Our thoughts,prayers and sympathy to Chris,Steph and all of the Straw Family,Bill will be missed by many,we are so sorry for your loss. Tom and Marian Gebel

  7. My thoughts and prayers to the family of Bill. Bill and I were high school classmates and it was an honor to play football and baseball with him while in high school, however, the most important part was the friendship that we had growing up together in New Hampton. I always enjoyed seeing and talking with Bill whenever I came back to New Hampton. Bill was a great individual and will be greatly missed by everyone who he ever came in contact with in life.

    Darrel Lang

  8. It is with great sadness that we offer our condolences to the family on the passing of Bill. We hold dear to our hearts the fond and fun memories we have of both Bill and Ruth. We shared a lot of fun times. Bill was special as he touched so many. He will truly be missed. Hugs to you all. Gary, Terry & Courtney Ball

  9. My heart is broken at the death of my lifelong friend Bill Straw. We’ve been friends since kindergarten, laughing, playing, creating and telling stories! We were football, baseball, and wrestling teammates; roommates and fraternity brothers at UNI; and fishing and hunting buddies. Bill was more than a friend, he was like a brother. No matter where we lived, we managed to stay in constant contact. Bill was the one who ensured that was the case, as we talked just a week before he died. Bill was smart, ingenious and full of fun, but most of all, he was loyal to those he loved and cared about…a great trait. My son, Hans, recalled that Bill arranged the first time for him to shoot a gun…a very exciting experience and fond memory for Hans. I know my friend is happy now that he is with his beloved Ruth. I’m full of tears as I write this and will miss him immensely. Our conversations always ended – Goodbye my brother – love you – so goodbye my brother – I love you! Brad Stolz Please know a donation to the UNI Wrestling Club has been made in Bill’s honor.

  10. Stephanie and Christine, We are so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. We will not be able to attend any of the services as we will be on our way back from Florida. You are in our prayers and thoughts. Alice (Busta) and Bob Kuennen

  11. There are too many memories to treasure and remember that the Straw brothers gave us. Prayers to you all and so sorry for your lose. The Class of ‘67’ love you!

  12. My sympathy and love is extended to the Straw family. Bill was truly a gentleman who displayed an interest in my family and always genuinely provided caring concern. I am confident that Bill has been welcomed into God’s kingdom and reunited with Ruth. May God comfort you during this difficult time. Sharman Stolz Blake

  13. We are saddened by Bill’s death. He was a great man with a huge heart. We were all so fortunate to have him part of our lives. We will be missed by many. Our sympathy and love. Karla and Sammy

  14. Bill Straw was my lifelong best friend. He was always there to cheer me up and motivate me in my life. Bill was smart, fun and a very loyal friend to a great many people. I will miss our friendship as will those who knew Bill personally. The picture at left says it all. Bill was a special friend and person to many people and he will be sorely missed. God Bless you, Bill, and Thanks for all the memories. Love, Dan

  15. Our deepest sympathy and love is extended to the entire Straw family.
    Bill was truly a great friend; he always had genuine concern on how our family was doing. Bill certainly is happy now that he is reunited with Ruth in heaven.
    May God comfort you during this difficult time. Love and Hugs
    The Weiglein’s

  16. Our deepest sympathy to the entire Straw family! Bill was a great guy with a gentle, kind heart to everyone! Take comfort knowing he is finally with the love of his life! Hugs & prayers to you all! The Testroet’s

  17. Our deepest sympathies are extended to the entire Straw family. Bill was always a gentle giant and will be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. May peace be with you Greek!

    Paul and Patti Hibbs

  18. A most kind and gentle soul has gone to spend eternity with his beloved. May your memories embrace all of you during this difficult time. My deepest sympathies to the entire Straw family. Trish Blinstrub

  19. So very sorry for your loss of Bill. He was a great college friend. We were across the hall neighbors in Turner Hall at U.N.I. He will be dearly missed by MANY.
    Roger Hadley

  20. How do you write an apology for not always belonging or for not always being a member in good standing? I don’t know, but I do know that Bill was always a welcoming invitation for inclusion, and he was up for trying to find a solution for anyone needing a mentor, a comforter, confidant, or friend. Enough said. Rest in peace, Bill. Your spirit remains.

  21. So hard to lose a friend like Bill. He was a great friend and a fun loving guy. One of the most memorable moments we shared involved a pizza eating contest at a corner bar in Waverly. Let’s just say he won, sort of. So many laughs shared at UNI and beyond. He will be missed. Haven’t connected with Larry and Tom for a while, but want them and the rest of the family to know that they are in our thoughts and prayers. Kent and Jane Osboe t

  22. Gene and Kitty Luttrell So sorry to learn of Bills passing. It was my privilege to have coached him, and to have a strong relationship with his Dad [Orville) and Brothers Larry and Tom. Our condolences to the entire family. Gene and Kitty Luttrell

  23. Sorry to hear about Bill’s passing. Our condolences to the entire Straw Family. Bill and Alice Blazek

  24. We are so sad to hear of Bill’s passing. He will be greatly missed. Bill always would greet you with that epic smile! It was a symbol of his personality. Rest in peace and enjoy your reunion with Ruth.
    Our sympathies to the entire Straw family. Dennis and Sheryl Boos

  25. So sorry to hear about Bill’s passing, but such a sweet reunion with his Ruth! What a great man, who always had a friendly hello and a visit. Our sympathy to the entire Straw family. David and Terry Utterback

  26. We are so saddened to hear of Bills passing. Sympathy and prayers to all of the Straw family. Marge and Dave Mayo

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