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Bock, Edward J.

Published onJul 30, 2021
Bock, Edward J.

(Sept. 1, 1916 - July 31, 2004)

Quick Facts

Edward J. Bock was a former Iowa State All-America lineman who was the leader of the Cyclones' famed 1938 football team. He was Iowa State’s first member of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame before going on to a career at Monsanto Chemical Company, where he retired as President and CEO.


Edward J. Bock was born Sept. 1, 1916, in Fort Dodge, Iowa, the son of Maude (Juday) and Edward Bock. He was on the honor roll and senior class president at Fort Dodge High School. In 1938, he graduated from Iowa State College (now University) and earned a master's degree in mechanical engineering in 1940.

While in college, Bock was in the engineering honors fraternity Tau Beta Pi, served as president of Sigma Chi fraternity and was also a member of ASME and Cardinal Key.

Bock had an outstanding record as a lineman, playing both offense and defense, for Iowa State. He is considered the greatest guard in Iowa State history. Bock started at guard in all 26 games of his college career and earned all-Big Six Conference honors all three years of his collegiate playing experience. He was co-captain of the great 1938 team which finished 7-1-1 and is ranked among the best Cyclone teams in school history.

In 1938, Bock was a consensus All-American guard. He was selected to the first team of The Associated Press All-America squad as a senior that season. Bock also played in the East-West Shrine Game, the Chicago Tribune College All-Star Game and the Dallas Dream Game at the Cotton Bowl against the Green Bay Packers. Upon graduation, Bock was offered a contract to play professional football for the Chicago Bears. He opted to stay at Iowa State and coach the line while working on his master's degree.

As a result of his football and academic achievements, Bock received the Sports Illustrated Silver Anniversary Award in 1963. He was subsequently inducted into the Dodger Hall of Fame, the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame, as well as the Iowa State (charter member) and Des Moines Register Halls of Fame. He received the Significant Sig Award in 1971 and the Anson Marston Award in Engineering from Iowa State in 1972.

Bock began his career with Monsanto Chemical Company in 1941. He retired in 1972 as President and CEO. While with Monsanto, Bock and his wife lived in Anniston, Ala., Trenton, Mich., and Columbia, Tenn., before moving to St. Louis in 1956. He visited many of Monsanto's locations abroad (Ireland, England, France, Italy, Spain, South America, Japan and Mexico) and most of the plants in the U.S. During Ed's presidency, Monsanto was the second largest chemical company in the nation with 64,000 employees and $1.6 billion in annual sales. He attended the advanced business management program at Harvard University.

Bock continued his corporate leadership after he retired from Monsanto. He was chairman and CEO of Cupples Company Manufacturing from 1975-1985. He served on the board of Metro YMCA and was Chairman of Deaconess Hospital. He was also a board member of Civic Progress, Meyer Blanke Corp., the Junior Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club. Bock was a former Trustee of Ladue Chapel. Until his passing, he served on the board of directors of Harbour Group, Ltd., a St. Louis private investment corporation. In addition, the former Cyclone was a past president of Old Warson Country Club, a member of the St. Louis and Bogey Clubs as well as Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club in Orlando, Fla.

Bock had varied interests and hobbies which he enjoyed throughout his life. He became an amateur radio operator in 1931 at the age of 15, and remained active with the call letters WØBB. He was a member of "the world famous Fort Dodge net," consisting of amateur radio operators he had known since high school.

Bock earned his pilot's license while in college and, with a small group of friends, bought an airplane. He taught ground school classes. He also enjoyed hunting, boating, water skiing, computers, poetry, collecting clocks, making lamps and bolo ties, and most especially, playing golf.

Bock, was married to Ruth Kunerth Bock, his college sweetheart and wife of 62 years. They had four children. Bock passed away in St. Louis on July 31, 2004. He was 87. 

Bock will be remembered for his devotion to his family and friends, his leadership and integrity, his courage in adversity and his sense of humor.

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