Harold G. 'Hal' Nagel died Tuesday, March 8, 2022, at the age of 81, at Hays Medical Center in Hays, Kan.
Hal was born May 17, 1940, on the family farm near Natoma, Kan., to parents George Henry and Pauline (Hackerott) Nagel. He was brought up in the Lutheran Church. His childhood was spent exploring nature, getting to know the plants on the farm and stargazing on the roof of the chicken house, experiences which laid the foundation for his career in science.
After graduating from Natoma High School, he earned a bachelor's degree in biology and a master's degree in botany from Fort Hays State University. He received an assistantship to attend Kansas State University in Manhattan, where he earned a doctorate in entomology.
On Jan. 28, 1967, he married Glennis Carpenter at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Goodland, Kan. To this union a daughter, Anne, was born. They later divorced.
In 1968, he joined the biology department at Kearney State College, now known as the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK). Hal was the first professor to receive all three of the prestigious Pratt-Heins Awards, for research/scholarship (1986), service (1990) and teaching (1994), respectively, as well as the Leland Holdt/Security Mutual Life Distinguished Faculty Award (2004), which is awarded annually to outstanding teacher-scholars.
During his tenure at UNK, he served as chair of the Department of Biology and as president of Faculty Senate. He also helped establish AIM Environmental Group, a research organization for UNK science faculty. He retired from UNK in 2005.
Other service activities included being a charter board member of the Prairie Plains Resource Center, an organization established to preserve Nebraska prairies. He also served on the Crane Meadows Nature Center Board of Directors and was the first manager of the Willa Cather Memorial Prairie for the Nature Conservancy. The 612-acre Cather Prairie is located just south of Cather's hometown of Red Cloud, Neb. Hal also served as president of Big Bend Audubon Society, which helped defeat the proposed Mid-State Reclamation Project.
Survivors include daughter, Anne of Lincoln, Neb.; sister, Marvel Nelson of Blacksburg, Va.; and numerous nieces and nephews. Great-niece, Patty (Dale) Eickhoff of Natoma, Kan.; was his caregiver in his later years.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and two sisters, Arlene Scheffer and Lorene Kreft.
Graveside services will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, at the North Lutheran Cemetery in Natoma, with Pastor Michael Schmidt officiating.
Memorials are suggested to payable to the organization: Rowe Sanctuary, 44450 Elm Island Rd, Gibbon, Neb. 68840, online at act.audubon.org, or in care of the mortuary.
Services are entrusted Clines-Keithley Mortuary of Hays, 1919 East 22nd Street, Hays, Kansas 67601.
Condolences can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or on the online guestbook at www.keithleyfuneralchapels.com.