Charles Thoen

December 18, 1936May 8, 2017
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Dr. Charles O. Thoen, 80, passed away Monday, May 8, 2017, at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames, Iowa. Visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m., until 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 16, 2017, at Stevens Memorial Chapel (607 28th St. Ames, IA 50010). Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, May 17, 2017, at Stevens Memorial Chapel. Burial will be Thursday at Henrytown Cemetery in Canton, Minnesota.

Charles Orel Thoen was born December 18, 1936, in Harmony, Minnesota to Carl and Brominnie Thoen. He grew up and was educated in Harmony. Charles received his Bachelor of Science in Biology and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees from the University of Minnesota before receiving his Doctor of Philosophy from the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota. Charles was married and had two children, Tyler and Tricia. The family moved to Ames where Charles did research for the U.S. Department of Agriculture before becoming a Professor in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventative Medicine at Iowa State University in 1978, where he was currently still working.

In his time with Iowa State University, Dr. Thoen has received many distinguished honors and awards, He was invited to the annual convention of the American Veterinary Medical Association where he received the James H. Steele Gold Head Cane Award for his achievements in 2009. He authored or co-authored over 130 publications on mycobacteria and mycobacterial diseases, along with textbooks that have been used for teaching; along with being a Honorary Diplomate of the American Veterinary Epidemiology Society. Dr. Thoen also served on many councils and committees throughout his career, serving as the Department Chair of the Veterinary Microbiology, College of Veterinary Medicine at ISU from 1997 to 2001.

Charles was a member of Memorial Lutheran Church in Ames. He enjoyed many outdoor activities, including golfing and being on the farm. He also liked to attend ISU basketball games at Hilton and any of his grandchildren's events they had going on.

Charles is survived by his two children: Tyler (Kim) Thoen of Ames, Iowa and Tricia (Rodney) Biensen of Nevada, Iowa; he is also survived by his grandchildren: Justin, Taylor, Olivia, Natalie and Jordan Thoen and Leah, Caleb and Luke Biensen. Charles is preceded in death by his parents, a brother and sister and his female companion, Martha.

Online condolences and memories may be shared on Charles' page at


  • Visitation

    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

  • Funeral Service

    Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Charles Thoen

have a memory or condolence to add?

Todd Jahr

July 24, 2017

Tyler and Kim;

I was so sad to hear of the passing of Doc. I have so many wonderful memories of him on the golf course and basketball court. I'm sure he and Fred are having a cold one up in heaven. Take care my friend!

Tom Greenwald

June 3, 2017

I remember Charles coming to baseball games. He was such a good grandfather to Justin who played on the same team as our son. I didn't know him well, but know he was a great father to his son and my friend, Tyler.

Dr. Tom Greenwald

Hildegard Huchzermeyer

May 31, 2017

I have served as a member on the Research Committee Tuberculosis in Animals of the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases while Charles was chairman.
He guided and helped us in many ways to become a rather interesting group of veterinarians from many parts of the world. We attended numerous conferences with him in different parts of the world. Charles visited South Africa to attend a Tuberculosis conference in Pretoria in 1994 and at the same time visited the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute. While in Pretoria he was guest in our house in the countryside outside Pretoria. Here he very much enjoyed the South African trees and animals.
His passing has left me very sad and I would like to offer my deep condolences to Charles family.
Hildegard Huchzermeyer, retired from the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute

Jackie and Kel Ruther

May 29, 2017

My husband and I rent a home from Charles. He was always understanding, kind, and loved giving our dog pets when he came to discuss anything. We'd see him walking the neighborhood with his own dog and he was always happy and smiling. We've rented from Charles for 5 years and a big part of why we stay is because of his kindness. Our thoughts go out to his family during this sad time. He will be greatly missed.

Louis O'Reilly

May 21, 2017

I collaborated with Charles for many years when he was Chairman and I was secretary of the Research Committee on Tuberculosis is Animals of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.We attended conferences for very many years in various parts of the globe.
Charles was a valuable colleague and friend to myself and the other Committee members.Some of these former members have contacted me on hearing of Charle's passing .
On my own behalf and and also on behalf these former colleagues,I wish to offer our heartfelt condolences to Charle's family.

May 19, 2017

So sorry to hear of Charles' passing. We farm near him and got to know him quite well. He was so interesting as he talked about his work. Our heartfelt condolences to all of his family. Robert Gulbranson

Melissa Abrams Caulfield

May 18, 2017

I only knew Dr. Thoen in the last year or so through the Mayo Clinic Alumni Assocation - I wrote a story about him. He called me occasionally, including only a month ago, and was such a kind person. I hope his beloved dog is in good hands.

Bryan Bellaire

May 17, 2017

My deepest sympathies to Dr. Charles Thoen's family. I have had the great honor of calling him a colleague where he exemplified a sincere passion for both science and teaching. His contributions to both will always be remembered and cannot be replaced.

Roxanne Johnson

May 16, 2017

Our heartfelt sympathy to the family. We had the pleasure to get to know Charles and enjoyed many visits. Charles will be dearly missed and fondly remembered by all who where fortunate to have met him.
Our thoughts and prayers are with your family.
Roxanne Johnson

Gabriel Trueba

May 16, 2017

Dr. Thoen was a great professor and excellent mentor. He was always ready to help students, especially those coming from overseas.