Northcrest Community

Philip Zaring

Philip Zaring

Philip B. Zaring, age 86, of Ames, passed away on April 30, 2019 at Northcrest Community in Ames.

Philip was born on July 29, 1932 to Byron Zaring and Florence Brewer Zaring in Soda Springs, ID. He moved frequently as a boy because his father worked in several western cities during the Depression, and served as a surgeon in the Army during World War 2. Byron and Florence eventually settled in Columbus, Indiana, where Philip graduated from high school. He received his BA from Indiana University in 1955, then traveled widely and served as a lieutenant in the Army after graduation. He earned his Ph.D. in history from Yale in 1966, where he completed his dissertation, “In Defense of the Past: The House of Lords, 1860-1886.”

Philip then joined the History Department at Iowa State University, where he taught until taking emeritus status in 1999. He loved teaching and reading about history, and relished challenging his students to open themselves to the humanities. Philip was also an art and architecture lover, meticulous gourmet cook, relentless gardener, passionate Democrat, and driver on epic family vacations in the West. 

He met Jane Thomas in graduate school and they married in Llanfabon, Wales in 1966. She survives him, as do his sons David (Jacoba Johnson), born in 1969, and Noah (Nhu An Tran), born in 1971, and four grandchildren, Elias and Phoebe (children of David), and Isabel and Philip (children of Noah). David joined his father’s profession, and now teaches financial regulation and administrative law at the Wharton School in Philadelphia. Noah became a diplomat, and is the Political Affairs Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam. 

Philip served on the board of Ames Town and Gown, and traveled widely on four continents. He lived in Ames from the time he joined Iowa State to his death, with the exception of a year spent studying the architecture of Wells Cathedral in Somerset, UK.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Philip’s name may be directed to St. John’s by the Campus Episcopal Church, or to Northcrest Community Foundation, 1801 20th Street, Ames, IA  50010.

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