Ruppert Rudolph Hunziker

Ruppert Rudolph Hunziker (1923-2003) was an American soil chemist who contributed to soil chemistry throughout the United States (primarily practicing in Florida and California), Iraq, and Egypt. He served as a unit commander in the 784th Tank Battalion in the Battle of the Bulge, and the Rhineland, Ardennes and Central Europe operations.
Family Life
Dr. Ruppert R. "Woody" Hunziker was born December 22, 1923 in Montverde, Florida to John William Hunziker and Lydia Belle Suman. His siblings include Karl Luther, Clara Belle (Baker), Helen Marian, and John Harold.. During his college years, he earned the nickname "Woody" from his habit of hitting tennis balls with the wooden part of the tennis racquet. In 1955, he met his future wife, Judy, while both were working in Iraq and Woody was planning a trip to Jerusalem. Woody and Judy married 10 April 1956 in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1962, the family moved to California for a "temporary" job and never left, except to work in Egypt for several years. Ruppert married Judith Morris, and the two raised four children, Helen, Suzanne, Robin, and Wendy. Ruppert was very involved with the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.
World War II
Ruppert graduated from Officer Candidate School at Fort Knox, Kentucky on September 23, 1944. After assisting the K9 Corps, Woody participated as unit commander in the 784th Tank Battalion in the Battle of the Bulge as well as the Rhineland, Ardennes and Central Europe operations. On April 18, 1946, he was appointed to be Second Lieutenant, Field Artillery. Soon thereafter, while traversing a mine field, his field sargeant was killed and Ruppert sustained combat-ending injuries. On May 24, 1946, Woody was honorably discharged from the Army, receiving various honors including the Purple Heart.
Soil Chemistry
Woody was raised on a citrus orchard in central Florida and participated in local agricultural organizations. In 1940, he graduated from Clermont-Minneola High School (Clermont, Florida) and received a scholarship to the University of Florida. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida, with B.S.A. (Soils), on May 25, 1942.
After World War II, he attended the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts and received a Master of Science (Soil Fertility) on August 27, 1949. His masters thesis was on Phosphorus Fractions of Oats, Alfalfa and Manures. From 1952 through 1955, Woody worked with Knappen Tippetts Abbett McCarthy, Engineers in Iraq, performing soil surveys and developing "Irrigability Land Classification of the Babil Extension Area, Hillah Canal System, Euphrates River". Woody returned to Iowa State College where he studied, worked as a graduate research assistant, and, on 21 Mar 1958, received a Ph.D., Soil Fertility and Chemistry. His thesis was Degradation of Soils and Micaceous Minerals by the Removal of Potassium with Sodium Tetraphenylboron.
After graduation, Dr. Hunziker was heavily involved with citrus production in the Indian River area, working at the Indian River Field Laboratory in Fort Pierce, Florida.. In 1963, Dr. Hunziker moved to California to operate a laboratory at John Taylor Fertilizer in Sacramento, California and assist farmers regarding a multitude of crops throughout California, including rice, alfalfa, orchards, and grapes. Dr. Hunziker was one of the first agronomists to warn of increasing soil salinity levels due to irrigation waters that were not adequately drained. Dr. Hunziker also became one of the recognized soil nutritionists especially in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. In the mid-1980's, Dr. and Mrs. Hunziker lived in Kafr el-Sheikh, Egypt, where Dr. Hunziker was the agronomy program co-leader at the Egypt Rice Institute and introduced new techniques of rice production in the Nile Delta. Upon his return, Dr. Hunziker assisted the California Department of Water Resources, protecting the Suisun Marsh from salinity intrusion.
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