Robert Field

Robert William "Bill" Field

1954 - 2022

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Obituary of Robert William Field

R. William “Bill” Field, Professor Emeritus at The University of Iowa College of Public Health died Friday, November 4, 2022, at The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics at the age of 68 from refractory mantle cell lymphoma.


A Celebration of Life service for Bill will be held at 11am, Saturday, November 19th, at New Life Community Church, 1703 2nd Street, Coralville. A private graveside service will be held at Oakland Cemetery in Iowa City. To share a thought, memory or condolence with his family please visit Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation website @ In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Bill’s memory to: Iowa Raptor Project Fund; The R. William Field Memorial Scholarship Fund (; or New Life Community Church.


Robert William Field was born January 31, 1954, in Lancaster, PA, the son of Arthur “Skip” and Jacqueline (Shade) Field. On January 7, 1978, Bill married Elizabeth Hirak in Lancaster, PA. The couple resided in Elizabethtown, PA at the time of the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear accident. Bill’s lifelong interest in the health effects of radiation began with his determination to measure the level of radioactive iodine released into the environment from TMI. His first scientific publication reported on his survey of the 131I levels in thyroids of meadow voles that he trapped around TMI and led to his MA degree in Biology from Millersville University. The couple moved to California in 1981, and Bill worked as a Health Physicist for the University of California, Berkeley until he suffered disabling encephalopathy from an accidental, work-related exposure to multiple neurotoxins. Upon moving to Iowa City in 1986 Bill devoted himself to raising their twins as he convalesced. Through Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Bill started taking graduate classes at The University of Iowa in 1989 and completed his PhD in Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health in 1994. Bill joined the faculty at The University of Iowa in 1998. After his retirement in January 2022, Bill continued research on radon-related health effects as Professor of Clinical Reproductive Sciences, Columbia University, New York.


Bill is recognized internationally for his expertise in radon and radiation health effects. He served on the Presidential Advisory Board for Radiation and Worker Health till his death. He served on other national and World Health Organization boards during his career. He established the Occupational Epidemiology Training Program at The University of Iowa College of Public Health. He worked with professional organizations to improve radon testing and to educate the public on health risks from radon. Above all, he was a compassionate mentor who delighted in guiding his students towards independent careers in public health.


Bill’s family includes his wife, Liz; their children, Daniel Field (Kristen Coleman), Kathryn Reasner (Richard Reasner) and David Field; five grandchildren, Riley, Haley, Emmett, Aiden and Aubree; brother, Samuel Field (Carol Field); niece, Michelle and nephew, Mike.



Celebration of Life

11:00 am
Saturday, November 19, 2022
New Life Community Church
1703 2nd Street
Coralville, Iowa, United States