Wade Nicodemus has long been respected for his life’s work. The teacher who spent all but the first year of his 30 year career at Mason City High School was one of those rare instructors who manage to earn the love and respect of students while demanding they perform at the highest level of their capability.
Successful students of “Mr. Nic” and those who remember their time with him favorably can be found all over the world, and they certainly populate this community. He has always felt blessed by the number of students who have come back to thank him and to share their own successes.
Now, one of his students from back in the day has found a unique way of honoring the science teacher who helped start him on his way to a highly successful career.
Steve Wunderle, retired Professor of Biology at John A. Logan College in Carterville, has developed and patented a new flower–a daylily–which will be sold world-wide. It bears the name of “Mr. Nic.”
Nicodemus’ wife, Lois, was present when the professor made the presentation. “It was quite touching. Steve said, ‘I wanted to do this for you because you are the reason I went into science and became a teacher.’”
Nicodemus remembers Steve Wunderle as a serious student with a love for the outdoors. “Anytime Steve was absent from school, I knew he was out hunting,” he says. “I never turned him in because I knew the outdoors was where he really wanted to spend his life.” Wunderle graduated Mason City High School in 1959.
In addition to his professorial career, Wunderle is a celebrated outdoorsman, with several books on fishing on the market.
Daylilies are perennial plants. The name refers to the flowers, which typically bloom for no more than 24 hours.
The “Mr. Nic” daylily is not on the market yet. Wunderle presented one to Wade Nicodemus, and a second to the Mason City Christian Church, where the Nicodemus’ are members. That plant now resides in the church’s memorial garden. “It really is a beautiful yellow flower,” Nicodemus says with pride.