Posts Tagged: Winneshiek

Probituary, A Notice of Life: Phyllis Green

phyllis-greenPhyllis Green, interviewed by daughter Pat Beck

People around Decorah know Phyllis Green as a bridge player, club member, cookie baker, reliable volunteer, teacher and loyal friend. These qualities, plus a cheerful outlook, and a pragmatic can-do attitude have had a positive effect on people who have known her over eight decades. Phyllis was born August 16, 1928, and grew up on the Erickson family farm near Burr Oak. Though it was during the Great Depression, her life was rich with farm activities, 4-H, church, a sister, cousins, chores, and her pets. She learned the rewards of hard work, of challenging herself, of true love, and of giving.

phyllis_siblingsPhyllis lived in Decorah during her high school years because there were no school buses. She made this big transition shortly after she turned 13; she shared a room with people she didn’t know, cooked for herself, and was introduced to running water and electricity. Decorah High School offered High School Normal Training to prepare teachers for country schools. Phyllis’s long teaching career led to recognition as Scott County Teacher Award, North Scott Community Arts Patron, Iowa Social Studies Teacher of the Year, University of Iowa Distinguished Teacher Award, and The 51st Point of Light given by President Bush.

What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?

I am rather averse to advice. I learn by example. My mother taught me to try new things because that’s how you learn if you can do them or not.

What is the worst advice anyone ever gave you?

Since this is not a part of my thinking, I usually count on my own ideas – sometimes good and sometimes questionable. Isn’t that how you learn?

What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was in second grade, my teacher showed me the love and understanding that touched and impressed me. It was in second grade that I set my goal to become a teacher.

When I finished high school, I taught two years in a country school. Then I married K. Ted Green, my life partner. We have five beautiful children. When they were all in school, I started college and completed my degree at Upper Iowa University. Because of Ted’s job with Oscar Mayer, we moved to the Quad Cities. I taught at North Scott Schools for 25 years. Living just 50 miles from The University of Iowa was incentive to continue my education. I completed my MA in two areas and was accepted in the doctoral program. Ted knew I wanted to further my education and he made this dream a reality by his complete support, encouragement, and understanding. These were the building blocks that made my dreams come true. I’ve always been curious about people and places. Ted and I enjoyed foreign travel so this was a part of our yearly plan.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you?

I’d want lots of pictures of our family – children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, a good book, paper and a pencil, and a Hershey Bar. I know that is more than three things, but I usually get what I want.

Try to describe yourself in one sentence.

I am a hard worker, an honored wife, a loved mom, grandma, and great-grandma.

If you could eat anything everyday for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A Hershey chocolate bar.

Name one thing you could not live without.

I need a pencil and paper to record my feelings, my wishes, my poetry, my dreams, my stories, my ideas, and to communicate with family and friends – but if I can really have only ONE thing, it would be my family.

phyllis_ted_weddingTell us about your favorite memory.

I will never forget meeting Ted. I was at the county fair when a friend introduced us. He was the county boys’ 4-H president and I was the county girls’ 4-H president but we had never met. I finished high school, taught two years and Ted went to Madison to start his career.

Our wedding day started 63 years of “favorite memories.” We were married at Upper Lutheran Church and had our wedding reception at the Winneshiek Hotel.  We were blessed with four sons and one daughter. Each birth, baptism, confirmation, graduation, wedding have added to our favorite memories.

Also our 60th wedding party, planned by our children, was also held at the Hotel Winneshiek. I have so much to be grateful for!

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Donating to the Longest Loop

LongestLoop_Logo_BlackThank You so much for your interest in donating to the Longest Loop Fundraiser.

100% of donations to this project will go to the Winneshiek County Conservation Board to fund the purchase of the Neste Valley Recreational Area.

The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation is the lead partner in the purchase of Neste Valley Recreational Area, which will transfer to Winneshiek County upon fundraising completion (expected by 2017). INHF accepts online gifts for the project, and your full gift is applied directly to Neste Valley on behalf of Winneshiek County Conservation. Your Longest Loop donation is a tax-deductible qualified charitable contribution.

To donate to the Longest Loop Fundraiser:

  1. Please visit https://secure.donationpay.org/inhf/
  2. In the Drop Down Box Labeled “Purpose of Gift” click and select “Neste Valley/Dry Run Trail”
  3. Complete your transaction via Credit Card.
  4. Feel our immense gratitude as you help fund an amazing outdoor resource to our region!

<<< CLICK HERE TO DONATE >>>

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***If you are unable to give via Credit Card on the INHF website you may also mail a check with a note specifying your donation to the Longest Loop Fundraiser with “Neste Valley / Dry Run Trail” in the memo.

Mail Checks to:
Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
505 5th Avenue, Ste. 444
Des Moines, IA 50309-2321

Questions about your donation? Contact Stacy at INHF: snelson@inhf.org or 515-288-1846 ext 21.

For other options or questions about the Longest Loop Fundraiser please contact Benji Nichols at benji@iloveinspired.com or 563-379-6315.

The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation protects and restores Iowa’s land, water and wildlife. Neste Valley is one of more than 1,000 places this member-supported nonprofit organization has helped private landowners and public agencies to permanently protect. Plus they’ve blazed the way in establishing Iowa’s trails. If you’re new to INHF, they’ll provide full member benefits in gratitude for your donation to Longest Loop.

Thank You for supporting this project!

Live Generously: Larry Grimstad

Larry Grimstad“I’m just a banker with a passion for renewable energy,” Larry Grimstad says, in typical humble fashion.

In truth, the longtime Decorah resident is much more than that. He’s a highly respected community leader who has spent well more than a decade working to reduce his carbon footprint on the world and educate others on the importance of doing the same.

“We need renewable energy – wind, solar, and geothermal – and some of us have just got to take the initiative so others will come along,” he told the Des Moines Register in 2012 when asked about his efforts to promote environmental sustainability in Winneshiek County.

Larry, who served as president of Decorah Bank and Trust from 1978 to 2002, put those words into action three years ago when, through his company Decorah Solar Field, he partnered financially with Luther College to erect a $1.2 million array of 1,250 solar panels along Pole Line Road on the north edge of the college’s campus. The eye-catching array provides the bulk of the electricity used by Baker Village, a student-housing cluster that also uses clean energy (geothermal) for heating and cooling.

“I spent my career as a community banker so it’s a natural thing to figure out ways to help build good things for the community,” he says of investing in the array. “The more of that you do, the more you to want to do even more.”

Not surprisingly, Larry is just as generous with his time. He currently serves as board treasurer of four organizations – First Lutheran Church, Seed Savers Exchange, the Oneota Film Festival, and the Winneshiek Energy District – while also participating in events like the recent Decorah Energy Extravaganza that help educate the community about the myriad benefits of clean energy. The event showcased 10 solar-powered homes, including the one he built with his wife, Diane, in the early 2000s.

“It’s my responsibility to my grandchildren,” he replies when asked what drives his seemingly tireless efforts to leave this place in better shape than when he found it. “I have to do what is right for them and their generation.”

– by Sara Friedl-PutnamLarryGrimstadGraphic

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