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Arlene Fielweber was a young woman ahead of her time. Although she was born in 1917 and came of age in the Depression, she refused to allow economic circumstances to stand in her way of obtaining an education. After working for several years for a Fort Dodge doctor, she saved enough money to continue her education in Minneapolis at Northwest Institute of Medical Technology, where she became a licensed medical technician. After graduation and an internship in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, she moved back to Iowa where she worked in the medical clinic at an ordinance plant in Budington and later in a Burlington Hospital. During her off-hours, she enjoyed floating down the Mississippi in an inflatable raft with her roommate.
After marrying Maynard Tapps and moving to his family farm south of Manson, she immersed herself in the active life of a farm wife, helping with the chores and giving birth to two daughters, Connie in 1947 and Susan in 1950. After the girls were in school the house, seemed pretty quiet and Arlene felt the urging many women in America felt twenty years later--to get out of the house and do something. Recognizing Arlene’s need to use her education and his need for a laboratory in his clinic to shorten the time required for diagnoses in a town without a hospital, Dr. C.R. Wilson, the family's physician, invited her to be his medical technician. Arlene worked in the Wilson clinic for twenty years.
Although Arlene was certainly busy maintaining a home and working, she also became involved in public service as a volunteer. For fifteen years she served on the Calhoun County Home Economics Extension Committee and the Calhoun County Cancer Society, chairing both committees during part of her tenure. She also served on and was chair of the County Farm Bureau Women's Committee and the Calhoun County Republican Women's Committee. She helped organize the Young Republicans of Calhoun County, a group of high school students who actively campaigned for State Representative Billy Winkelman, and she chaperoned many fund-raising GOP Hops (teen-age dances). To this day she serves as her party's volunteer at her precinct each election day.
Arlene also served her church as chairman of her circle of the Lutheran Women's Missionary Society, as a Sunday School teacher, and as a member of the choir. She continues to be active in her church's circle activities and is also a member of the Manson Women's Club and the Manson Garden Club.
As adult women with our own families and busy lives we honor our mother with this tribute, not only for the service she gave to others outside our home, but also for the love and support she and our father gave to us despite their busy schedules. We always left the house after a warm breakfast in coats and boots warmed by the furnace, we always had a full cookie jar of homemade treats in the kitchen, we always had a warm car waiting to take us to 4-H meetings, and each Sunday morning we awoke to homemade coffeecake baked the previous Thursday, Mom's day-off. We do not remember any event during high school or college in which we were involved that Mom and Dad did not attend. In a way Mom and Dad both graduated from Iowa State vicariously through their daughters. As a result of our parents' encouragement and Mom's remarkable role model as a woman involved in several spheres of life at once we always felt that we could accomplish anything we set our minds to do.
Susan Tapps Rieder '72
Constance Tapps Ringlee '70
Submitted on 2/13/95