Clara Steen Skott

Honored by:Signe Cooper
Brick location:C:14  map

Clara Skott (1888-1994)

Clara Belle (Steen) Skott was a homemaker, teacher, community leader, and writer. A native Iowan she was graduated from Iowa State College (now University) in 1915. She taught in rural schools in Iowa before her marriage to Hans Skott in 1917. They had four children: Hilda, Signe, Kathryn, and Frank.

Wherever she lived, she was active in her church. As a member of the Methodist Church, she often served as Sunday School superintendent and teacher, and as president of the women's guild and chairperson of various committees.

Clara began her writing career by contributing occasional articles to the CEDAR RAPIDS GAZETTE and the DES MOINES REGISTER and to the MAQUOKETA SENTINEL while living with her young family on a Jackson County farm. Her writing helped eke out the family income during the troubled years of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The family moved to Wisconsin in 1937, and she continued her pattern of writing and community service. For many years she contributed a weekly column for the local newspaper, the MIDDLETON TIMES-TRIBUNE. She also wrote occasional feature articles for the Madison newspapers.

She was an active Red Cross volunteer, especially during World War II, served as a 4-H club leader, was president of the local women's club, served on the library board, and was active in the PTA .

Two of her children served in the military during World War II. Her three daughters completed Masters degrees, and subsequently taught at the college level.

In 1946 she went to pre-Communist China where her husband held a post with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Association. While there, she taught home economics in a girls' school in Shanghai. After returning home, she taught home economics for a year in the high school in Muscoda, Wisconsin. She was one of the organizers of the Middleton Senior Citizens in 1956, and for the next 16 years served as its volunteer director. She served a short time as the librarian in the local library, was a charter member of the Middleton Historical Society, and was active in the League of Women Voters. For her many contributions to the community she was designated the first recipient of the "Service to Mankind” award of the Middleton Sertome Club (1965).

She continued writing after she moved to the Methodist Retirement Center in Madison in 1976. Here she edited its monthly publication, THE CENTER POST, for five years, and continued to get short poems published in the local newspaper until she was well into her 90s.

Clara Skott was an inspiration, an exemplar, and a role model to her children and the persons with whom she worked.

Submitted on 5/9/94