Elda Margaret Powers Kyles

Honored by:Julie Margaret Turpen & Thresa Jean Burds
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Elda Margaret Powers was born on August 20, 1901, in Rockwell City, Iowa. She graduated from Rockwell City High School. At a time when few women continued their education, she went on to receive her teaching certificate from Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa. She began teaching in Moorland Iowa and quickly became the superintendent.

On August 16, 1920, she married Joseph S. Kyles. They settled in Rockwell City, Iowa, and established their family of three children: Patricia, Frank, and Margaret.

In 1944, Elda Kyles began work as a bookkeeper at the Iowa State Women’s Reformatory. In addition to her work as bookkeeper, she assisted Dr. Paul Van Meter in his treatment of the inmates. Under his training, she passed the state boards to become an LPN. She eventually became superintendent of the Women’s Reformatory and served in that position for many years. As superintendent, she received numerous awards from the state of Iowa, and served as a representative of the Board of Control of State Institutions at several national conferences.

Elda Kyles retired in 1966 and continued to live in Rockwell City, Iowa, until her death on May 6, 1974. Elda Kyles was our grandmother. Her youngest daughter, Margaret Kyles Thompson, is our mother. As the matriarch of our family during our formative years, Grandma provided us with leadership, moral counsel, and a love for God, education, and knowledge...a woman ahead of her own time. To us, she possessed the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of Job. The example she set, both in her work and personal life, led us to attempt and attain goals we never would have achieved. Because of her, our lives have a full and rich meaning.

Submitted on 7/1/96