Elinor Lee Otis Fehr

Honored by:Walter R. Fehr
Brick location:C:8  map

Elinor Lee Otis Fehr is honored for dedicated service to her family and community. She was born in Manhattan, Kansas, where her father was a faculty member at Kansas State University. Shortly after her birth, her father joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota and the family moved to St. Paul. Elinor attended the University of Minnesota and obtained her B.S. degree with a major in home economics. After graduation she and her husband, Walter, spent two years teaching school in the Republic of Zaire. Elinor taught English and home economics.

After completion of the term in Africa, her husband entered graduate school at Iowa State University, where he remained as a faculty member after graduation. Elinor was the mother of three children; Susan, Steven and Kevin. Each of them graduated from Iowa State University with honors. Their success was due to the unequivocal love and support of their mother.

Elinor chose not to seek a job outside of the home so that she could devote full time to her children and husband. She was available whenever they needed a sympathetic listener, counselor, teacher, typist, taxi driver, nurse or friend. She taught her children the importance of caring, compromise, respect and love. They did not go to bed at night without kissing their mother good night, even if they came home from a party in the early morning hours.

Elinor was a real mom. Elinor was a dedicated wife and friend to her husband. By taking care of the responsiblities at home, she made it possible for him to do his best at Iowa State University. She spent countless hours of volunteer work assisting him in research, teaching and administration. She was the illustrator for an extension bulletin on soybean development that has been used throughout the world. She illustrated a text on plant breeding. When she and her husband traveled to professional meetings, it was not uncommon for people to introduce themselves and thank her for the illustrations that made the scientific information easier to understand. In her own quiet way, she was an outstanding educator. Her talents were given generously to community organizations.

She served as a volunteer assistant at the Northwood Elementary School, where she helped children with reading, spelling and computer education. Part of the work with her husband involved conducting biotechnology education programs throughout Iowa and she shared that expertise with the elementary students. She was an active member of the First Baptist Church of Ames and served in many different capacities. Elinor is honored for making the world a better place through her unselfish service to others.