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In the fall of 1946, a young woman named Elsie K. Kimbrell came to Iowa State University to pursue a master's degree in home economics. That young woman, who soon became known as "Kim," finished her degree and then remained to become a major contributor to Iowa State University, the Ames community, and the field of home economics.
Kim's beginnings were on a farm in North Missouri. One of seven children who grew up in the Depression era, she learned first-hand the real meaning of home economics. After completing high school at Glenwood, Missouri, she enrolled at what was then known as Kirksville State Teachers College (now Northeast Missouri State University). There she received a bachelor's of science in home economics education in 1943.
Teaching has always been a primary focus for Kim. She began her career as a high school home economics teacher. When she came to Iowa State, she became involved in extension teaching, going out into the community to teach young women in programs like 4-H modern home economics techniques and technologies. One of her greatest pleasures was talking to parents of young women who chose to study home economics at Iowa State because of her influence through the extension program.
In Ames, she met Dale Williams, a local farm news and sports broadcaster. Married in 1947, they reared two children, Mary Lou and Kyle.
After her marriage, Kim left full-time extension work in order to be at home more often with her family. In 1957, she began to teach in the Iowa State University Textiles and Clothing Department. Her assignments were often in apparel design and pattern making. Her greatest interest was in the design and construction of children's clothing, in which area she cooperated in producing several publications and videotapes. During her last years in the department, she was a major force in turning attention toward production management in the clothing industry.
Kim's 38 years of service to the university have been rewarding to her. In 1979, she was honored with the Faculty Citation, and in 1981, she was named Outstanding Teacher in the College of Home Economics.
Since her retirement, she has continued to be a valuable contributor to the university, to the college, and to the cause of higher education. Her most important service to the college (now known as the College of Family and Consumer Sciences) has been as chair of the Development Fund. Her service to her extended family, including four grandchildren, has included warm and enthusiastic support for education and career.
Kim's academic career has been enhanced by her strong interests in other areas. An active church member, a dependable volunteer worker, and an avid golfer, her kind heart and active spirit have endeared her both to her family and to the community in which she lives.
Mary Lou Williams Linder