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We are proud to honor Eva H. Lettow in the Plaza of Heroines for her inspiration of life to her family and service to others. Eva Harms was born Dec. 3, 1912, the daughter of Henry and Cena Harms, and received her education in Alden, Iowa. Her desire for education and teaching led her to Iowa State University, where she majored in Home Economics.
Eva taught in a country school and then in Buckeye High School, Buckeye, Iowa. She married W. 0. “Spud” Lettow on June 20, 1937. They lived in Buckeye, where they started a feed milling business and began their devotion to their family, which eventually included two children. A fire which destroyed the feed mill forced them to rebuild their lives. In 1945, they began a new career in farming together when they moved to a farm between Alden and Buckeye.
Eva’s belief in support to the family always came first in her life. Eva was very proficient in all areas of homemaking. Both of her children followed their mother’s footsteps to Iowa State. Avis, their first child, was born in 1938 and graduated from Alden High School and Iowa State University. Their son Dennis, born in 1943, also graduated from Alden High School and Iowa State University. Eva served as a 4-H leader and a member of the Hardin County Extension Council. In support of international understanding, Eva and Spud were host parents to an International Farm Youth Exchange delegate from Germany and both Avis and Dennis were IFYE delegates to foreign countries.
As President of the Alden Parent-Teacher Association during times of growth and change in education in small towns, Eva was instrumental in the redistricting of the Alden Community Schools and supported the building of a major expansion of the school building. Church and church activities at the Alden Methodist Church provided an opportunity to serve and to set an example for her family and others. Voice, piano and clarinet rounded out her musical talents. She used her talent to encourage her family participation in music events.
Retirement from farming after their children graduated from college offered a new beginning for service. They left their farm and moved into the town of Alden, where they worked together in the operation of the local lumbar yard.
Eva and Spud became active in Lions Clubs of Iowa through the Alden Lions Club by serving Iowa District 9X8 and traveling throughout Iowa and the world for Lionism. They participated in international meetings in Japan, Mexico, Australia, Taiwan and numerous conferences in the United States. Eva supported the work of the Lions even though membership was that of a “men’s” organization. Seeing the desire and involvement of other women in Lions Clubs, she initiated an organization called Lioness Clubs of Iowa. Under her leadership and presidency, Lioness Clubs grew in the number of local clubs in membership and in recognition by holding their own state convention. She also counseled other states to form Lioness Clubs. Eva always encouraged a close connection between Lions International and the Lioness Clubs organization. In recognition of her efforts which exemplified the Lions Clubs motto “We Serve,” Eva was honored with the highest honor that can be presented by the Lions Club International Foundation, the Melvin Jones Fellowship award given for “a person’s commitment to humanitarian service.” She was presented a plaque and lapel pin, and her name is entered on a database accessible to visitors at Lions International Headquarters in Chicago.
Eva inspired those who knew her not only in family and service throughout her life but by the strength she showed being a three-time cancer survivor. She was preceded in death by her husband Feb. 3, 1995. She died December 1, 2006, not of cancer, but with the satisfaction of a life well done.
Eva H. Lettow is being honored by Avis L. Pohl — Bion Pohl and Cena & William Crane (Alden), Dennis & Linda Lettow - Greg & Kristen Lettow (Matthew, Paige and Joshua), Julie & Kyle Kosman (Kaleb) and Jay Lettow
"Eva H. Lettow
Founder of the
Lioness Clubs of Iowa"