Gayle N. Kaftan

Honored by:Sharon Kaftan Oien, Joann Kaftan Colville, and Georgene Kaftan Nesheim
Brick location:A:15  map

Gayle Nelson graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Home Economics with a Nutrition major in August 1938. It had not been an easy trip through college for this young woman from Orr, North Dakota. Money was not in great supply. She tells us of the times she had to scrounge around for pennies to buy a stamp for a letter home. But she was determined she was going to have a home economics degree from the best home economics school in the country.

One year when the grasshoppers came to her family's farm she couldn't afford to come back to Ames. Instead she took courses closer to her home at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. But the following year she was back at Ames. For five years following graduation she worked for the Farmer's Security Administration as a Home Management Supervisor. In that capacity she taught food preservation especially canning with a pressure cooker to rural homemakers.

In 1940 she married George Kaftan who was a Farm Management Supervisor. Three years later the first of their three daughters was born. From that time on Gayle spent her time working and teaching from her home. She made sure all three of us could cook sew and take care of a home. Today we still use the lessons she taught us so well. She also shared her talents with others as a 4-H leader and judge for many years. For this she has been honored numerous times at the county and state level. Gayle is very proud of her college education.

Realizing the importance of education she and Dad made sure all three of us had a college education. She still keeps in touch with six of her classmates. They got together in Ames in 1963 for their 25th reunion and in 1988 for their 50th reunion. They are all looking forward to coming to back to Ames for their 60th reunion in 1998. Gayle is not an unsung heroine. Those who know her find she is a very giving and caring person. At eighty she is still going strong and plans on doing so for many years to come. It is as a tribute to her that we her daughters place Gayle Nelson Kaftan's name on the Plaza of Heroines. -Sharon Kaftan Oien, Joann Kaftan Colville, & Georgene Kaftan Nesheim