Ida S. Huntress

Honored by:Deborah Adams
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Our mother was an extraordinary person much loved and appreciated by her husband and children. Others knew her as friendly unassuming kind and interested but very private. We know that she was also a very complex intelligent and honest person who remained true to herself and to her family for all the years of her life. She was a family-oriented person. Her windows to the world were her husband with whom she shared a marriage that can only be described as "devoted" her children always; her omnivorous incessant and insatiable reading; and the television set we bought so she could watch the Army- McCarthy hearings. She was a secret scholar.

Some years before the Civil Rights movement began she read every book in both libraries in Ames pertaining to the plight of the Southern black. She laughed later about her early childrearing days when she would emerge from the library bowed down with books on child psychology. In her later years she became an authority on all aspects of the American Civil War. Some topic would capture her interest and she would track it down to the ground with a discipline and an energy that would be the envy of many a doctoral student. When Betty Friedan's book The Feminine Mystique came out in 1963 our mother read it and was cross about it feeling that her choice to stay home as a housewife was being attacked.

In truth she was never a housewife - the stereotype just never fit her. While she was in fact a very good cook a creative decorator and remodeler and an inspired gardener her real life was one that simply could best be lived by not trying to develop a career. Her love for her family - and ours for her - was truly the cornerstone of her life and ours. She allowed her love for her children to guide her to far greater openness and tolerance than many mothers of her generation. As her children grew she remained intensely interested in our interests was sensitive and supportive and much more apt to praise than to criticize.

About a year before her death one of us asked her "What was your favorite time? Looking back over 60 years what was the best period?" She replied without hesitation "Oh it's all been so wonderful I couldn't choose." We her children feel very grateful that our mother saw her own life as being altogether so wonderful that she couldn't even choose a favorite time in it. Ida Schaub Huntress was born in Middletown, Connecticut on October 10, 1913 the daughter of August and Ida Schaub.

Soon after her birth her parents moved to the village of Rockfall a suburb of Middlefield. There she attended local schools and then graduated from Middletown High School in 1931. She attended Connecticut College for Women where she majored in English and graduated in 1935. On June 8, 1940 she married Keith Huntress. They lived a year in Urbana, Illinois where their first child Deborah was born. In 1941 they moved to Ames where Dr. Huntress professor of English and Distinguished Professor in Science and Humanities began a 40 year career at ISU. Jonathan Alison Bethany and Margaret were all born in Ames. Ida Huntress raised her family worked for years at the ISU library read constantly and traveled. She was killed in an accident on April 17, 1980.