Katherine Barber Fromm

Honored by:Louise Lex
Brick location:G:10  map

If one was to summarize the early years and college days of Kathy Fromm one could call it 'womanchild in paradise.' Growing up in northern San Diego county in the 1950s was an idyllic experience. Years at a local but stimulating community college and then UCLA in the early 60s provided an unforgettable life which made her bold innovative and willing to try new ideas.

Like others during what would become a tumultuous period the example of the civil rights workers fueled her with a passion for justice a commitment to minorities and unpopular issues and a willingness to pursue those goals. Despite the idyllic nature of life in southern California the 60s would later become difficult during the disastrous Vietnam War. She liked to think that she did something against the war every day. Recent books vindicate those who fought the war. Once it was over women could go on to forge a movement of their own--feminism the second time around.

Within the framework of concerns for women Kathy Fromm worked to improve the local school system and the political party structure. Through hard work she and others elected Democratic candidates to office in 1974--the first year Tom Harkin won election. In addition she and Louise Lex worked to put women on boards and commissions in Ames and Story County. She wrote the first report on sexism in education in 1972 which became the basis for action by the Ames Community School District.

She was an active member of the Board of the Ames Community Health Center--an organization which attempted to bring quality health care including abortions to women in Central Iowa. She and her husband raised four children on a farm north of Ames. The encroaching City of Ames provided new challenges. She and her neighbors resisted a powerline and tried to create environmental safeguards for a valuable treed ridgeline. She has counseled numerous women through divorces and tried to help those who became displaced homemakers. She has written numerous grants for community organizations to bring talent and fresh ideas to Ames and the Iowa State University community.

She taught in the Department of History at Iowa State for five years and at Mankato State University as well as solo classes at area schools. Her teaching ability is not in doubt even by those who would otherwise prefer not to face her principles and willingness to defy the odds. Few people in Ames can match her boldness and willingness to go against the grain--even when those very ideas would not be popular or win easy acceptance by the rather staid people who live in Ames, Iowa.

She began her adolescence and young adult years with the best of friends in a place of unsurpassed and unspoiled natural beauty. Few people were so privileged and even fewer can match her passion for THE BEACH.