Laurie Lyn Gustafson

Honored by:Heather Gustafson
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Laurie was born July 16, 1953 to Harlan and Juanita Hinkeldey of Aurelia, Iowa. She grew up on a grain and livestock farm and attended Hanover Lutheran Parochial School south of Alta. She was very active in 4-H and church activities. She attended Aurelia Community High School and graduated May 1971.

In September 1971, Laurie married Mark Gustafson, a high school classmate. They lived in Ames, IA and attended Iowa State University beginning fall 1971. Their first child Chad was born in 1972. Laurie felt strongly that her first priority was as a stay-at-home mother, so she put her further education on hold and started a baby-sitting service in their mobile home. She would sometimes have five or six kids at once, but strived to give them excellent daycare. Mark graduated in May of 1975. The family moved to Aberdeen, South Dakota where Mark began a banking career. Traci, their first daughter, was born in September of 1975. In December of 1975, the family moved to Norwalk, Iowa when Mark transferred to a position at the Iowa Des Moines National Bank. Laurie continued to take care of the family as well as becoming involved in their church. She also prepared Chad for his first year in school. The family moved to West Des Moines where Chad attended kindergarten. In December of 1977 their second daughter, Heather, was born. Laurie was busy organizing the activities of three children, active in the church and a strong support to Mark. The family moved to Mark's family farm near Cherokee, Iowa in May 1979. Laurie continued to handle the family affairs as well as be very active in church and community activities. She also became a very proficient Tole painter, gardener and seamstress. Her family was the center of her life.

In June of 1982, the family moved to Boone, IA where Mark returned to banking. Chad, Traci and Heather were all in school in the fall of 1982 so Laurie decided to finish her college career at Iowa State University. She enrolled that fall in the Business College with a major emphasis in accounting. Juggling school and family became a challenge for Laurie although she excelled at challenges. She loved her classes and her excellent grades were a testimony to her dedication. She graduated in December of 1986; four months after her husband had transferred to Galesburg, Illinois with another bank. Laurie and the kids remained in Boone to finish the school year. The challenge of selling the house, taking care of the kids and attending ISU full-time while at the same time preparing to move to Galesburg kept Laurie very busy. The family joined Mark in Galesburg in January of 1987.

Laurie immediately went to work for McGladrey & Pullen accounting firm and studied for the CPA exam. She passed this rigorous exam in November 1987. In 1988, Laurie became the financial manager for three orthopedic surgeons in Galesburg. She set up a new computer system for this office and brought their financial matters up to date. In 1991 Laurie became an accountant for The Admiral Company. a division of The Maytag Corporation. Laurie's primary responsibilities included general ledger functions as well as preparing comprehensive month-end financial statements to send to the corporate office in Newton, Iowa. This position allowed her the opportunity to grow in a corporate environment. However, she always kept the family first. She also maintained her close ties to the church by serving as Treasurer.

Mark moved back to Boone, Iowa in December 1991. Chad was now a student at Iowa State University. Laurie and the girls joined Mark in June of 1992. Laurie continued to work for The Maytag Co. for six months commuting 80 miles each way from Boone to Newton every day. In November, she joined Iowa State University in the Facilities Planning and Management area as an accountant. Traci started her college career at Iowa State in January of 1993 and enjoyed seeing her mom on campus on a regular basis. The great flood of 1993 provided another challenge for Laurie since she was responsibility for tracking all the expenses relating to the damage on campus and reporting to FEMA. This function gave Laurie great access to the many facets of the university including many of the personnel.

In November of 1994, she transferred to the ISU Athletic Department as Financial Manager, a job that required immediate attention due to the severe financial strain placed on the programs. Laurie quickly grew into the position of Associate Athletic Director for Business Operations. She loved the passion associated with athletics including the coaches, athletes and administrative team. Laurie enjoyed being an integral part of the building of the Jacobson Athletic Building including the financing, interior planning and space allocation. Although the position required many long hours, she enjoyed attending all athletic events with Mark.

Laurie was recruited to the position of Chief Financial Officer for ISU Extension in November 2004. This challenge allowed Laurie to be involved with the Deans and administration of the major colleges of Agriculture, Business, Engineering, Human Sciences and Community & Economic Development, as well as the Vice President of ISU Business & Finance and the Provost. She enjoyed serving on many university-wide committees to develop, enhance and/or streamline the university financial systems.

Mark accepted a new banking position in Palm Desert, CA in July 2008. Laurie stayed in IA to sell their home and finish work projects at ISU Extension. She accepted a CFO position at the University of California, Riverside School of Business and joined Mark in November 2009. The strong marriage survived this long distance separation through daily phone conversations, trips to Iowa for Mark and Laurie’s long weekend trips to California every 4-6 weeks.

Laurie’s work commute from their home in Palm Desert to the University of CA, Riverside was 75 miles each way. She occupied her driving time by listening to motivational and Christian speakers as well as nonfiction and fiction books.

Laurie retired June 2018 after 9 ½ years at the University of California. Mark retired from banking also June 2018. They moved to Peoria, AZ to enjoy retirement in beautiful weather from Fall through Spring. Mark and Laurie found a new love traveling and camping in National, State and County parks with their RV, including hiking and kayaking.

Mark & Laurie moved into a home in West Des Moines for the Spring, Summer, early Fall and Holidays to be near their three children’s families including eight beautiful grandchildren.

Mark and Laurie continue to share a strong bond with Iowa State University. Their son, Chad and his wife, Katie graduated from Iowa State. Traci, their oldest daughter, attended Iowa State for two years and graduated from the University of Illinois. Their youngest daughter, Heather, graduated from the Iowa State Business College. Chad’s oldest twins, Alec & Ella Gustafson, both graduated from Iowa State University in May 2020. Currently, Chad’s youngest twins are finishing their freshman year at Iowa State University.

Laurie has demonstrated throughout her life that her family, her religion and her career are very important parts of her life. She gave up completing her college degree shortly after she started so that she could provide proper care for her family. It was only after the youngest child entered school that Laurie felt comfortable returning to Iowa State for her degree. She has also been very involved in her church in each community she has lived in, serving as Treasurer for the last two churches. Laurie has always put more into her job than required, as attested by her career growth. Laurie has served as an inspiration to her children and a source of support for her husband. She truly has been a heroine to our family.