LaVerna Rohden Brindley

Honored by:Thomas Brindley
Brick location:K:23  map

LaVerna Carol Otelia was born December 26, 1909 in Lanyon, Iowa to Emil and Esther Rohden.  Her parents were of Swedish ancestry and LaVerna spoke Swedish throughout her life.  The childhood in Lanyon gave her a strong sense of community, thrift and simplicity.  The Swedish Covenant Church was the center of activity for Lanyon, and LaVerna developed a strong faith that would be her guide for life.  The rigid theology was not suited to her; she and her husband Tom adopted the Reformed Tradition of the Methodist Church.

In the year 1927 she enrolled at Iowa State University in the College of Home Economics to major in food and nutrition.  A class in zoology was pivotal, as it was where she met Tom A. Brindley, a graduate student in entomology, and they developed a lifelong relationship.  She worked as a housekeeper during and after college to pay her bills.  LaVerna used her degree in home economics as a teacher in Rippey, Iowa.

Tom A. Brindley accepted a position with the US Department of Agriculture in Moscow, Idaho; he finished a PhD in economic entomology.    A proposal of marriage was made by Tom, and LaVerna traveled to Idaho to be wed in a small ceremony at the home of a friend on June 14, 1934.  During these years, LaVerna completed a master’s degree at the University of Idaho.  A decision was made in 1950 to return to Ames, Iowa as Tom Brindley was offered a position with the USDA Corn Borer Laboratory and a professorship on the faculty at Iowa State University.    Through his dual roles, Tom Brindley was able to guide over thirty students through advanced degrees.  LaVerna was a strong advocate and counselor to Tom; their relationship was unique. 

LaVerna was proud to call herself a homemaker.  A two-acre parcel in a natural setting was turned into a cornucopia of vegetables, fruits and flowers, with a variety of play areas for the children.  She was active in the Homemakers in the Home, Faculty Women’s Club, Nature Study, Bridge Club, and as a mentor to foreign students.   She was an avid traveler with experiences in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.  As a person, she respected diversity and always looked for the goodness in other people.  Upon retirement they divided their parcel and built a new home surrounded by nature.

LaVerna enjoyed life with Tom until his death in 1981.  She maintained an active life until the age of 94.  Her faith gave her the strength to meet a terminal illness with dignity.  Perhaps the most telling tribute to LaVerna came from an unlikely source.  A woman incarcerated at the Story County Jail told a visiting pastor when learning of LaVerna’s death, “I will miss LaVerna; she always made me feel welcome at Collegiate Methodist Church.”  Tom and LaVerna continue to be together, as both are buried in the Iowa State University Cemetery, not far from where their journey began.

The children of LaVerna—William Arthur (1938), Carol Esther (1941) and Thomas John (1948)—honor her with this tribute in March, 2013.  We are indebted for the love and support she provided.

Tom Albert Brindley   November 18, 1906 - October 17, 1981
Born in Madison, Wisconsin

LaVerna Rohden Brindley   December 26, 1909 - February 16, 2004 
Born in Lanyon, Iowa