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LaVon Dorothy Morrow was born September 11, 1937 in Lexington, Nebraska to Lee William and Ethel Viola Morrow. A brother Michael and a sister Carol joined the family later. LaVon graduated as valedictorian of the Primghar High School class of 1955.
She received a Home Economics Education degree form the last class at Iowa State College in 1959. In 1980 she received a Master of Science degree from Iowa State University. She taught home economics for two years at Red Oak High School and joined ISU Extension in July 1961 as Home Economist. In 1968 Audubon County was added to her job. In 1987 she also became Audubon County Extension Director. Then due to reorganization in 1990 Audubon County was her only county as Education Director.
Her concern has always been youth and families and their communities with emphasis on the uniqueness and importance of each one. Shirly Stakey was her teacher and mentor in Extension. They worked together conducting clothing construction classes for adults. These were carried on for a number of years. Learning to sew was not the only accomplishment. Participants became part of informal support groups. They discussed many other topics related to families. Some added family income by sewing for others. They eventually provided leadership for many other Extension youth family and community programs. LaVon worked with many 4-Hers and their families doing individual home visits giving presentations at club meetings and leading special interest workshops.
LaVon began networking groups many years before the work became popular. She asked people with common interests and concerns to meet which resulted in the formation of the following groups: human service coordinating councils in both Audubon and Cass Counties Nutrition Education Committee (now Network and beginning 15 years before other counties and the state had similar groups) Meals on Wheel in both counties, shelter for abused women and their children in Cass County, and child abuse prevention council in Audubon County.
The Cass County CowBelles asked LaVon to plan tours to other states to promote beef. The CowBelles did the promotion but LaVon planned activities so that participants could meet and get to know individuals in other states personally to get to understand their similarities and differences. The trips provided many new experiences especially the first few years.
Many women had never been out of the state, flown on an airplane, ridden in a taxi cab, stayed in a large hotel, been to large metropolitan museums, etc. There were always new and interesting things to learn. Just a few other programs LaVon instigated and/or carried out were county wide diabetes testing and follow up educational programs Eating Trim (hundreds of people lost weight and some kept it off) Growing Up with Self Esteem for elementary school children, Women Encouraging Business and strategic planning for communities.
LaVon has provided leadership in American Association of University Women State and National Association of Extension Home Economists Audubon Lions and other community groups. She has provided both formal and informal education and support for her co-workers.
LaVon has made a positive difference in people's lives.
"Lavon Morrow Elben
Friend, Teacher, Mentor
She touches lives, and makes a difference!
Iowa State University Graduate
B.S. 1969 M.S 1981"