Mary Jane Sankot Holland

Honored by:Martha Olson
Brick location:PAVER:30  map


Mary Jane Sankot was born in the town of Belle Plaine, Iowa on October 6, 1913. She spent her early childhood in Belle Plaine. She was the oldest daughter of Charles Valentine Sankot who was a cashier at the local bank and Fanny Rebecca Long. The Sankot's had three younger daughters Betty Jean and Louise.

Her father and grandfather Frank Sankot purchased the controlling interest in a bank in Humboldt, South Dakota (the building is presently owned by her twin son and daughter Daniel and Diane ) and moved there the fall of 1918. Mary Jane stayed with her grandparents Robert Louis and Mary Ann (Snyder) Long in Grinnell, IA to finish kindergarten and then followed her parents to Humboldt.

Like many banks in the country the Farmers Bank closed in 1923. The family remained in Humboldt for five more years. Her father worked for the Banking Commission and then for Bankers Life and Casualty Co. The family moved back to Belle Plaine in February after Mary Jane finished eighth grade in 1928.

Mary Jane gaduated from Belle Plaine High School in 1931 and entered Iowa State College in Dietetics and Institutional Management. She was able to complete her course work at ISC in four years even though she worked at the Memorial Union and the Food Science Lab during the time she attended ISC by attending one summer session.

All was not just hard work during those years as she met a young gentleman named Herbert Boyd Holland who was also attending ISC at Homecoming her sophomore year (October 1932).

Herb was born at Leland, IA on March 25, 1910 the second son of Henry Cleophus and Anna Haugen Holland. Herb had an older brother Charles Arthur and a younger brother Clifford. Herb had attended grade school and high school at Leland IA and then enrolled at Waldorf College in Forest City, IA. After graduating from Waldorf in 1930 he enrolled at ISC in Chemical Technology. Herb lived in Oak Barracks (now Oak Hall) and he and some friends decided to visit the Homecoming dances at the girls' dorms.

Late in the evening he visited Welsh Hall where Mary Jane lived met and danced a couple of dances with her and the dance was over. Herb then said "Well we could go over to the dance at the Union but I only have 50 cents." Oh I have 50 cents I'll run up to my room and get it” Mary Jane said. She was sure she had enough tips from her work at the Union. When she got to her room and checked her pockets she didn't have 50 cents. Fortunately her roommate Joy was there and she lent Mary the money. They proceeded over to the Union dance danced till closing and that was the start of a 62-year commitment (to date).

Herb graduated from ISC in the spring of 1933 with a B.S. degree in Chemical Technology. Since jobs were not forthcoming in that field at that time Herb returned to Leland to take over one of his father's farms. Herb and Mary Jane got together infrequently the next year. Mary Jane graduated from ISC in 1935 with a B.S. in Dietetics and accepted an internship at a hospital in Waterbury, CT. After graduation Mary Jane went to visit her Aunt Edith and Uncle Arthur Hollowpeter in Miami, Fla. They drove her up to Waterbury on their way to Massachusetts.

Mary Jane was not too happy there and when polio patients start arriving she talked to her parents and they said "Come home!' so she did. She took the bus from New York to Chicago where Herb met her and drove her to Belle Plaine where they were married on October 27, 1935. Herb had asked her to marry him two years before. They traveled directly back to the farm at Leland after the reception and arrived late at night. When they arrived in Leland they went out to milk the cows but the cows we not in the pasture they were in the corn field. It was very late by the time the cows were corralled and milked that night.

For the next sixty two years they have been totally occupied with rearing nurturing supporting transporting educating and loving their children and grandchildren and operating their farm. They raised six children that graduated from Iowa State University and one that graduated from Pasadena City College. There is one Ph.D. in Psychology one Ph.D. in Ocean Engineering one Juris Doctorate one Ph.D. in Agronomy and one Medical Doctor and one Masters in Business Administration. Five of their grandchildren have graduated from ISU.

Mary Jane took on many additional tasks outside the home. From Jan. 1961 to April 1967 She was the Winnebago County Home Economist and in 1991 she received the Governors Volunteer Award from Iowa Governor Terry Branstad for volunteering her time to teach an adult literacy course.

Herb and Mary Jane have seven surviving children a girl Susan died of pneumonia in infancy. David the oldest was born August 29, 1936 at Forest City, IA. The second son Jan Phillip, was born on August 23, 1938 at Forest City, IA. He married Lois and had two sons Stephen David, and Joel Scott.

Marianne is the oldest daughter born on September 30, 1941, and Rebecca Sue, the second oldest daughter, born on August 10, 1944. she married Robert Doren and had two children- Lisa Ann, 1966, and Cindy Sue, 1971.

Paver Inscription:

"Mary Jane
Class of 1935"