Mary (Meg) E. Graf Speer

Honored by:Vaughn C. Speer
Brick location:D:16  map

Mary E. (Graf) Speer, better known as "Meg," has made outstanding contributions as a practitioner in the field of dietetics. She was born and educated in Elkader, Iowa, attended the University of Dubuque, and graduated with a B.S. in Food and Nutrition from Iowa State University in 1946. She completed a dietetic internship at the University of Minnesota Hospitals in 1947. In 1947 she married Vaughn C. Speer. They have two sons David and James, and two daughters Elizabeth Frandsen and Diana Sarussi. There are five grandsons and three granddaughters.

She was employed as a hospital dietitian and returned to the profession when her youngest child entered nursery school. For the past twenty five years she has been a consultant dietitian for numerous small hospitals and nursing facilities in Central Iowa. At the present time she is the dietitian at Bethany Manor in Story City, and the Eastern Star Masonic Home in Boone. Each offers restaurant-style menus to over 200 persons morning, noon, and evening. Long before the concept of liberalizing geriatric diets came into print she was using the concept in her facilities. Her innovative approaches in both her facilities and community classes are numerous. She has been an instructor collaborator in Food Science and Human Nutrition in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, lecturing and hosting Iowa State students in the dietetics program, Hotel Restaurant and Institution Management, and honor students.

She has actively participated in and contributed to both the state and national dietetic associations, holding numerous leadership and committee roles, including Iowa President, Iowa Delegate, and Speaker elect and Speaker of the House of Delegates of The American Dietetic Association, and a member of both Boards of Directors. She is a member of the Consultant Dietitians in Health Care and the Gerontological Nutrition Practice Groups. She has shared her expertise with such diverse groups as the state diabetic camp for children to associations for the older Iowans. She has provided nutrition knowledge for radio, TV, lectures, and newspaper articles, and taught classes for the University, ISU Extension, and community groups. She has been a guest lecturer for the Des Moines Area Community College Health Care Administration classes, and all the health related associations in Iowa, serving on many influential committees for the State. Her publications include articles in referred journals, and poster sessions presented at the Annual Meetings of the American Dietetic Association have been well received. She is on the Editorial Board of Topics in Clinical Nutrition.

She has been a Cub Scout mother, Campfire Girl leader, president of Faculty Women's Club at Iowa State University, chair of the Board of Trustees and on the Church Council at her church. She is a member of Chapter HN, PEO. Elected to the Iowa State University Alumni Board of Directors, she served as association secretary and chair of the membership committee. She is a member of The League of Women Voters.

In 1986 she received the Iowa State University Alumni Association Professional Achievement Award from the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. She was honored as the Iowa Outstanding Dietitian of the Year in 1991 received the prestigious Medallion Award from the American Dietetic Association in 1992 and the American Dietetic Association Foundation 1993 Award for Excellence in the Practice of Community Dietetics, endowed by Ross Products Division-Abbott labs.

Submitted on 3/9/94

Updated 1/10/2014:

Meg retired in 1996 after 30 years employment at Bethany Manor, Story City, and in 2000 after 25 years at the Eastern Star Home in Boone. She and her husband, Dr. Vaughn C. Speer, remained active in several ISU and Ames community programs. She served on church committees, Mary Greeley Medical Center, Master Gardeners of Story County, Heartland Senior Services (8 years on the board and 2 years as president) and was appointed Chair of the 30th Anniversary Committee. Both Meg and Vaughn have been involved in the growth and development of Reiman Gardens. They served as co-presidents of the CoHorts in 1998-99. In the Mahlstede Building at Reiman Gardens there is an area designated "The Speer Room" through an endowment to the Garden. Meg read for the blind through a radio program called IRIS for about 8 years. She also completed courses and security clearance to be able to volunteer for the Israel Family Hospice House in Ames.

The family now includes David (deceased in 2012) and Joyce Speer; their children Ryan and Staci Speer and their children Katelyn, Madison, and Ella; Rob and Christina Speer and their children Mayla and Molly; Jim and Julie Speer and their children Brad and Wendee and child Autym; Mathew and Karyn Speer and their children Gage, Trent, and Kendra; Kevin and Tanya Speer and their children Andrew and Olivia.

Quite a brood for a single child great grandmother and it is only the beginning.

Meg died August 26, 2013.



Mary G. (Meg) Speer
Registered Licensed Dietitian

Personal Information

Born: Elkader, Iowa

Family: Husband, Vaughn C. Speer, Ph.D.; Children, David M., James D., Elizabeth Frandsen, Diana Sarussi; five grandsons, five granddaughters, one great granddaughter


High school: Elkader Public Schools

University: University of Dubuque, University of Minnesota, B.S. Food and Nutrition, Dietetics: Iowa State University

Dietetic Internship: University of Minnesota

Professional Experience

Mary Greeley Memorial Hospital, Ames, Iowa: Dietitian

University Student Health Services, Iowa State University: Dietitian

Adjunct faculty member: Dept. Food and Nutrition, Iowa State University and Dept. Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management, Iowa State University

Office of Continuing Education, Iowa State University

Preceptor for Food Service Supervisory Programs

Consultant Dietitian:
Belmond Community Hospital, Belmond, Iowa
Community Memorial Hospital, Clarion, Iowa
Sunny View Care Center, Ankeny, Iowa
Ledges Manor, Boone, Iowa
Ogden Manor, Ogden, Iowa
Story City Memorial Hospital, Story City, Iowa
Bethany Manor, Story City, Iowa
Eastern Star Masonic Home, Boone, Iowa
Des Moines Area Community College: Health Care Administration Lecturer

Professional Organizations

The American Dietetic Association and The American Dietetic Assoc. Foundation

The Iowa Dietetic Association

Consultant Dietitians in Health Care Facilities

American Diabetes Association, Iowa Affiliate

Iowa Consulting Dietitians in Health Care Facilities

Organization membership

Board of Trustees, United Church of Christ Congregational, Ames, Iowa. (chair & sec.)

Church Council, United Church of Christ Congregational, Ames, Iowa

Chapter HN, PEO (sec.)

American Association of Retired Persons

Iowa State University Alumni Association (life member)

Iowa State University Alumni Board of Directors (sec. & Chair membership comm.)

Faculty women's Club, Iowa State University (comm. chair, sec., president elect, president, advisor to newcomers)

Health Systems Agency of Iowa Alternate

Board of Trustees, Blood Center of Central Iowa

Liaison: Iowa Hospital Association, Iowa Health Care Association, Iowa Assoc. Homes for the Aging (educ. comm.), Governor's Task Force on Aging

External Advisory Committee, Coordinated Undergraduate Program in Dietetics

Health Facilities Advisory Committee, Dept. Inspections & Appeals, Health Facilities Division (Chapter 58/59 committee) (Bill of Rights)

Master Gardener, Story County Master Gardeners (sec.)

Reiman Gardens CoHorts (co-vice president and president), CoHorts Education Committee

Heartland Senior Services Board of Directors (sec., president)

League of Women Voters

Mary Greeley Hospital Auxiliary, Low Vision Support Group

Professional Committees

The Iowa Dietetic Association (chair Community Nutr., sec., pres. elect, president)

Iowa Delegate to the House of Delegates, American Dietetic Assoc. (chair State Assoc. Comm., Bylaws Comm., Nominating Comm.)

The American Dietetic Association (Nominating Comm., Cont. Educ. Adv. Comm., comm. on Dietetic Registration Panel on Registration, Eligibility, and Maintenance, Liaison to Dietary Managers Assoc.)

Speaker Elect House of Delegates, The American Dietetic Association

Speaker of the House of Delegates, The American Dietetic Association

Board of Directors, The American Dietetic Association

Chair of the Headquarters Audit for American Dietetic Assoc. 1983

Board of the Iowa Diabetes Assoc. and Camp Hertko Hollow Board


Current Issues in Nutrition organizer and planning committees

Reviewer: Study Guide to the Sixth Edition, SIMPLIFIED DIET MANUAL, 1990


Speer, M. '71 "Eating Away from Home", American Diabetes Assn. FORECAST, Sept.

Member of the revision committee, SIMPLIFIED DIET MANUAL, ISU Press 1969

Speer, M. '77 "Pork for All Reasons and All Seasons, Bendigo, Australia.

Speer, M. '89 "Contribution of Food Service to Quality of Life in Long Term Care Facilities", TOPICS IN CLILNICAL NUTRITION, 4(1): 19·26.

Speer, M. '88 "Oranges vs Oranges: Not Apples vs Oranges", Abstracts, The Am. Diet. Assoc. 71st Annual Mtg.: 176.

Speer, M. '89 "Food Service of the Future, A Supplement to the JADA, Sept. Vol. 89, no. 9. A-45.

Speer, M. '90 "Cost Containment…The Consultant's Concern", THE CONSULTANT DIETITIAN, Spring Vol. 15. no. 3.

Speer, M. '90 "Quality of Life in Long Term Care", THE CONSULTANT DIETITIAN, Spring Vol. 15, No. 3.

Oakland, MJ & Speer, ME Iowa State University, Ames, IA. "Nutritional Status and Dietary Intake the Oldest-Old". A Supplement to the JADA, Sept. '91, Vol 91 No.9 A-46.

Speer, M. '91"Food Service for the 1990's: Restaurant-style Dining in Long Term Care", TOPICS IN CLINICAL NUTRITION, 6(4): 61-66.

Speer, M. '92 "Satisfaction and Health Status of Long Term Care Residents Offered Restaurant-style Free Choice Meals", A Supplement to JADA, Sept. Vol. 92, No.9. A-26.

Oakland, M. and Speer, M. '93 "Dietetic Research in Long-term Care Facilities: Nutrient Intake and Nutritional Status Indicators in the Oldest Old.,TOPICS IN CLINICAL NUTRITION, 8(2):26-31.

Speer, M. and Wattleworth, R. '96 "Benefits of Restaurant-Style Dining in Long Term Care", HAWKEYE OSTEOPATHIC JOURNAL, Fourth Quarter.

Invited Speaker and Contributor

Des Moines Area Community College: Lecture food service, Health Care Administration students 1988-1992.

Alzheimer's Workshop

Lecturer for prenatal classes and diabetic classes Lecturer weight control classes

Quarterly articles: THE PULSE Newspaper contributor

Monthly presentation to Congregate Meals Program

Frequent radio presentations Auxiliaries and women's groups

Service clubs and church organizations

Iowa Association of Homes for the Aging
Iowa Health Care Association
Iowa Dietary Managers Association
Iowa Dietetic Association
Minnesota Dietetic Association
Iowa Consultant Dietitians
Iowa State University Short Courses

Awards and Recognitions

Recipient of the Iowa State University Alumni Association Professional Achievement Award, 1986, College of Family and Consumer Sciences

Iowa Outstanding Dietitian of the Year: 1991.

Medallion Award, The American Dietetic Association, October 1992.

Award for Excellence in the Practice of Community Dietetic, The American Dietetic Association Foundation, 1993, endowed by Ross Products Division, Abbott Labs.

Recognized for 25 years at Bethany Manor, Story City and 30 years at the Eastern Star Masonic Home in Boone.