Mildred Zimmerman Wiggers

Honored by:Maryanne & Kenneth Wiggers
Brick location:PAVER:25  map

We have chosen Mildred Zimmerman Wiggers to be honored in hopes that her life will be an inspiration to those who read about her as much as it has been to those who knew and love her.

Mildred was an unusual woman. Her five children and friends enthusiastically describe her as a warm, thoughtful, considerate, compassionate, supportive, spirited, and altruistic woman with an exceptional intellect. Born February 18, 1901, Mildred grew up in rural Wapello, IA. After the death of her father, she became a teacher and family breadwinner. She had been offered a college scholarship for tuition but her family was not able to afford the room and board. Instead, Mildred went to Iowa State Teacher's College (now the University of Northern Iowa) for the brief course that awarded her a teaching certificate. Early in her teaching career, Mildred taught in a one-room schoolhouse where she taught eight grades, developed her own teaching materials, drove the horse-drawn school wagon, and kept the woodburning stove going.

In 1924 she married Harold H. Wiggers and they both cared for and contributed to the financial welfare of both families. During the years of the birth of the first three children and their early years, the family moved to Eldridge, where she worked many long hours during difficult economic times in the family poultry and egg business. In 1948, the family made its final move to a farm on Buttermilk Road outside Eldridge. Once the farm animals had water, it was Mildred who dug the trench for the water line to the house. With the last two children as young boys, Mildred returned to teaching in the Davenport School District and also went nights to college at Marycrest to obtain her four-year teaching degree. She graduated in 1958 and continued to teach until her retirement in 1967.

Throughout the years of work and study, she instilled in her children a desire and value of education. All five children are college graduates, four with advanced degrees. Mildred's devotion to education has made deep impressions on her grandchildren as well. Her keen mind in analyzing ideas kept all she knew interested and thinking and analyzing on their own. Her thirst for knowledge over a wide range of interests was unquenchable throughout her life. In her last years, despite losing all but her peripheral vision, she devoted hours daily to study using a reading machine and listening to tapes. She could challenge even the well read on ideas, philosophies, and political and world events. She had an uncommon overall knowledge and in-depth understanding of a wide range of subjects -- from gardening to philosophy to economics.

Her children and others always found her to be a friend and could frankly discuss almost anything with. A true prairie spirit, Mildred kept pace for her 93 years with the amazing developments of the 20th century. A wonderful sense of humor and sensitivity to people's feelings were also characteristics that endeared Mildred to all that knew her. She gave everyone the right to be themselves without criticism or judgment. To sum up her life and influence on others we would like to paraphrase words of Maya Angelou; she became a "rainbow" for those whose lives she touched.


Paver Inscription:

"Mildred Zimmerman Wiggers
Born 2/18/1901 Died 3/20/1993
Natural Scholar, Compassionate person, teacher, true prairie spirit, mother of five children: love harold, ruth, ralph, ken & keith"