Miriam E. Kimball Colvin

Honored by:Mr. and Mrs. Steven Colvin
Brick location:C:18  map


Miriam Elizabeth Kimball Colvin An Important Woman In Our Lives Miriam was born to Harriet Goodenow Kimball and Lathy Kimball in the hospital in Battle Creek Iowa on September 15 1923. Miriam was the only one of the five children in her family to be born in the hospital. She went to kindergarten in Battle Creek and was the only child in her family to do so.

She went to rural schools Maple #5 and Grant #3 in Ida County Iowa for grades 1 through 8. Miriam was the valedictorian of the county. She attended and graduated from Battle Creek high school. Miriam was the valedictorian of her high school class.

Miriam attended Iowa State College for four years with one year out to teach at her alma mater Grant #3 during World War 11 when teachers were scarce. Miriam said that one of the hardest things she had to do was to keep the school director's oldest son after school for misbehavior. Another lesson in life and death was taught to her students at the rural school when a student found a dead mouse. Miriam organized a funeral right then and the mouse was buried under the evergreen on the school grounds. Miriam was able to graduate with her college class friends because she attended summer school for three years. Her degree at ISC was in Home Economics.

Miriam met her future husband Charles D. Colvin during her last summer school session. They were courting while Miriam taught her first year after ISC at Graettinger Iowa. She took room and board with Supt. & Mrs. K.M. Chase. Mr. Chase had been her superintendent at Battle Creek all four of her high school years. At Graettinger Miriam taught Home Economics and girls Physical Training. She also started an art club that worked mainly on crafts. Mr. Chase persuaded her to keep score for the girls and boys basketball games because men were still in short supply and Miriam showed her versatility by accepting. Throughout her life Miriam has rarely missed a chance to help another person.

Miriam and Charles were married on August 3 1946 in Battle Creek. Their first apartment was on a dairy farm at Eldon Missouri. Their first child Thomas Stuart was born in 1947 at the hospital in Columbia Mo. The family moved to a house north of Barnett Mo. which had no electricity or running water. Their second child Patrician Ann was born in 1948 at the hospital in Columbia a few months before they moved to a much larger farm near Preston Iowa. They moved their Jersey cattle and machinery to the new farm which had a sizeable dairy. They sold whole milk from their dairy. In 1952 the family moved back to a farm north of Arthur in western Iowa. In 1954 the third child Steven Lee was born in the Ida Grove hospital. Miriam and Charles farmed and had a dairy at Arthur until 1956 when they had to stop for health reasons. At this time Miriam got a Home Economics and World History teaching job in Dow City Iowa. She also had the Jr/Sr banquet and prom responsibilities. Miriam and the children moved to Dow City and Charles joined them on the weekends. Charles obtained a position with Farm Bureau in O'Brien County. After a year Miriam and the children joined Charles on acreage on the edge of Primghar in O'Brien County. Miriam taught Home Economics at Archer for 4 years and then at Sanborn for 2 years after Archer & Sheldon schools consolidated. By that time Charles had a job with the American Dairy Association and the family needed to move again on to the West Union-Hawkeye area in Northeastern Iowa in the summer of 1963.

Miriam taught Home Economics at Fayette High School from 1963 to 1984. She also taught Science English Psychology Environmental Concerns and yearbook which show her many different talents. In 1969 Miriam and Charles purchased a house that had a farm attached near Hawkeye. At first the farm was rented out. In 1973 the family decided that operating the farm would be a good business. Miriam became one of the main combine operators. She loved to combine corn. Miriam and each of the rest of the family involved in the farm had other jobs as well as running the farm. In 1985 North Fayette and Fayette schools restructured into North Fayette Community. She taught Jr. High Science and English for 1 year and then entered into a well-deserved retirement.

Some may think retirement is a time of inactivity. This is definitely not the case with Miriam. Even before retirement Miriam was involved with 4-H as a member and leader and before and after retirement as a judge. Travel has always been on Miriam's agenda. She says her middle name is really "GO". With her family she has traveled to Washington D.C. Grand Canyon Yellowstone Black Hills and many other national parks. She also went on many trail rides in the western US with Charles. Since retirement she has traveled to Ireland, northeastern United States, Florida, California and other states close to Iowa. She has spent many happy vacations with her sister and brother-in-law at their cabin in northern Wisconsin.

Miriam is also a very progressive person. She has never been afraid to try new things and to adopt them, if they proved worthwhile. Her latest endeavor, at age 70, is the purchase of a computer. (She already has learned how to use it!)

Miriam is a member of several organizations. Some of these are the Fayette County Historical Society, Fayette County Genealogical Society, Methodist Church, American Association of University Women and Phi Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma.

While she says her middle name is “GO”, others will tell you that her middle name is “GOODNESS”. One of Miriam’s most important goals in life is to be helpful. She is good to her family, friends, members of her church and community, and is an active member in service organizations. She loves to work with her friends in the Historical Center. She has helped a friend accomplish the publication of two books and is currently helping the Goodenow Genealogical Society produce a family book. As evidence of her goodness and helpfulness, Miriam has received many awards. Some of these are Friend of Education Award from North Fayette Schools, AARP Volunteer Award for her work with the Fayette County Historical and Genealogical Societies, Pork Bellringer Award from the Fayette County Pork Producers, and the first state award from the American Heart Association for her work as a program chairperson for Fayette County.

Miriam is a very good mother and was a very good wife. She always took the time to read to her children, play games with them, and put together puzzles again and again. She selflessly saw to all of their needs. She was supportive to her husband, Charles’ hobbies and interests and his need on two occasions to take a job in a remote location and return only on the weekends. She realized that she was a member of a team and carried her part of the teamwork in tremendous fashion. She was also understanding and helpful through family illnesses and injuries. Miriam has a wonderful love of humor and this love of humor is second only to her love of her family.

She has touched the lives of many people. We have mentioned Miriam’s efforts to be a positive influence on her family, friends, members of her church and community, and the organizations that she is a member of. We would be remiss if we did not mention the tremendous effect that Miriam has had on the people who were her students.  

As Miriam’s family, we are happy and proud to have her name included in the Carrie Chapman Catt Plaza of Heroines. She is our heroine.