Lou McGinnis (1886-1953) was neither rich nor famous yet she was an important influence to her family and to her city. Sara Louisa Barnes was born and raised in southern Iowa. As a young woman, Lou taught school in the area. And it was here in Monroe County, Iowa, that she and her husband, Elbert Vern McGinnis, lived and farmed and raised their family. The first four babies born to Lou and Elbert, all boys, died as newborn infants. In 1921, Dallas Vern was born, followed by Maxine in 1923 and Bob in 1925. Lou's love for her children was evident in her kind, patient manner and good humor. As a young married couple, Lou and Elbert were leaders of the Epworth League, the youth group of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
She taught Sunday School for many years as well as being a member of the Ladies Aid Society. She was active in the Grange and Farm Bureau, was a girls' 4-H Club leader at the township and county levels, and was the women's county chairman of the Iowa State Extension Service. Lou was a full-time homemaker and a full-time partner in their farming operation, yet she always had time to encourage her three children with their interests and activities. Today, son Bob lives on and farms the century farm birthplace of his father. Lou's name is being honored in memory of her son, Dallas V., who was a member of the Iowa State University Information Extension Service staff for 40 years.