Verlene Mangels

Honored by:Donald K. Mangels
Brick location:PAVER:3  map

Verlene Mary Dow was born on August 28, 1928 in Greeley, Iowa. She was one of five children born to Huse and Esther Dow. Although the Depression of the 1930's dominated the country and the Dow family as well hers was a happy childhood. Verlene's family lived with her paternal grandparents and her mother's parents lived nearby. Her father worked for the railroad but Grandfather Dow owned a local newspaper and everyone contributed to that enterprise.

It was a time of raising chickens in the barn behind the house, walking down the street to the local creamery and getting a small pail of ice-cold buttermilk, going to Sunday School and Church, working in the vegetable garden and later canning and preserving the bounty of the garden day trips to local scenic or historical attractions semi-annual trips to Dubuque (prior to Easter and before school started in the fall) for new "outfits" picnics along Elk Creek and searching it's banks for watercress.

It was a proto-typical small town Iowa upbringing; short on material possessions and long on family love and activities. In 1942, Verlene's father enlisted in the Navy. Despite service in World War I and being beyond draft age, he felt an obligation to his country to once again don a uniform. He was eventually assigned to the Naval Pre-Flight facility in Iowa City and the family moved there in 1943. In 1944, Verlene's father died of Hodgkins disease.

Verlene graduated from Iowa City High School in May 1945 and began work at a local insurance agency; further education being out of the question due to her father's death. She joined the staff of the Iowa City Chamber of Commerce in 1946 and worked there until 1953. In 1953 Verlene married 2nd Lt. Donald K. Mangels in Santa Maria, California. She had met Don in Iowa City while he was a student there.

For the next twenty-four years Verlene accompanied Don as he moved from base to base during his Air Force career. They lived in Japan, Washington, California, Arizona, Puerto Rico, New Mexico, Washington D.C., Oklahoma, and Colorado. Verlene was a full-time mother and homemaker but was active in PTA Officer's Wives Clubs and bridge groups. At several different locations she was instrumental in organizing gourmet groups including the one started by the Iowa State University Faculty Wives.

Four children were born of this marriage: Linda (stillborn in Japan in 1955) Kristen, in Moses Lake, Washington in 1957; Lisa, in Puerto Rico in 1959; and Eric in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1962. In 1974, Verlene and her family moved to Ames, Iowa where her husband had been assigned as Commander of the Air Force ROTC program. In 1977, upon his retirement from active duty, the decision was made to make Ames their permanent home. Verlene began work at a local travel agency.

She retired from the agency in 1992 shortly after Don retired from a local bank. Since making their home in Ames, Verlene and her husband have traveled extensively. They've taken cruises to the Baltic Black Sea Society Islands and the Mediterranean plus many trips to the Caribbean. They have also extensively toured the continental United States and western Canada.

Verlene (Dow) Mangels' accomplishments are not recognized by advanced degrees, large accumulations of money or political fame. Her achievements are recorded in the lives and memories of her family, husband, children and grandchildren. Whenever she and her siblings decided to have a reunion it was Verlene who organized and hosted it; when her Mother needed assistance during her terminal illness, it was Verlene who was there to provide that support.

An Air Force career is a demanding one on husbands wives and children yet Verlene never faltered in providing the love and support so necessary during those difficult times that every family faces. Verlene (Dow) Mangels has truly earned the accolade of "Wife, Mother and Heroine."


Paver Inscription:

"Verlene Mangels
Wife, Mother, Heroine--