Violet Grittmann Casteel

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It is fitting and appropriate in this plaza, dedicated to those women whose lives have made a difference, that Violet Delores Grittmann Casteel be included among those women. Throughout their lives our parents have given us many gifts. Although we are all very comfortable financially now, there were times in the beginning when we didn't have very much money. Whatever their means our parents have always been very generous with us. Even more important than the tangible things that we needed or wanted, though, are the intangible gifts that came to us without thought. One of the most important of these was the desire for an education and a love of learning.

One of my earliest memories was carrying thirty five cents to grade school once a week to buy savings bonds stamps. This was during a time of frequent strikes and lay-offs for my father, when it must have been hard to find money for even the essentials. But we always knew that we were saving for our college educations. It wasn't very much and on very rare occasions it did get used for something else. But maybe more important was that it was very clear to us children from the very beginning that we were expected to go to college. Even if it was tough for a while, we had a dream and we had a plan. There was never any question that we were capable; it was understood. Our parents didn't just set goals. They also made sure that we had the tools to make it possible to reach those goals. For instance, we didn't have extra money for books for recreational reading, but my parents invested in two different sets of encyclopedias. We carefully rationed the amount of money for gas for the car, but trips to the library were never questioned. Doing well in school was the highest priority in our house.

Along with the gift of high expectations, our parents gave us the gift of confidence. We grew up with what a lot of people might have considered disadvantages. It was a time of strong gender stereotypes. We were poor kids in a rich school district. Our parents had little education. But it simply never occurred to us that we couldn't do whatever we wanted to do. Now all three children have college degrees. Nancy teaches at Midwestern University. All four grandchildren are preparing for college. By anyone's criteria, Glen and Violet Casteel have successfully educated their family.

The children of Violet Delores Grittmann Casteel have dedicated this brick to honor her and to thank her for the importance which she and their father have always placed on education. Violet Delores Grittmann Casteel is the mother of two Iowa State alumni. They are Nancy Casteel B.S.(I.S.U. 1969) M. S. Ph.D., and daughter Kathleen Casteel Boudreau who attended from 1965-1968. Her son Douglas Casteel, a graduate of University of Iowa, is currently completing an M.B.A. degree.

Violet and her husband Glen did not have the advantage of completing their education having grown up during the Depression and forced to leave school at an early age. Even though there was little money for extras of any kind, Violet and Glen told their children from their earliest years that they would be going to college. Glen, a John Deere factory worker, and Violet, a homemaker, sacrificed and saved in order to put all three children in college. These two parents understood the importance of education in their world. Both worked very hard and made sacrifices. After their children were secure in the world, both parents resumed their own educations. Violet studied for and received her G.E.D. (General Education Diploma) and even continued to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (L.P.N.). She worked for a number of years in the nursing field.

Violet was always there for her children-- to care for them and to encourage them. She has always been proud of her family and honors their accomplishments. Her children wish to honor her and thank her for her love and dedication to her family. With much love and appreciation,

Nancy, Kathleen, and Douglas