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Elsie M. Stouffer was born November 16, 1902 to Alice Richards Stouffer and Joseph Stouffer in their farm home near Fostoria, Iowa. Elsie was the youngest of three girls and four boys born to Alice and Joseph. She attended country school near Fostoria and graduated from Spencer High School. She received a BA degree from Grinnell College and an MA from Stanford University. Elsie was a Lydia Roberts Fellow at Columbia University. She had planned to do research for her PhD in South America, but cancelled her plans because of the outbreak of World War II.
Elsie taught high school in Camas, Battle Ground and Kalama, Washington and was principal of the Ketchikan, Alaska High School from 1941 to 1959.
The summer of 1941, found Elsie working for the US Armed Forces Institute, Alaska Command as Guidance Director. During the summer of 1942, Elsie worked for the Alaska Spruce Logging Program. This project cut Sitka Spruce trees and towed them to Seattle where the Boeing Aircraft Company used the wood to manufacture airplane propellers. This program was soon discontinued with the introduction of metal propellers. She also worked a number of summers for Libby, McNeill and Libby in their salmon cannery in Ekuk, Alaska.
While Elsie was living in Alaska, the US Land Bureau opened a tract of land of homesteading. Elsie and a friend filed on adjoining home sites and both built cabins on their lots. Elsie returned to Spencer in 1959 and taught Spanish at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville until she retired in 1962.
Elsie was someone who was friendly and people oriented. She was interested in many things, nature and agriculture being among them. Elsie was a longtime member of the Fostoria United Methodist Church.
Before her death, Elsie established a trust to be managed by the Northwest District of the United Methodist Church, now part of the Camp Clear Lake District. Half of the annual net income of the corporation is to be set aside to fund ten (10) scholarships of equal amounts. The scholarships shall be used to provide educational opportunities for young people who are receptive to Christian principles and who are seeking advanced education in fields useful to society. The selection of the scholarship recipients shall be based on the recipients’ moral character and his/her dedication to worthwhile attainment. Scholarships are open to those who are connected to United Methodist Churches in the following counties in Iowa: Buena Vista, Cherokee, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Ida, Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Pocahontas, Sac, Sioux, and Woodbury.
The rest of the net income is set aside for grants to fund worthwhile youth programs in United Methodist Churches located in the counties of Buena Vista, Cherokee, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Ida, Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Pocahontas, Sac, Sioux, and Woodbury.