Scholarships - Greater Jefferson County Foundation (2023)

The Scholarship Program began in May of 1988 with a donation of $20,000 and has grown to be in excess of a half million dollars. Since 2002, scholarship awards have exceeded $100,000 every year. We can help you establish a scholarship as a memorial to honor a loved one, a teacher, or an individual who has been a mentor to you or your family. This award can be specific, focusing on a career, a discipline, an interest, or a vocation, or it might be completely open to the student's particular need. You might consider this a great opportunity to support your high school alma mater or to create a scholarship for a specific college or university.

Any additional questions should be directed to the attention of Barbara Kistler, Administrative Assistant at the Foundation office.

Scholarship Histories

Sherry Champ 1997: Sherry was a nurse at Jefferson County Hospital for over 25 years and a former FHS graduate. She was dedicated to the nursing profession and had attained a very high status within the hospital. Her family wished to provide an ongoing scholarship for a graduating high school senior from the Jefferson County Area Schools. This scholarship is to be used for a student pursuing a career in the medical field: Medicine, Health Services, Health Occupation; General Medicine, or Veterinary Medicine.

Howard & Donna Clark 2023:Howard & Donna Clark were business owners and Jefferson County farmers. Donna created this scholarship in memory of her husband. Criteria include majoring in the study of medicine, agriculture, or business. This scholarship is open to FHS or Pekin graduating senior students.

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Pete & Fern Crafton 2010: The Craftons lived their lives in Fairfield and Jefferson County. Fern worked at Louden Machinery Company her entire adult life, and as a homemaker, being raised on a farm in the Glasgow community of Jefferson County. Pete worked 51 years at Fairfield Glove Company.This scholarship is for a graduating senior attending a university, college, community college, or technical school located outside Jefferson County and based on need. Look at the attitude and motivation of the student and the ability for them to achieve success in their chosen field of advanced education. This is an open scholarship based on Financial Need and also includes PAST FHS Graduates.

Andrew & Dorothy Pohren Crile 2006: The Criles lived in Jefferson County. Through hard work and good management, they became successful farmers. They both enjoyed working with young people and were involved with the local 4-H clubs for many years. Their daughter, Betty, taught elementary school for 30 years and was very interested in education. The student must show the ability to succeed at the college level, and show a need for the scholarship funds. This scholarship can be renewed for four years, provided the recipient maintains a 2.5 GPA as a full-time student at college or university.

Edd & Darlene Felgar 2022:The Felgars were married for 56 years, all spent on their farm east of Fairfield. The Fairfield community was very important to Edd and Darlene. Edd was an Iowa Highway Patrol and Darlene worked at Iowa State Bank for many years. They were both members of local community organizations such as the Lions Club, Jefferson County Auxiliary, and more. This scholarship is offered to three graduating seniors who will attend Indian Hills Community College and major in Health Care Education and training. This scholarship is open to FHS or Pekin graduating senior students.

Fairfield Alumni 1990: This scholarship is to assist graduating seniors in meeting their financial needs as they pursue higher education. The scholarship is presented annually based on need, citizenship, and academic standing. It is an open scholarship, not limited to any one discipline. Periodic contributions, generally free-will offerings during annual class reunions, both by Fairfield Alumni and the Parsons College Alumni Association, in donating their scholarship endowment to this scholarship.

Roman & Evelyn Gevock 2010: This Scholarship was begun by Roman and his family after Evelyn’s death from Alzheimer’s and then turned over to the Foundation following Roman’s death in July 2010. Both Roman and Evelyn were teachers of life to their children and their families and were the best of friends to their community. Evelyn was an elementary educator for 30 years and Roman was a successful and dedicated Jefferson County farmer. Evelyn was chosen Reading Teacher of the Year 1989-1990 for the Jefferson/Van Buren Reading Council of Iowa Reading Association. Both Roman and Evelyn were active in their church, and community, taking leading roles as leaders and workers. Priority is to a student going into the education or medical field. Scholarship awarded based on financial need, not necessarily grade point average. This scholarship is open to FHS or Pekin graduating senior students.

Frank Ireland Memorial Scholarship 2024:Frank Ireland grew up in Libertyville. He spent his youth hunting, trapping, and playing baseball. He enjoyed motorcycles in high school and attended national motorcycle races, as well as local dirt-track races, and eventually finished First in the 175 CC Class Midwest Short Track Championship in 1970. He served in Viet Nam and received a Bronze Star for his service. He attended Indian Hill CC in Ottumwa and college in Pasadena, CA. He became a Mission Control Specialist at NASA in Houston, and following his retirement from NASA, his interest in computer engineering led him to pursue a career as a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) pilot and technician for Oceaneering International. During this time, Frank worked on Deepwater Horizon, a British Petroleum rig in the Gulf of Mexico. The explosion of the rig on April 20, 2010, was significant in Frank's life. He greatly valued education both in the classroom and through life experiences. The criteria for this scholarship is Computer Technology/Engineering field or related trade. Emphasis will be given to senior students who come from a family with a military service background and based on financial need.

John Jackson Instrumental Music 2006: John Jackson was a long-time businessman in Jefferson County. He was a member of the 34th Army National Guard Band for 50 years and played in many dance bands over the years. This scholarship has been established to help current FHS graduates attend a college or university of their choice to major or minor in instrumental music and participate in marching band or concert band at the post-secondary level.

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Scott and Edith Jordan Memorial Scholarship 1997: Scott Jordan was born and raised in Fairfield, and is the fourth generation of his family in this community. In 1940, after graduating from the University of Iowa Law School, he joined his father’s law practice which spanned fifty years, with time out for military service. The Jordan family was always interested in community service. They were actively involved in religious, educational, and financial institutions as well as other aspects of quality community life. It was Mr. Jordan’s wish to provide this scholarship to assist deserving students in fulfilling their higher education goals. The scholarship is made available to students who excelled in the areas of attitude, motivation, and ability to succeed.

Jim Leyden Memorial Teaching Scholarship 2004: Jim “Lefty” Leyden was a Fairfield resident and a 30-year elementary teacher in Ottumwa Community School District. He knew what a burden it can be to pursue a Master’s degree while raising a family. Jim’s family has established a scholarship through the Greater Jefferson County Foundation in his name and it has been designed to help any certified staff employee of the FCSD pursue a Master’s Degree and will assist with tuition payment, with special consideration to applicants with a family.

John & Deb Martin Scholarship 2022: John Martin graduated from Fairfield High School and 1973. He and his wife have created four scholarships with the emphasis on Grade Point Average, Trade Program, Financial Need, or Open (based on any of the above) This scholarship is open to FHS or Pekin graduating senior students.

Medical Scholarship 1997: A long-time local resident presented this substantial gift anonymously to the Greater Jefferson County Foundation. The donor and spouse had no children of their own but always felt close to the youth in the community. The scholarship is an ongoing commitment to an FHS graduate who has shown an interest in the field of medicine or health occupations.

Leo L. and Marion M. Nady – Ag/Business Memorial Scholarship 1993: Given by their children, both Mr. and Mrs. Nady were lifelong residents of Jefferson County. For many years they owned and operated a farm adjacent to Fairfield. They were active church members, interested in antique furniture and music. The scholarship is to be used in the field of agriculture or business. This scholarship is open to FHS or Pekin graduating senior students.

Leona M. Nady Music Memorial Scholarship 1992: Miss Nady was born in Jefferson County and graduated from Fairfield High School with the class of 1922. She received a Bachelor of Music Degree from Parsons College with special areas of studies, including music and organ. Although her love of music was deep, even deeper was her interest in helping young people. It is with the knowledge of this interest and caring that this scholarship has been established. This scholarship is open to FHS or Pekin graduating senior students.

Nellie T. Neff Memorial Scholarship 1994: Mrs. Neff was a Physical Education instructor in Cleveland, OH Public Schools for fourteen years. During that time, she excelled in field hockey and other sporting activities. She married Julius C Neff in 1945 and developed a love of gardening and horticulture. She was actively involved in the Western Reserve Chapter of the Herb Society of America, where she earned the highest award presented by that organization. Mrs. Neff was president of the chapter when a new herb garden was constructed that earned national recognition. It is located adjacent to the Garden Center of Greater Cleveland. This scholarship assists students going into the field of physical education, horticulture, or biology.

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Ralph Perry Trust Memorial Scholarships 2002: Ralph Perry was a long-time businessman and community leader of Fairfield. He owned Perry Clothing for many years and was an avid Hawkeye football fan. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Iowa State Bank & Trust Company. Ralph and his wife had one daughter, Mary Ann, and she preceded Ralph in death. At that time Ralph reached a decision to leave his entire estate to the Greater Jefferson County Foundation to provide scholarships to FHS graduating seniors. The scholarship is based on financial need and factors indicating the recipient’s promise in pursuing further education or training, including but not limited to, scholastic performance and vocational preferences.

Grace Roberts Nursing Scholarship 2008: Mrs. Roberts graduated from Fairfield High School in 1927 and St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing in Ottumwa, Iowa in 1930. She worked at St. Joseph Hospital in the early ’30s. Then in the 1940s, she and her husband operated bus depots in Ottumwa, Iowa City, and the Fairfield Hotel. From 1948 to 1952, they owned/operated the Lakeview Motel, restaurant, and gas station in Yukon, OK. They came back in 1952 to help care for Grace’s parents. She was a nurse at the Van Buren County Hospital from 1955 to 1971 until her retirement. Grace passed away in 2006, but it was her desire to help students wishing to pursue a career in the field of nursing with this annual scholarship.

Hazel Scovel Samuelson Memorial Scholarship 1988: Mrs. Samuelson was a long-time employee of the Jefferson County Superintendent’s Office. She was an excellent employee with a great interest in young people. This scholarship was established by her sister in 1988, the first of the Foundation’s scholarships, in order to assist graduating students in the field of teaching, other than coaching and physical education.

Jack and Ruth Sellars Scholarships: Jack and Ruth Sellars, lifetime residents of Fairfield, did not designate a specific area or discipline regarding a scholarship, therefore the Foundation’s Scholarship Committee created two separate scholarships in memory of these two remarkable individuals: the Jack Sellars Scholarships, of which two are awarded annually, and the Ruth Sellars Open Scholarship. Jack’s scholarship emphasis is focused on those seeking an Industrial Technology/Maintenance/Healthcare education. Ruth’s scholarship is for an outstanding FHS student with an emphasis on community involvement. Mr. Sellars was born in Keokuk County and rode his pony to school, graduating from Richland High School. He served with the US Army Signal Corps in WWII. Mr. Sellars worked at the Dexter Company in Fairfield for 30 years and was part of a group of executives involved in bringing the Dexter Company ownership back to Fairfield. Mrs. Sellars was a longtime legal secretary with the Scott Jordan law firm. They were both actively involved in the Fairfield community and their memberships included First United Methodist Church, TTT, and Lions, and they played in a four couple group of bridge players for more than 50 years. Although no children of their own, they were devoted to each other. Mrs. Sellars died within 3 weeks of her husband of a broken heart, according to their minister.

Turner Teaching Scholarship 2012: Both Harold and Catherine Turner lived full lives dedicated to education. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1950 from Carthage College, then a Master of Education in 1951 from the University of Illinois and finished at George Peabody College (Vanderbilt University) where he completed his Doctorate in Education in secondary supervision and curriculum in 1956. Catherine supported his efforts, typed his papers, and worked a variety of jobs as an executive secretary while he pursued his education. She retired in 1982 after 17 years at Monsanto. Mr. Turner began his professional career in 1956 in Lakewood, CO. Years followed at the University of North Texas, Sacramento, CA, and the University of St. Louis, from where he retired in 1985. This scholarship is for the faculty of FHS who is enrolled in a directed program to complete and advanced degree in the field of education.

Jeanne Thoma Scholarship 2008: Jeanne Thoma was a devoted wife, mother, and educator. A graduate of the University of Iowa, she first came to Fairfield in 1929 to teach Math and English. Following the death of her husband in 1959, she returned to FHS where she was a Guidance Counselor until her retirement in 1973. As a counselor, Jeanne encouraged students to pursue their educations beyond high school and was instrumental in helping many students receive scholarship monies to attend college or trade school. In addition to being a founding board member for the FHS Wall of Honor, Jeanne was also very active in the Fairfield community. She was a member of the Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority, Delta Kappa Gamma Educational Sorority, American Association of University of Women, Child Abuse Board, The Greater Jefferson County Foundation Scholarship Committee, Fairfield Women’s Club, Lionels, PEO, Fairfield Golf & Country Club, and First Presbyterian Church. This scholarship, in her memory, has been established to help a current Fairfield Community High School graduate attend a college, university, or trade school of their choice to obtain the necessary education to meet their career goals. Factors considered in determining the recipient include GPA, Need, and Participation in extra-curricular activities that include School, Community, and Church. The greatest consideration is given to the student’s academic ability to complete an educational program beyond high school and their financial ability to pay for continuing education.

Karlena “Dub” Thoma Scholarship 1998: Dub was born and raised here, graduating from FHS I in 1936 and Parsons College in 1940. She was a high school math teacher on both the East Coast and West Coast prior to returning to Fairfield to create the Gamrath and Thoma Insurance Agency in 1947. In 1970 she sold her interest in the agency and moved to Portland, OR, to pursue a real estate career and other business opportunities. The scholarship was created by Margaret M. Henderson to honor her friend of many years. Even in later years, Dub never lost her love of education nor her convictions that education was a lifetime pursuit, not only for career purposes but also for acquiring a sense of worth and integrity for making a difference in society. Dub left Fairfield in her retirement years, but Fairfield never left her. With deep family ties here, her formal education and working years were centered largely in Fairfield. This scholarship is awarded to an FHS student with strong math skills, attending a four-year college to pursue a career in math or a related field and having a strong sense of and a commitment to community service.

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Robert & Anna Wiseman Memorial Scholarship 2002: This scholarship was created by Anna Wiseman in memory of her husband. Bob was a great fan of FHS Trojan Wrestling and this scholarship was directed to go to a graduating FHS senior who has participated in varsity wrestling during their career at FHS.

Mary Witkosky Scholarship 1983-1997: Originally administrated by Mildred Hoover following Ms. Witkosky’s death in 1983, and then transferred to GJCF in 1997. Miss Witkosky taught Jr. High Math from 1949 through 1971. This scholarship focuses on the recipient’s interest in Math/Science exclusively.

Zillman Scholarship 1999: Carl and Mary Zillman were lifelong proponents of conservation. Carl served as a charter member of the Jefferson County Conservation Board from 1975. In 1981, Carl and Mary donated a sizeable Native American artifact collection to the Jefferson County Conservation Board (that is displayed in the Nature Center in Jefferson County Park). In 1986, they also donated 46 acres of land to the conservation board which is known as Zillman’s Hickory Hills. It has been used for passive outdoor recreation. The scholarship will assist an FHS graduating senior in advancing their education in the field of conservation, wildlife management, or a related field.

Pass-through Scholarships:

Ben & Judy Bower Scholarship 2022:Both Ben and Judy graduated from FHS in 1964. Ben completed Vocational Machine Shop under Iliff Leu and went on to enlist in the Seabees in 1965, serving with Mobile Construction Batallion #11 for two tours in Viet Nam. Ben returned to the Midwest following his discharge and continued his construction career as a Millwright, working and supervising in many facilities in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Ohio. Judy worked as a bookkeeper in the banking industry for 28 years and later in the Henry County Attorney's Office for 13 years. This scholarship is for a graduating FHS senior student who will be attending Indian Hills CC, Kirkwood CC, or Southeastern CC and studying Machine Shop/Metal Working, Welding or CAD.

The Dexter Company has provided pass-through scholarships to the GJCF. These scholarships go directly to high school graduating seniors who have a parent(s) who work for the Dexter Company. These are open scholarships.

Jefferson County Pork Producers emphasis is for a student who themselves are a pork producer, or who have a family member who is in pork production. The criteria is in an Agriculture related field. This scholarship is open to FHS or Pekin graduating senior students.

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