Resides: I have lived in Marshalltown since age 3, other than four years at University of Norther Iowa. I live in the same house I grew up in! I attended Rogers Elementary, Miller Junior High, and Marshalltown High School.

Hometown: Le Mars


Family: My parents are the late Stan Brown, and Lenora Brown (Grandma Purple!) who resides in Marshalltown. I am the oldest of four. My husband, Larry and I just celebrated our 45th anniversary! We have three amazing daughters (Hannah, Sarah and Leah), joined by three extraordinary sons-in-law, and seven absolutely incredible grandchildren. Number seven is to be born in October.

Hobbies and interests: I knit, so Larry, my mom, and all of our daughters and grandchildren have scarves! I also crochet, so our three newest grandchildren have a blanket. I enjoy reading, playing the piano, singing, and volunteering in our grandchildren’s classrooms.


Occupation: Larry and I are retired teachers from the Marshalltown Community School District. I taught for 33 years and I am in my 10th year of substitute teaching.

What that means: If a teacher cannot be available, I get a call. I work in all of the MCSD’s elementary schools and get to know a lot of amazing teachers and awesome students. I am impressed with para-educators! They are truly committed to their students and are a lifeline for a substitute!

If I could change jobs, I would: I had wanted to be an educator since the 3rd grade! I can’t think of doing anything else!


Books: “The Hiding Place,” by Corrie Ten Boom, “The Shack,” by William Paul Young, “Heaven is for Real,” by Todd Burpo, and “For the Love,” by Jen Hatmaker. Include all Karen Kingsbury books, and currently reading Richard Paul Evans titles.

Movies: “The Bodyguard” and “Under the Tuscan Sun.”

Foods: My mom’s German Chocolate cake! She makes it from scratch annually for my birthday! And I love barbecue.

Sports: MHS Bobcats, UNI Panthers, and Kansas City Chiefs.


Local involvement: I am a recent breast cancer survivor, and have been asked to tell my story at the 6th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon, 11 a.m to 1 p.m., Oct. 5 at Elmwood Country Club. It is sponsored by UnityPoint Health-Marshalltown Foundation. Proceeds from event help provide mammograms to women who are under-insured, or uninsured. Additionally, Larry and I are lay pastors at the local Vineyard Church, where I also play piano, sing, and help lead worship. One of the joys of my life is volunteering for Iowa River Hospice! It is the most amazing organization, and Marshalltown is so fortunate to have it serve our community. You’ll find me there on Tuesday evenings, helping families and patients.

Best part of living here: It is home! My roots grow deep. I love it when our daughters come home — it is to Marshalltown. I love it when our grandchildren come to visit grandma and grandpa — it’s to Marshalltown. This has been absolutely the best place to raise our family.

Most influential persons: My dad was the most positive, kind, loving, forgiving person I have known, and he taught me the love of God the Father. My mom has always been compassionate, caring, serving and helping others, and she has taught me how to love and serve as Jesus loved and served. My husband is the wisest, strongest, yet gentlest man I have known, and he shows me the affirming, encouraging love of the Holy Spirit.

Advice on life: Love God, love others — it is really that simple. My mom always said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” and I try to live by that. With so much negativity in this world, I feel it is so important to be a positive influence, to build people up rather than tear them down.


15 Minutes is a Saturday feature about Central Iowans. The question and answer format lends itself be completed or read in 15 minutes or less. To submit a name for consideration, or to participate, contact Times-Republican Staff and Features Reporter Mike Donahey at