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Quentin V. Anderson

Harley A. Wilhelm

Outstanding Alumni

      Ellston School

Quentin V. Anderson, born May 7, 1932, is the eldest son of George and Lena Anderson. Quentin grew up on a farm east of Ellston, attending the Ellston Community School, graduating in 1949. He went on to attend the American Institute of Business and serve in the US Army. Quentin was united in marriage with Rita (Hewlett) of Grand River on October 20, 1957. They had two children; Clinton in 1964 and Cherri (Vos) in 1970, raising them on a farm near Ellston. In addition to farming, Quentin has owned and operated several businesses; dirt construction, building construction, grain elevator, farm equipment business, bowling alley at Bethany, MO and is a member of the Community of Christ Church. Quentin was elected to the Iowa Legislature and served six years in the House of Representatives and four years in the Iowa Senate, during the years of 1962-1974.

Harley Wilhelm was born August 5, 1900 to Bert and Annabelle Wilhelm. Harley grew up the third of 7 children raised on various rented-crop shared farms around Ellston, attending Pumptown Country School. In 1910, the family moved to a 160 acre farm one and one half miles north of Ellston and the children were allowed to attend Ellston’s Community School. Harley grew strong and learned to work hard, helping on their horse powered farm, raising their food by growing a large garden, feeding chickens, and butchering an animal only once in awhile. His father kept in contact with the Ellston butcher to buy or be given the animal organs like liver, heart, and brains to supplement the family’s meat. The house was filled with music and their family band picked up extra money by playing at dances or playing for free

on Saturday nights in Ellston. The children also played in the school orchestra. Harley put his farm muscles to work as a star athlete, playing varsity sports as a freshman and being an all-state athlete as a senior. Harley, the only child in the family to graduate from High School,  was in the Class of 1919. He received an athletic scholarship to Drake in Des Moines and studied mathematics, applying his strong work ethic to academia. He was a forward on the Drake basketball team, halfback on the American football team, and pitcher on the baseball team.  During graduation week in 1923, Harley married Orpha (Lutton) of Des Moines, who was to be his life-long partner. Wilhelm’s first job was teaching chemistry and coaching football at Intermountain Union College in Helena, Montana. By 1929, he returned to Iowa State College as a graduate assistant in chemistry, earning his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in 1931. His thesis was "Band spectra produced by certain explosion mixtures". He then joined the Iowa State College faculty, becoming an assistant professor in 1940, associate professor in 1944, and a full professor in 1945. He continued to play baseball for many years, pitching for Ames Merchant, a semi-professional team.

n February 1942, with the United States engaged in World War II, Arthur H. Compton established the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago as part of the Manhattan Project, to build nuclear reactors to create plutonium that would be used in atomic bombs. He recruited Frank Spedding from Iowa State College as the head of the Metallurgical Laboratory's Chemistry Division. In turn, Spedding established a branch Metallurgical Laboratory at Iowa State College, and recruited Wilhelm as Associate Director to lead the metallurgical research. Spedding and Wilhelm began looking for ways to create the uranium metal. The Ames team found that molten uranium could be cast in a graphite container. They then investigated a process (now known as the Ames process) involving mixing uranium tetrachloride. His uranium extraction process helped make it possible for the Manhattan Project to build the first atomic bombs.

After World War II, Spedding and Wilhelm founded the Institute of Atomic Research and the Ames Laboratory of the Atomic Energy Commission. Wilhelm became its associate director in 1945, serving in that capacity until 1966. He remained the principal scientist and professor of chemistry and metallurgy until he retired in 1970, at the mandatory retirement age of 70. Harley continued on the faculty at ISU from which he retired as Professor Emeritus in 1971, helping to establish the United States Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory at Iowa State University. His work at the Ames Laboratory included a wide range of subjects, from the design of high-speed computers to environmental waste management and materials science. He individually or jointly held over 40 patents relating to chemistry and metallurgy and 60 patents relating to atomic energy.

Wilhelm’s accolades included being part of the United States delegation to the 1955 International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in Geneva, receiving the Eisenman Award from the American Society of Metals in 1962, and the Gold Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1990, but he was more celebrated for his achievements as an athlete. In 1961, he was named one of the 100 greatest athletes in Drake University's history. He was one of 32 Drake alumni athletes who received the first Double D Awards in 1968, and he was inducted into the Iowa Boys High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988. In 2006, he was one of 80 basketball players selected as part of Drake University's all-decade teams.

Harley and Orpha maintained their home in Ames, Iowa and raised their four children, eventually having 10 grandchildren. Orpha died in 1991 and Wilhelm died in the Story City Memorial Hospital on October 7, 1995.

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He was a voice to protect rural areas, changing the inheritance tax and tax on livestock, and introduced branding laws. Simultaneously, he worked to develop Sun Valley Lake, a 500 acre recreation retirement community; purchasing land, erecting a dirt dam, surveying and selling lots, building a golf course, tennis court, marina, clubhouse, and restaurant. The lake was completed in 1972. Quentin passed away Dec 27, 2019 at age 87.

Forty-five years later, there are approximately 600 homes around the lake that provides Ringgold County with nearly 50% of its property tax revenue and thousands of dollars in sales tax. Some economic development jobs created because of the lake include landscaping & mowing, construction, dirt excavation & dredging, plumbing & electrical, boat & container storage, real estate, waste treatment facility, and the a volunteer fire department. Quentin Anderson’s vision and hard work with the help of his wife Rita has made a tremendous direct impact on the county and local economy by improving quality of life, increasing beauty, and providing recreational fun.

In 2019, Quentin manages his farm land & continues to build community.

State Representative

Quentin V. Anderson

in 1963

Brought to you by NERA . Northeast Ringgold County Alliance. Foundation . Established in 2008 . Serving residents in Northeast Ringgold County . Iowa