The Ottumwa Courier

April 3, 2013

Elmer Kinsinger, 91, Oskaloosa


OSKALOOSA — Elmer H. Kinsinger, 91, of Oskaloosa, died April 1, 2013, at the MHP Hospice Services Serenity House in Oskaloosa.

Elmer Hubert Kinsinger was born Dec. 30, 1921, near Blakesburg in Wapello County to Hubert and Margaret Dommer Kinsinger. 

He attended rural schools, and in 1933 the family moved to a farm on the west edge of Ottumwa in the Black Hawk area. This area is presently about one mile northwest of the Quincy Place Mall. Since Elmer was the only eighth-grade student, the teacher asked him to start the coal stove before the other students arrived. From the money he earned from this task, he purchased a bicycle, which he rode four miles to the Ottumwa High School all four years. A member of the football team, Elmer was an honor student, and following his 1940 graduation from Ottumwa High School, his agriculture teacher helped him get a Sears and Roebuck Scholarship for his freshman year at Iowa State University. The scholarship was $125, full payment of tuition. While at Iowa State, he and another student lived in the livestock barn caring for the animals in payment for their room. Later he became a member of the Farm House Fraternity.

In 1943, he enlisted in the Navy V-12 program and graduated from Midshipman school at Columbia University in New York City. Graduating as an ensign, he was sent to the south Pacific and served aboard an LCI until World War II ended. He joined his ship in New Caledonia and traveled to Guadalcanal and other islands, and the ship was involved in the initial landing at Leyte Gulf on Oct. 20, 1944. They traveled to Okinawa and to ports in South Korea before returning to the Hawaiian Islands and then to San Diego. Elmer was a long-term 4-H member and enjoyed exhibiting at the Wapello County Fair and serving on a judging team at the Iowa State Fair.

On April 21, 1946, he and Evelyn Cherry were married at the Union Protestant Church at Quasqueton, Iowa. He returned to Iowa State University to complete his senior year and they then farmed near Quasqueton on Evelyn’s parents’ farm for seven years. Three daughters, Karen, Margaret and Marilyn, were born during this time. In 1954, they moved to Mahaska County to be near his family. They farmed in Cedar Township, and their fourth daughter, Cherry, was born at Ottumwa Hospital. They were active during these years at the Cedar United Methodist Church, and the daughters all graduated from Fremont High School.

Elmer served as president of Mahaska County Farm Bureau and Mahaska Farm Service. He served many years on the Mahaska County Historical Board and was chairman of the Nelson Farm Trust. He served on the board of the Southeast Iowa Experimental Farm and served many years on the board of the Methodist Church Thanksgiving Ingathering in Mt. Pleasant. He was a member of the all men’s group who toured Ghana, Africa, with the Methodist bishop to view the mission work being done there. Later he and Evelyn participated in many mission work projects in Jamaica, Honduras, Mexico and many places in the United States. They were longtime volunteers of HPI in Arkansas and Massachusetts.

In 1984, they purchased a home in Oskaloosa, and daughter and son-in-law, Marilyn and Bruce Van Roekel moved to the farm. Changes were made in future years, but he always enjoyed assisting at the farm whenever needed. Traveling, visiting the children and reading farm magazines and working in his yard brought him great joy.

In 2004, he suffered a stroke and recovered sufficiently to stay at home until the time of his death.

Funeral services for Elmer will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Central United Methodist Church in Oskaloosa; with Rev. Tom Boomershine officiating. Burial will be in Forest Cemetery with military honors by the Oskaloosa Honor Guard. 

Visitation will begin at noon Thursday at Garland-Van Arkel-Langkamp Funeral Chapel, with the family present from 5-7 p.m. to greet visitors.

Memorials may be made to Central United Methodist Church or MHP Serenity House.

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