About Our Friends

About Our Friends

About Our Friends

By Jacqueline Schmeal, Feb 26, 2021

Two men who dedicated their time, advice, and work to the Iowa Barn Foundation for years, died recently. Joe Lyon, Toledo, known far and wide as a dairyman's dairyman, joined the board of the foundation soon after it launched. He graduated from Iowa State and soon after, moved to Toledo to help on the family's dairy farm. He was still milking cows until shortly before he died. He was a leader in the industry nationwide. Before he left Iowa State, he was married to his Duffy, an ag graduate, who became the folk heroine of Iowa as the "Butter Cow Lady." Their son, Eric, has joined the board of the Iowa Barn Foundation.

Tom Lawler, long-time member of the board of the Iowa Barn Foundation, generously handled legal issues for the foundation and served as president. Tom grew up on a farm west of Union and went to school in New Providence. He got his law degree at Catholic University, Columbus School of Law, Washington, D.C. He practiced law in Parkersburg for 46 years. He served as president of the American Agricultural Law Association, as well as a member of the board of governors of the Iowa State Bar Association. A few years ago Tom and his wife Elaine, moved to Waverly.

Retiring as treasurer of the Iowa Barn Foundation is Don Geiger, Ames native and Iowa State graduate, served as treasurer of the Iowa Barn Foundation from the beginning. He knew every penny that went into the foundation and every penny that went out. He sent out yearly tax letters and gave good advice. Don started his financial career as a partner at De Loitte and Touche, Des Moines. Although Don never lived on a farm, he came from rural Iowa roots. His father was a leader in 4-H at Iowa State. We all owe him gratitude.

Taking over Don's job as treasurer is Steve Lawler, who farms in Ogden. He is dedicated to farms and barns. He grew up on the farm where he lives and raised four children. After graduating in finance at University of Iowa, he could have moved any place for work, but chose to stay in Iowa. He has been active in Ogden, especially in a local organization that gives college scholarships to students.

And, our new president of the Iowa Barn Foundation is Jack Smith, a true barn lover who cherishes his historic beautiful barn in the Bankston area of Dubuque County. His hobby is production agriculture, taking care to conserve our resources and working to improve our soil health. He says, "I also enjoy Iowa history--especially agricultural history. I love Iowa barns." He is putting a lot of time into the foundation. His wife Maria, and sons, Nick and Ted, are also involved in the farm too.


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