Herold and Kriener families leave lasting legacy for rural communities
Three sisters, all teachers, gardeners and forward-thinkers, are leaving their shared legacy in the form of an endowment fund with the Allamakee County Community Foundation to provide community support for services and opportunities that enrich quality of life in rural communities near their homes.
The sisters, Valeria Herold, Anastasia Kriener and Rosemary Kriener, grew up on a family farm in rural Fort Atkinson. The Herold and Kriener Family Legacy Fund supports community service organizations, educational scholarships, faith-based centers and land stewardship. “The fund has already impacted the small communities where we live in that we can designate yearly gifts, including to the South Winn First Responders and three local fire departments,” says Rosemary’s daughter, Anne Blocker. “With so many teachers in the family, educational scholarships and libraries will also be among our benefactors.”
Following in their father’s footsteps, the sisters all graduated from Mount Mercy College and became teachers. Together, they taught in many northeast Iowa schools including Fort Atkinson, Calmar, Waucoma, Alpha, West Union, Strawberry Point, Elma, St. Luke’s and Turkey Valley. They passed on their passion for education to their nieces, nephews and children, and many went on to education-related careers.
After 101 years of a very rich life, Valeria died last October. An avid traveler, she was known for her sense of adventure and ability to help others understand that although people live in different parts of the world, they all share the same basic goals. Through travel, she strived to be a more understanding and compassionate educator and human – a goal that resonates through the fund that lives on in her name.
In addition to their shared passion for education, the “three queens” (nicknamed by a local priest), valued their farming roots. They were avid gardeners who remained connected to the land. Anastasia and Rosemary married brothers Cyril and Leo Kriener, who farmed in northeast Iowa, allowing the sisters to live no more than a few miles from one another.
“They shared 88 years of daily phone calls, morning coffee and gardening wisdom,” says Blocker, who encouraged the sisters to consider an endowment with the Community Foundation. “Giving back has always been important to Valeria, Rosemary, Anastasia and their spouses. They have strong faith and belief in community support. As they aged, they wanted to find a way to continue that support in perpetuity.”
Through their family fund, the seeds planted by the three sisters will continue to provide for generations to come.