Stoner, Jean Minish, 1920-
- Existence: 1920-
Jean Minish Stoner, farm woman, 4-H leader, writer, and community volunteer, was born on a Blackhawk County farm in north central Iowa. Her parents Elva Vorhees and Archie Minish had attended college. Her mother was an accomplished violinist and teacher while her father had a degree in animal science from Iowa State College, now Iowa State University. After marrying, they bought a farm not far from his parents' farm near Hudson, Iowa. Archie Minish raised purebred sheep, showing them as far away as Chicago. Archie and Elva Minish lost that farm during the harsh economic conditions of the 1920s. They moved to northern Minnesota and back in the 1930s as their children were growing up. Eventually, they rented a farm near Mt. Vernon in Linn County, Iowa. There, the lack of money to buy gas kept them from driving to church on Sundays, but they managed to send their daughter, Jean, to high school in Mt. Vernon and then to Cornell College, where she graduated in 1941. Minish had met Virgil Stoner through a church group. They dated for a year and married three days after her graduation from Cornell College.
The Stoners had three sons in the next three years and two more sons by 1952. They bought fifteen acres and farmed the farm of Virgil Stoner's parents. Jean Stoner cared for five children, sold chickens and eggs, canned, helped with field chores, and was active with 4-H. The Stoner farm that began with fifteen acres in 1954 became a corporation with over 5000 acres by 1984. Jean Stoner kept the corporate books, as well as serving in various leadership roles in the church, community, and local schools. After her children left the farm, she became interested in Linn County history, serving as president of Dillon's Furrow, a local historical organization. Perceiving a need, she began a second-hand store in Mt. Vernon in 1990 and volunteered in local schools. Additional biographical details are listed in the Iowa Mother of the Year Portfolio.