Skip to main content

Neff, Ortha P., 1915-



  • Existence: 1915-


Ortha P. Neff, Red Cross staff member and Girl Scout Council Executive Director, was born on a farm near Nichols, Iowa, in 1915. She was named after Ortha Lane, a Christian missionary to China and a friend of Neff's mother. Neff attended a small country school across the road from her home, and graduated from Nichols High School in 1932. After one year at Ottumwa Heights College, a Catholic convent school, she began teaching at the country school in Nichols in order to save enough money to attend the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa). After earning her BA from the State University of Iowa in 1940, she taught at Charter Oak High School in Charter Oak, Iowa, and in Knoxville, Iowa. Neff joined the Red Cross in 1944 and worked in military tent hospitals in Hawaii and Okinawa until the end of World War II. After returning to the United States, Neff trained to become a member of the Girl Scout professional staff in two Indiana councils. She earned her master's degree from the University of Indiana and became a staff member for the Chicago Girl Scouts. Later, as a member of the national staff, Neff worked in Kansas City, San Francisco, and Heidelberg, Germany (as part of the Girl Scout Troops on Foreign Soil). In 1976, Neff retired to her brother's farm in Nichols. In 1984, she moved to a retirement community in Iowa City, where she completed her memoirs.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Ortha P. Neff papers

Identifier: IWA0561

Red Cross staff member who was stationed in Okinawa and Hawaii during World War II.

Dates: 1944-2006