The Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation and Cookies Food Products are pleased to present Mary Rueter, of DeWitt, as an “Iowan of the Day” for the 2019 Iowa State Fair.
Founded in 1997, the “Iowan of the Day” program allows the Blue Ribbon Foundation to recognize Iowa’s most outstanding people. The program honors Iowans who have made a difference in the lives of others, while upholding Iowa values such as dependability, integrity, hard work and a sense of community.
Rueter’s day of recognition will be Saturday, Aug. 17, at the State Fair. She will be recognized with a presentation on the Anne and Bill Riley stage at 1 p.m.
Along with accommodations at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown, she will receive a gift bag, grandstand tickets, use of the “Iowa of the Day” golf cart, a cash prize, Iowa State Fair admission tickets and VIP parking.
Retired from her position as a general manager and managing editor of her community newspaper, The Observer, Rueter had a career of more than 41 years. Her experience in the newspaper field cultivated an interest in transparency and openness and government, as well as the need for freedom of information.
She was named Woman of the Year by DeWitt Business and Professional Women and Communicator of Achievement by the Iowa Press Women and the National Federation of Press Women.
Rueter also received a Distinguished Service Award from the Iowa Newspaper Association, in addition to many awards for writing, editing and photography. She is past president of the Iowa Newspaper Foundation.
Rueter was a founder of the Central Parent Teacher Organization when her children were in elementary school, and she and Pat Henricksen co-founded Central Community High School’s After Prom Event in 1986 and the Central Community Educational Foundation in 1991.
She served 16 years as director on the Area Education Agency IX Board of Directors, and was one of the initial participants in Central DeWitt’s Lunch Buddy Program, which she continued for many years.
Rueter was an inaugural member of the DeWitt Community Hospital Foundation, and has headed up its Pink for the Cure Committee for several years leading up to the acquisition of digital mammography equipment for the local hospital.
She is active on the DeWitt Theater Co. board of directors, and worked on two renovations of the iconic Operahouse Theatre, 25 years apart. She is an avid patron of the local library and an active member of its auxiliary, the Friends of Frances.
Rueter is past president of the DeWitt Chamber of Commerce and served on the DeWitt Development Committee, and continues as a member of the DeWitt Chamber and Development Co.
She worked, both professionally and personally, for the passage of a Central Community School District bond issue, which took more than 15 tries, and now serves on the board of directors for the operation of the auditorium at the Central DeWitt Performing Arts Center.
Rueter is a member of Chapter BG and PEO, and past matron of Golden Star Chapter of the Order of Eastern Star and DeWitt United Methodist Church.
She is serving her second term on the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Finance Board. Rueter serves as the Clinton County Board of Supervisors’ representative on the River Bend Transit Board of Directors.
Rueter is a member of the Clinton County Fair Hall of Fame, and received an award of merit from Clinton County 4-H for her role in producing more than 25 special issues covering the annual fair, which chronicled all the grand and reserve champions in fair competition. In retirement, she was an associate member and volunteer of the Clinton County Fair Board.
Rueter is past president of the DeWitt Noon Lions Club and headed or co-chaired many committees, including the travelogue and election day sloppy joe fundraiser committees. She is a frequent travelogue presenter, have traveled extensively and visited all 50 states and six continents. She was a member of the delegation that delivered a proclamation to DeWitt’s Sister City, Bredstedt, Germany, which developed into a relationship that resulted in DeWitt’s hausbarn in Lincoln Park being shipped over from Bredstedt.
Following her retirement, Rueter has continued to use her skill set as a volunteer Court-Appointed Special Advocate, representing and advocating for children in need of assistance, particularly in the court system.
Rueter also is the founder of BOOM!, a philanthropic women’s organization that donates quarterly to local nonprofit organizations.
She enjoys traveling, camping, reading, volunteering, and most especially, time spent with her family.
Rueter and her late husband, Al, are the parents of Kristi Rueter Boll, of Moline, Illinois, David (Susan), of Eldridge, Matthew (Penny), of Davenport and Kyle (Amanda), of Mankato, Minnesota. Seven grandchildren make her life complete. They are Allison Rueter, a student at Iowa State University in Ames; Mason Boll, of Moline; and Macalan, Sutton, Eden, Eisen, and Rowyn Rueter, all of Mankato.
The list of accomplishments was provided by Robin Krogman, director of the DeWitt Community Hospital Foundation, who nominated her for the honor and who consulted with Rueter about her accomplishments.