The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 12, 2013

Meet the 2013 YWCA Women of Achievement

Herald Staff Report
The Clinton Herald

---- — Eight area women and one local business will be recognized for their extraordinary efforts and accomplishments in the community at the 40th annual presentation of the YWCA Woman of Achievement awards.

The honorees were selected from nominations in each category submitted earlier this year by colleagues, family and friends.

A dinner will be held to honor their accomplishments April 18 at The Tuscany Special Events Center at Rastrelli’s Restaurant in Clinton. Social time will begin at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25, or $20 for those 60 and older. To join in the celebration, reservations may be made through April 15 by calling 242-2110.


Frances Bickelhaupt’s nominators, Anne Schmidt and Margo Hansen, wrote, “Although in her 90s, she is still learning, sharing her knowledge and encouraging others to do the same.”

A life-long resident of Clinton, volunteering was always a part of her family; she began with teaching Sunday school and went on to volunteer at Jane Lamb Hospital, and is a 50-year member of the Agatha Auxiliary, now Mercy Auxiliary. She was also a member of the Visiting Nurse Board of Directors for many years.

In the 1970s, seeing a need for environmental education in Clinton, she and her husband established an outdoor museum, Bickelhaupt Arboretum. Frances remembers the many years of mowing the grounds and enjoyment brought from bringing this gift to the community. She was the program developer for community environment education for over 40 years. The Arboretum offers classes and tours year-round, drawing not only local visitors and students but also guests from all over the country and world.

As her activity level has changed over the years, she now spends time knitting prayer shawls for hospital patients and friends. Frances and her husband Bob were married for 65 years and have two daughters, three grandchildren and five great grandchildren.


Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Winn moved to Clinton in 1948. She was a music teacher at Jefferson Elementary for 26 years and since has volunteered at Jefferson and Eagle Heights Elementary for the past 29 years, focusing on the enrichment subjects requested by the teaching staff. “This 91 year-old exudes giving, enthusiasm, resourcefulness, creativeness, love of teaching, love of music, love of family and friends, love of life.” wrote nominator Alice Srp.

She has given presentations to scouting groups on Native Americans, U.S. Presidents, musical instruments and her travels throughout the United States, national parks and other countries. Mary has made many costumes and instruments so the children may participate in hands-on learning. At Bickelhaupt Arboretum, she has also presented outdoor education programs.

She is an active member of the First Congregational Church and has participated in the Bell Choir at First United Methodist Church for 29 years. Her love of music is evident as a long-time member of the singing group, Clintones, serving as director for the past six years. Mary and her husband, Jim, had two children, Nancy and David, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.


“She is passionate about the quality of care given to all patients and under her able leadership, the hospital has made great strides and improvements. She empowers people to make wise and right decisions and does everything she can to remove obstacles and barriers so that the difficult work of caring for the sick and vulnerable in our society is made easier.” wrote Kamalini Kumar when nominating Berentes for the Professional Woman of Achievement award.

Berentes is the vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer for Mercy Medical Center – Clinton. She is responsible for creating the structure and environment that cultivates professional practice, elevates the quality of care and improves patient outcomes. Prior to working in Clinton, she worked at Mercy-Dubuque and FHN as the Director of Clinical and Professional Development/Magnet Coordinator. She received her Associates in Applied Science from Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon, Ill., and both her undergraduate and graduate nursing degrees from Clarke College in Dubuque.

Among her other duties, she serves as an ANCC Magnet appraiser, a Clinton Salvation Army Advisory Board member and as a lector and former youth leader at Prince of Peace Church in Freeport, Ill. Additionally, she is a member of the Iowa Nurses Association, the Iowa Organization of Nurse Leaders and the American Organization of Nurse Executives. She was recognized as one of Iowa’s Top 100 Nurses in 2010.

Amy and her husband Mike have three children Brandon, Allie and Michael.


Nominator Jennifer Graf shared, “Mary has placed our community on the map with her relentless passion for others. She exemplifies leadership with dignity all the while carrying a positive attitude and a bright smile.”

Wolfe, a native of Clinton, graduated from Mater Dei High School and went onto the University of Iowa to obtain her undergraduate and law degrees, returning to Clinton in 1992 to practice law with her father. Her practice focuses primarily on criminal defense, family law and consumer bankruptcy. She has been a member of the Clinton County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.

Wolfe was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives in 2010 and re-elected in 2012. This session she was appointed ranking member of the Judiciary Committee and serves as a member of the Transportation and Public Safety committees. She has championed for the protection of women and children and advocates for those suffering with mental illness.

She is a member of the AAUW and the Chamber of Commerce and Footlight Friends, Clinton High School’s Drama Department Booster Club. Mary has a son, John, a senior at Clinton High.


She is a “shepherd” who is guided by Scripture, kind, compassionate and understanding without prejudice,” says nominators Francie Hill, LeAnne Larsen and Joyce Ollie.

An Iowa farm girl, Henry was born and raised in Nora Springs. She attended Wartburg College and graduated with an English Ed. degree and her future husband. Traveling at every opportunity, the couple taught in southern Texas and Iowa before spending a two-year stint in Qingdao, China. Upon returning from China the couple served as Missionaries in Residence in western Iowa. She enrolled at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, graduating in 1998. Jen has served ELCA congregations in Pella, Olin, Davenport and Clinton as well as started a congregation in Lisbon. She received her STM (Master of Sacred Theology) from Wartburg Seminary in 2004. Since March of 2006, “Pastor Jen” has served as senior pastor at Clinton’s Zion Lutheran Church. She is involved in numerous local organizations including IRAS, United Way, After Schools Mentoring Project and the Cancer Support Group. She also shares her leadership skills with a board at the seminary and by working with first call pastors in the Southeast Iowa Synod.

She and her violinist husband, Jerry, enjoy adding to the 35 countries they have currently visited. Throughout her life, she has been influenced by unforgettable people; she takes seriously this quote from Maya Angelou : “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.


Eggers, of Maquoketa, is this year’s County Woman of Achievement. Nominator Ronelle Clark wrote, “If everyone in this world had one ounce of her energy and enthusiasm for life, we would all be most fortunate. No matter what life throws her way she has the faith to know it will all work out OK.” After working many years in the legal and human resources fields, Pam became a volunteer and now staff member of the YWCA Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Resource Center in Maquoketa.

She discovered that giving of her time and energy, helping those in need, being a confidant and going above and beyond what is expected is what fills her tank. She chairs Sarah Circle, is a Stephen Minister, serves on the congregation council, is secretary of First Lutheran Women’s Board and chairs the Outreach Committee of the Church. Feeling it is also important to participate in civil organizations she does so by serving as president of the local Coalition Against Family and Domestic Violence, treasurer of Jackson County Prevent Child Abuse Coalition and secretary of the Clinton/Jackson Coalition for the Homeless and participates in the Community Partners for Protecting Children, Jackson County Prevention Coalition and the Jackson County Planners.

She and husband Gary have been married for 20 years and have a blended family of 12 children.


“Women have shown outstanding leadership in so many areas. Mercy has sponsored and offered resources to help the community become healthier by providing community programs, offering time for associates to work on committees and events that will continue the healthy state initiative.” wrote nominator Andrea Barnett.

Mercy Medical Center-Clinton is a faith-based, full-service community health system serving residents in Clinton and surrounding communities in eastern Iowa and northwestern Illinois. With a history dating more than 120 years, Mercy - Clinton is proud to offer the latest in health and medical services with a caring, compassionate and personal touch. Mercy - Clinton provides a broad range of services to meet the health care needs of residents in the bi-state area. With two main campuses, Mercy operates 358 licensed beds, including 183 long-term care beds and a 23-bed dementia care unit. As the area’s largest employer, Mercy - Clinton’s staff of nearly 1,000 employees is dedicated to providing excellence in patient care.

As a major provider of health services, Mercy-Clinton is committed to working with other healthcare providers to assure a full continuum of excellent, cost-effective healthcare services accessible to all persons. Recognizing the importance of maintaining health, Mercy-Clinton creates opportunities to promote wellness and assist people to take responsibility for their own health and well-being. In addition, Mercy - Clinton supports community programs and activities that enhance the cultural and economic prosperity of its associates and the community at large.


Marquel Schultheis will receive this year’s Young Woman of Achievement award. She is the daughter of Tim and Carie Schultheis and a senior at Clinton High School. Her nominator Laura Johnson shared, “She is going to shape and inspire many lives in her future through her strong faith, motivation and intelligence.” Her high school career has included involvement in Student Council and 3.0 Club all 4 years, National Honor Society, SADD Club, RSVP, FBLA, and as a Student Ambassador for three years. She was a member of the tennis team for two years and a volleyball team member throughout high school, recently receiving the Iowa Girls Volleyball 2012 All-Academic Team award.

Marquel was a 2011 Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Conference Representative and a Better Business Bureau Scholarship nominee. Along with taking Honors and AP classes, she was instrumental in bringing the FCA Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, back to Clinton High.

In the community she has been an active member of First United Methodist Church participating in Hearts & Hands projects, King’s harvest, Vacation Bible School, community dinner, and a mission trip to an Arizona Indian reservation. Marquel spends summers working as a lifeguard and swim instructor at Riverview Pool. She will continue her education at Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, W.Va., to play volleyball and pursue a degree in secondary education.


Mardell Mommsen is this year’s recipient of the Unsung Hero/YWCA Honoree award. “Some people have a social life and some live a life of service. Mardell has combined both of those worlds in her everyday existence. She is not just an attendee, but a tireless dedicated worker. As co-chairwoman of the YWCA, she worked tirelessly to promote the mission “to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.” shared nominator Jennifer Graf. She is a recent YWCA Board of Directors member, 2007-2012, and Past President, 2011-2012. She is a long-time planning member of the Stop the Hate/Show the Love walk through her membership on the Clinton Peace Coalition, and a member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration committee. As a member of the Clinton Peace Coalition, she made it her mission and priority to see peace poles “planted” at each school in the city of Clinton. She has collaborated on several diversity and women’s empowerment events with the YWCA such as; the Roundtable on Racism discussion series, YWCA Week Without Violence activities, Women You Know, Women You’d Like to Meet presentations and documentary viewings with content discussion panels.

She has been employed with Clinton Community College since 1980, currently as Registrar, VA Certifying Official and Student Senate Advisor. Until 2010 she filled additional time with a part time job at various local employers. The daughter of Rosalyn and the late Glen Mommsen, she is originally of Miles and has four siblings. She has three pets that keep her company at home.