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Nola & LaVern McEntireMcEntire

McEntire Dietetics Scholarship

“I’ll never forget the day I came home from school and drove past the snowman doing a head stand!” said Nola McEnyre. “LaVern and the boys decided to make their snowman unique, so they stuck the legs out the top so it looked like it was upside down. It was quite a funny surprise when I came home from teaching.”

This sense of humor and enjoyment of life is evident in both the McEntires during a recent visit. “It all comes down to a positive attitude,” says LaVern. “It’s the only way to survive.” They have much more than survive; they have enjoyed the benefits of a positive lifestyle, and now have decided to share their zest for life and for education with dietetics students at Western Illinois University.

LaVern and Nola McEntire met on a blind date December 18, 1946 in Grote Hall on the campus of Western Illinois University. Nola had come to Western from Cameron, Illinois, to study home economics; LaVern had grown up in Industry, Illinois. Today, more than 60 years later, the Nola and LaVern Scholarship Endowment has been established with funds from their IRA. The McEntire’s took advantage of legislation that allowed them to direct required disbursements from their IRA directly to charities of their choice. As a result of this legislation, they did not have to claim the disbursements as income for the 2007 tax year.

Nola earned her bachelor of science degree in home economics in the spring of 1950; she and LaVern were married on June 30 of the same year (LaVern insisted she finish her degree before the wedding). LaVern was called to service for the Korean War in 1952 and served in France until 1954. During this time, Nola taught at Bardolph (Illinois) high school and completed courses toward her graduate degree. LaVern returned and their first son was born in 1957, followed by a second in 1959.

“I stopped teaching to stay home with my children,” says Nola. “When Western called and asked me to teach in 1966, I didn’t think I could manage it with the boys. But I did, and I loved it.” She taught nutrition until 1981, and then spent two years as Director of Food Service for the residence hall system, retiring in 1981.

“WIU played a major part in my life, and I have loved it,” says Nola. “I remember how badly I wanted to go to school, so LaVern and I would like to provide assistance for young people in need of financial support.”

LaVern’s career was spent with McDonough Power Cooperative from 1949 to 1991. He has committed funding to construct a new Veteran’s memorial in City Park of his hometown, Industry, Illinois. LaVern recalls that he rode his horse or bicycle his first two years of high school; the barn where he stabled his horse is now the site of the Industry Fire House. From the barn he walked to the high school, passing a park where a board had been assembled with the names of all the local boys who had served their country. Himself a veteran, LaVern decided he would like to honor hometown soldiers in the main part of town for all to see. The memorial is due to be dedicated this November on Veteran’s Day. “We have been very lucky in many ways,” adds LaVern. “We are pleased to be able to share what we have to help others today.”

“Lavern and Nola have stepped forward and made a wonderful commitment to both Western Illinois University and to the village of Industry,” stated Brad Bainter of the WIU Foundation. “Students pursuing careers in the important area of dietetics at Western will have scholarship support in perpetuity and the veterans from Industry who have served the United States will forever be remembered with the new Veteran’s Memorial located in Industry.”