Alumni & Friends
News & Events
Alumni & Friends
In each newsletter we would like to recognize one or more alumni. For our first edition we are recognizing Amber Ohnmacht who is a founding member of the Essex Educational Foundation and served as the treasurer before enlisting in the United States Air Force.
Amber graduated from Essex, As class valedictorian, in 2015. while at Essex Amber was a four-sport athlete, student council member, and was a member of the National Honor Society. Amber demonstrated her leadership skills as she participated in many other activities during her High School years.
After graduating from Essex High School Amber attended Northwest Missouri State University where she continued to showcase the many skills she developed while attending Essex Community School. Amber graduated from NWMSU magna cum laude in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and agriculture business.
Following graduating from NWMSU Amber worked at the Earl May corporate office in Shenandoah before enlisting in the United States Air Force and was accepted into the Medical Service Corps of the United States Air Force. The Medical Service Corps is a highly competitive officer program with fewer than 900 officers in the entire USAF.
In October 2021, Amber went to officer training school in Montgomery, Alabama for 9 weeks. After graduating from officer training, she went to Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, South Carolina where she is currently stationed.
To complete her training for the Health Services Administration Amber traveled to San Antonio, Texas. On April 8th, 2022 Amber graduated from this program. At the graduation Amber received the AETC Commander’s Award and the Stephen L Meigs Top Graduate Award for Health Services Administration which is in recognition not only for superior academic achievement but for high standards of character, leadership, and teamwork. After graduation Amber headed back to Sumter to work as a healthcare administrator at an outpatient clinic, Shaw Air Force Base, 20th Medical Group.
Congratulations to Amber!
Curtis Iverson, Page County native, was an artist whose career took him around the world and gave him the opportunity to meet and work with fascinating people.
Curtis was born March 15, 1929 on a farm near Essex, Iowa. He attended Franklin Grove School and graduated from Essex High School. Following high school, Curtis earned a B.S. in education and Master of Arts at Central Missouri State University. He also received a Master of Fine Arts at Kansas City Art Institute & School of Design, with field courses at Kansas City Nelson Art Gallery.
Curtis was initially employed by Hallmark Cards in Kansas City. During his 2 years at Hallmark, he met a number of prominent artists, including Norman Rockwell who was also a magical story teller.
Iverson was then drafted and served in the Signal School Television Branch during World War II. They created and transmitted training used in Army classrooms.
Following honorable discharge from the military, Iverson moved to New York City where he was employed by Good Housekeeping magazine as a graphic and layout designer. A year later, he went to work for a design studio with clients that included television Channel 5. Curtis was then a designer for Video Craft doing graphics for television and training films for clients that included IBM, Canada Dry, General Motors, The Bible Institute, & Avon.
After a project for Avon Corporation, they recruited Curtis and he was employed by Avon for 30+ years. Curtis worked as package designer and pioneered integrating icons of the popular culture into marketing, packaging and products. Along with designing for women’s and men’s products, he collaborated with Walt Disney and Charles Schultz, who he considered a friend, to develop product lines with designs from Disney and Peanuts characters.
One of Iverson’s projects was to design sales incentive awards for Avon. These were ceramic “Mrs. Albee” figurines which represented the very first Avon Lady. Curtis made multiple trips to where these Avon President’s Club awards were made to assure the intricate details were to specifications.
In 2001, Iverson left his New York City apartment and Connecticut house and retired to Pompano Beach, FL. There he met Dr. David Haun, who authored Jack and The Really Big Beanstalk, a retelling of the Jack and the Beanstalk story in verse. Curtis illustrated the book that was published in 2019.
Curtis, by his account, was changed by his involvement in Christ Church in Florida. He became an active member and was part of a Wesley study and discussion group. He remained a prolific artist creating drawings and paintings, some featuring Southwest Iowa themes and others with Florida and other subjects. He passed away December 4, 2020.
Phyllis Sunberg of Red Oak recently presented to the Essex Lied Library a copy of the book Jack and the Big Bean Stalk and an original painting of the Ogre, one of the characters in the book. Phyllis and Curtis were cousins and were classmates in the Essex High School class of 1947.
Some of his paintings and drawings are on display at the Essex Library through Labor Day weekend.