By force of will and a laudable ambition, Harry E. Ilsley has forged to the front in a responsible and exacting calling and earned an honorable reputation in one of the most important branches of public service.  He is a well educated, symmetrically developed man and his work as an education has brought him prominently to the front, for he is now superintendent of the schools of Spirit Lake.  He was born in Hopkins, Missouri, on the 14th of December, 1877, and is a son of Rev. William Henry and Helen H. (Smith) Ilsley, the father a native of St. Louis, Missouri, and the mother of Eddyville, Kentucky.  They were married in St. Louis, to which city the mother's family had removed when she was a girl.  Directly after their marriage they located in Hopkins, Missouri, where the father had been assigned to a pastorate.  He had prepared himself for the ministry of the Presbyterian church at Blackburn, University, at Carlinville, Illinois, and was ordained in 1875.  He devoted forty-five years of his life to this noble work, occupying important charges of the middle west, but is now living retired at Ottumwa, Iowa.

Harry E. Ilsley attended the public schools and then entered Coe College, at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he was graduated in 1899, with the degree of Bachelor of Science.  His Master degree was won at Iowa State University in 1904.  He first engaged in educational work in 1900, when he became assistant principal of the high school at Dysart, Iowa.  A year later he went to the Guthrie county high school at Panora, Iowa, as science teacher, holding that position three years, following which he served as superintendent of that school for twelve years.  In 1916 he came to Spirit Lake as superintendent of schools, in which position he is still the incumbent.  He has achieved an enviable record here, for through his efforts the schools have been advanced to a position second to none in the state, and he is numbered with Iowa's foremost educators.  He keeps abreast the times in advanced educational methods, possesses a broad and comprehensive general knowledge and, because of his earnest life, high attainments, well rounded character and influence, he commands the sincere respect of the people of his community.

In 1904 Mr. Ilsley was united in marriage to Miss Harriet Whetzel, of Appleton City, Missouri, and to them have been born two children, Mary Helen, who is a student in Grinnell College, and Alice M., who is in high school.  Mr. Ilsley is a member of Twilight Lodge, No. 329, A. F. & A. M.; Spirit Lake Chapter, No. 132, R. A. M., of which he is a past high priest, and he and his wife are members of Twilight Chapter, No. 59, Order of the Eastern Star, of which he is a past worthy patron.  Religiously they are of the Presbyterian faith and he is an elder and member of the session in his church.  He takes a deep interest in everything relating to the welfare of the people, is a member of the board of library trustees and is chairman of the book committee.


Northwestern Iowa Table of Contents

Vol III Biographical Index