Quentin V. Anderson was born May 7, 1932, to George and Lena (Richardson) Anderson. Quentin grew up on the family farm east of Ellston with his younger brother Carnie. Led by their father’s example, they learned to work hard and invest in their community by working their farm, running the Anderson Saw Mill and the Ellston Grain Elevator. At the age of 16 he purchased his first dozer. Quentin graduated from Ellston Community School in 1949, attended American Institute of Business, and served in the U.S. Army. He was united in marriage to Rita (Hewlett) of Grand River on October 20, 1957. They owned and operated the farm and several businesses including dirt construction, building construction, a farm equipment dealership, and a bowling alley.
Quentin was elected to the Iowa Legislature in 1963 as a Democrat in a predominately Republican County. He was one of its youngest members at age 29. He served in the legislature from 1963 to 1967. He then ran for the Iowa Senate on the Republican ticket and served 4 years, 1969-1973, before being elected back to the Iowa legislature for 2 more years, 1973-75. At a time when the urban areas took over control of the state government, he was a strong voice to protect rural areas. His work on legislation to change the inheritance tax, personal property tax, and tax on livestock had a major impact in southwest Iowa and across the state. As a freshman legislator he authored the Iowa branding laws. Quentin believed in less government control and more individual opportunity.
During his time in the Iowa state house, Rita and Quentin had two children, Clinton and Cherri. It was also during this time that they started on a project Quentin and his father had envisioned before George’s passing – building Sun Valley Lake. The spring-fed valley east of Ellston had a sandy bottom with a grassland watershed that would be a good setting for a clean body of water. Land was purchased from ten neighbors making a total of 1,300 acres including the Anderson Family Farm. The first clearing and dirt work on the lake began in 1969 and the dam was closed in 1972. The 500 acre lake filled quicker than expected and it was full within a year. Quentin worked tirelessly researching, designing, and building the lake; the first to implement silt ponds to keep the lake water clean, a practice that is commonly used today; designing and building the roads, the dam, golf course, marina, clubhouse, restaurant, and several houses on the lake; putting in utilities including a central water system that served area farms and the town of Kellerton. He did all of this with local labor, financed through the Tingley Bank. In the early development stages, Quentin turned down offers to purchase the project to keep it local and benefit the community.
Forty-five years later, there are over 600 homes around the lake that provide Ringgold County with property tax and sales tax dollars as well as creating jobs in the area. Quentin’s vision has made a tremendous impact on the local and county economy by improving the quality of life, increasing beauty, and providing recreation. Quentin loved his family, community and country.
Quentin passed away on December 27, 2019. Preceding him in death are his parents George and Lena, wife Rita, and brother Carnie.
Left to carry on his legacy are his children and grandchildren: Clint (Paula) Anderson and Grant; Cherri (Jeff) Vos, Quency and Chania; sister-in-law Joyce Anderson; nieces, nephews and friends will cherish his memory.
Memorials may be given in Quentin’s name to the Ellston American Legion or the Ellston United Methodist Church.
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