15 Minutes


Resides: Marshalltown

Hometown: Marshalltown


Family: My parents are Gertrud Tammen and the late Frank Tammen. I have two beautiful younger sisters and an ex-husband whom I still consider to be a friend. My son, Sam, 19, is at home with me.

Pets: Jaspar, the cat.

Hobbies and interests: Gardening, history, movies, music and walking outdoors. I love walking!


Occupation: Program director with REM Iowa Community Services, 30 W. Main St., Suite 30, Marshalltown.

What that means: I oversee REM’s Marshalltown operations, providing staff 24/7 in the homes of intellectually and/or physically disabled adults. It is a great job with a great company.

Tenure: I joined REM September 2012. Previously, I was a nursing home administrator for 26 years.

If I could change jobs I would be a/do: I love to read and write, so in my dreams it would be fun to write the great American novel!


Books: “Alas, Babylon,” a cold war novel by Pat Franks. Also, I enjoy epic historical fiction, such as “Pillars of the Earth,” by Ken Follet and “Gone with the Wind,” by Margaret Mitchell. Additionally, I love Jane Austen’s work and several of the classics.

Movies: “To Kill a Mockingbird,” directed by George Cukor, Victor Fleming and Samuel Wood. And, I like 1940s- and 1950s-era films.

Foods: Seafood – I attempt to eat healthy foods most of the time.

Sports: I don’t have much interest in sports … but I attended Iowa State University … so it is the Cyclones.


Best part of living here: I moved back to Marshalltown in November after 26 years of being away, and I’m so happy to return, especially so I can help out my mom. There are more things to do now. I was involved in the Main Street program where I lived previously, and I think it’s a wonderful way to develop a downtown “neighborhood.” I loved seeing the improvements in that community’s central business district over the years. In Marshalltown we have wonderful amenities too, such as the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA, the aquatic center, the Orpheum Theater, farmers markets and public library.

Most influential people: My parents, and mom, especially … and she knows why.

Local involvement: REM is a member of the Central Business District-A Main Street Community organization. I recently joined the design committee and serve as a block captain. I’ve volunteered with Cleaniac – a local civic pride campaign – and was appointed to the County Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities Advisory Board.

Advice on life: Never let fear get in your way. One would be amazed at the obstacles which can be overcome if one decides to tackle them head-on, and fearlessly even if you have to fake your courage at times! It can transform your life … it did mine. And be nice, please.