15 Minutes


Resides: Rural MarshalItown. My husband and I built a home on the original Eckles farmstead. My grandfather was born in the farmhouse on our property. It had been built by his grandfather circa 1870s. This means I’m a fifth generation Eckles living on this land, and our children are sixth generation descendants.

Hometown: Rural Marshalltown. I was born and raised in the home where my mom still resides. It is located two miles south our residence.


Family: It is wonderful to have mother active with the family. I have an older sister in New York that we don’t see, but four or her five children are in Iowa. We stay connected through them. My younger sister and family live in the Minneapolis area. My husband, Ron Ohrt, is a lieutenant at the Marshalltown Police Department. He will be celebrating his 29th year in law enforcement. Our children include Tara Ohrt-Juhl and her husband Zach. Trace Ohrt is our son. Tara is currently a researcher at the University of Iowa, but aspires to earn her doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Trace is a senior at Marshalltown High School and will be attending Iowa State.

Hobbies and interests: For many years it was attending our kids’ events. Now we’re at a fork in the road and do more as a couple.


Occupation: Director of the Albion Municipal Library and Heritage Center.

What that means: Maintaining an environment for all ages to enjoy reading, learning and discovering. Other responsibilities include strategic planning, programming, promoting, technology, collection development, funding, and records management. I’m working toward the library being more embedded in the area. We’re unique in that we have children attending four surrounding school districts. The challenge occurs with children’s programming; it’s impractical to coordinate with four school calendars, so how do we strike a fair balance?

Tenure: 17 months


Books: Since “police” stories and drama are normal fare at our house, I choose happy-ending fiction when reading. Stories that interweave family and relationships are favorites. Authors include Richard Paul Evans, Luann Rice and Lisa Wingate among others.

Sports: Music is our family’s sport. Football season is actually marching band season, and basketball games are pep games. Currently, we are preparing for jazz festival season, followed by small group and solo state contests. Tara played flutes through high school and college. Trace plays percussion. Ron plays saxophones. I played trumpet in high school and participated in high school and college show choir.


Best part of living here: Living, working and relating in the very location where my family heritage runs so deep. Nothing can match that. We are enveloped in a sense of community.

Most influential person: No one matches my husband. He can handle anything – from the highest levels of stress and drama, to the gentlest of care and devotion. He’s the ultimate leader and teacher, and constantly seeks greater understanding in areas of his interest.

Local involvement: The library’s events. We are active members of the First United Methodist Church in Marshalltown.

15 Minutes is a Saturday feature about central lowans. The question and answer format lends itself be completed or react in 15 minutes or less. To submit a name for consideration, or to participate, contact Times-Republican Staff and Features Reporter Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com