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Ida Slocum

Ida Slocum
Ida Slocum

Eminent Homemaker

County: Brookings

To celebrate her eightieth birthday this year, Ida Slocum went zip lining in Hawaii. The long time Brookings County resident attributes her health and energy to keeping busy.

Slocum stays busy sharing her enthusiasm for life by donating her time and talents.

Whether it's pulling weeds or designing and stitching a quilt for South Dakota State University's McCrory Gardens Education and Visitor Center, organizing quilt shows, paying 4-H members' way to state camp or judging 4-H Achievement Day exhibits, when Slocum commits to something, she's all in.

"I like to help people if I can. So much has been done for me and my family that I feel it's my turn to give back," modestly explains the 2015 Eminent Homemaker.

Slocum didn't wait until retirement to volunteer. She became actively involved in Extension Homemakers and taught 4-H sewing as a young mother and busy career woman; throughout her 40-year career, Slocum worked for the County Treasurer's Office, worked as secretary for Brookings High School, and spent more than 20 years working in the Brookings County Abstract Office. She was elected to serve as the Brookings County Register of Deeds in 1994. She retired at 72 after serving three terms as Register of Deeds.

 "I have always been fascinated by numbers and legal descriptions, and enjoyed my work but also the people I got to work with," Slocum says.
She attributes her passion for sewing and flower gardening to her mother, Catherine Matheis. "My mother gardened and taught me how to sew when I was in 4-H. It was the 1940s. I learned on her treadle sewing machine, making things out of feed sacks."  

Although both talents were put to practical use as a mother and farm wife, Slocum says at the end of a work day they became much more. "Sewing and gardening refresh and relax me," she explains. "I love the creativity of it sure I use patterns, but I can change them and use whatever fabrics I like and I enjoy watching things grow."

She made her first quilt when she was expecting her son, Mike, and has since lost count of how many she has created. A founding member of the Brookings Area Quilt Guild since 1995, Slocum helps organize the Blooming Quilt Party and Brookings Area Quilt Guild Show, and donates quilts to several causes including Quilts of Valor, which are given to Brookings County soldiers who have served in combat and to the children of fallen soldiers.

In 2009 Slocum became a Master Gardener a culmination of a lifetime of gardening. Her farm flower garden boasts blooms all season long on the Aurora farm where she and late husband, Chuck, built their life and family together. The couple has two children, Mike and Sherri.

"I'm always dividing and sharing things. People have shared plants with me over the years. I still have plants that were given to me 45 years ago in fact, I have peonies that my parents gave me when we were married. They came from my grandmother's farm in Iowa."

Throughout the Brookings community she is known for sharing her blooms as table centerpieces and raffle prizes, as well as donating perennials to the annual Brookings Area Master Gardeners Plant Sale. Along with maintaining her own garden, she spends hours each growing season working in McCrory Gardens specifically the Cottage House where she replants flowers, refurbishes the cottage and helps maintain its fence. Every Halloween, Slocum can be found dressed in costume leading families through the Trick or Tree trail during the McCrory Gardens Children's Halloween Party.  

As a fundraiser for McCrory Gardens Education and Visitors Center, Slocum designed a quilt using collected McCrory Gardens t-shirts and flower print fabrics which feature blossoms grown in the garden.