Mrs. Mary E. Kotrba was born July 8, 1874, near Waucome, Iowa. When she was five years old, May 1880, she and her parents were passengers, as immigrants, on the second train that arrived in the frontier town of Mitchell, South Dakota.
The first school she attended was taught by her mother. She was educated in the common schools and later attended Dakota Wesleyan university. She then taught school five years.
December 24, 1897, she married Joseph Kotrba. The Kotrbas moved to their farm home six miles west of Mitchell in 1901. Beulah Heights farm as it became known, was a home of beauty, convenience and modernness.
The Kotrbas had two children, a daughter and a son.
For years, Mrs. Kotrba had raised chickens and turkeys. In 1918 a farm paper reported that she was selling eggs put up in her own cartons in Mitchell. More recently, she conducted a farm women’s market.
Mrs. Kotrba branched out into another field in 1919, owning what was then the highest priced Hampshire sow in the world, which she purchased for $4,000. Later she exhibited the first Hampshire male to win the grand championship at the South Dakota State Fair. She sold considerable breeding stock. In 1922, she served as judge at the National Swine show in Peoria, Illinois.
For several years, she served on the board of directors of the South Dakota Livestock association and was president of the South Dakota Poultry association.
Mrs. Kotrba’s participations in women’s, political, social and community affairs were numerous. When the Farm Women’s Congress was organized in 1920, she became its first vice-president and served intermittently as president until 1932. She was also active in the South Dakota Federation of Home Extension clubs.
She became the first chairman of the Davison County Extension board and in 1939 was chairman of the Agricultural board.
For two winters she was employed by the State College Extension Service to lecture on poultry.
In 1927, she elected State Representative from Davison County to the legislature and served one term. She is still interested in politics.
Mrs. Kotrba is a member of the Congregational Church and its Aid.