Vivan Malcolm Jennings, 85, died November 4, 2021 at Pleasantview Home in Kalona, IA.
A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 13, 2021 at Snyder & Hollenbaugh Funeral and Cremation Services of Winfield, 102 S. Olive St., Winfield, Iowa. The family will receive friends from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Saturday morning at the funeral home. Interment with military honors will be held at Spring Run Cemetery. Following the committal service, light refreshments will be served at the VFW in Winfield. A memorial has been established for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Sympathy notes may be left for the family at www.sandhfuneralservice.com
Born on May 2, 1936 and raised on a farm in Columbus Junction, IA. The son of Boyd Benjamin Jennings and Olive Lillian Humphrey, he was grounded in his respect for the farm and homestead his ancestors created when they arrived in Iowa in 1856.
Vivan will be remembered as a man who was devoted to his wife of 65 years, Eileen, and his children; Kathy, Karen, and Stephen. He highly valued people, friendship, and good conversation. His family, friends and colleagues relied heavily on his kindness, patience, wisdom, and inspiration, which made him the best son, husband, father, and grandfather that you could hope for.
Vivan attended "Swamp College", a one-room schoolhouse; “Pitch-In” in Elm Grove Township; and graduated from Wyman High School. He served in the United States Army in Germany in 1954-1956 before attending Iowa State University to earn his BS, Masters, and PhD in Agronomy in 1974.
Vivan pursued his life-long love of farming and agriculture. His career included working locally, statewide, nationally, and internationally. For 20 years he worked at Iowa State University in Ames, IA in the Cooperative Extension Services as an Agronomist and as the Associate Dean. He worked in crop management, soil conservation, community resource development, and home economics. He provided leadership for state and national programs in Agriculture & Natural Resources, including extension services to 4-H and youth education and regarding agriculture’s role in Society. During the 1980’s farm crisis, Vivan lead the development of the Rural Concern Hotline to help farmers with stress and legal and financial concerns. Today the Iowa Concern Hotline remains serving both rural and urban agriculture communities.
Later in Vivan’s career, at the USDA in Washington DC, he worked nationally and internationally in agriculture, the environment, pesticide management, urban gardening, and public policy. As Deputy Administrator he developed national initiatives in Water Quality, Sustainable Agriculture, and International Marketing. His lasting role, internationally, involved advisory services and leadership of programs in Armenia, Romania, Egypt, Albania, Georgia, Poland, C'Ote D'Ivoir, and other OECD member countries. He contributed to improving agriculture in over 40 countries.
After retiring from the government, Vivan continued to remain involved in many personal and public pursuits. He traveled, enjoyed music and blue-grass festivals, gardened, practiced his spirituality and faith, and enjoyed his grandchildren. His giant project involved restoring the 1904 farmhouse he was raised in, so he and his wife could retire there comfortably. Professionally, Vivan formed Elm Grove International to work with agricultural special interests such as the Society for Range Management, Iowa Quality Agriculture Guild (IQAg), and the REAP Institute. He helped develop and market Asoyia Soybean Oil and served as Vice President of Grasshorse Technologies.
Vivan is survived by his wife of 65 years, Eileen Stockman Jennings; by his daughter Kathy Jo Jennings Buxton, son-in-law, Martin Jay Buxton, and granddaughter Rayna Pearl Buxton; by his daughter Karen Jean Jennings McGuiness and granddaughter Olivia Jennings McGuiness; and by his son Stephen Malcolm Jennings.
He was preceded in death by his parents; son-in-law Mark Jeffrey McGuiness; and brother, Royal Jennings.