Tommy Capper Scholarship with emphasis on Skilled Trades

Tom Capper was born in DeWitt, IA and graduated high school in 1963. He loved growing up in DeWitt, especially seeing the pink and purple sunsets from the window of his childhood home. While it’s a small community, he saw what a difference was made by the cultural value DeWitt residents put on raising up the next generation through the gift of education. Tom’s unique stroke of genius was to make his scholarship fund available to every graduating class of Central DeWitt High School – not limited to just the most recent one.

Tom never had children of his own but wanted his legacy to make a difference in the lives of many, many children. Tom always said DeWitt was a nice place to grow up – a small farm town. Everybody knew everybody… you could leave your bike lying someplace and nobody would take it. They knew who it belonged to!

Tom and his family moved to a house on a hill just outside of town when he was about 14, with gorgeous views of farmland silhouetted by deeply-colored sunsets.  He was never happier than when talking about the lovely community in his hometown.

Tom’s grandfather had owned a successful creamery, which Tom’s father purchased after his grandfather’s passing. When his father came back after flying 25 missions as a navigator on a B7 bomber during WWII, the creamery was highly successful. They supplied butter for the military and sold butter to companies in New York, as did many Iowa creameries. Tom’s father, Leo, also owned a car wash across the street from the creamery and it was very successful, while his mother, Althea, worked hard alongside his dad.

When it came to college, Tom’s folks worked very hard to put him and his sister through school – he attended Westminster College and Bonnie went to William Woods in Fulton, MO.  What’s more, he saw scholarships going to those that, perhaps, didn’t need them… and it never sat right with him.  One that hit close to home was seeing that his college roommate had won a significant scholarship, even though his parents were both professors at the school – so his tuition was paid-for anyway!  Seeing help go to those who didn’t really need it inspired Tom to do something a little different with his legacy.

Tom’s goal was to provide financial help to those for whom it would make a profound difference in their ability to succeed in life.

While Tom was in the Army, he was sent to the DMZ in Korea as a Second Lieutenant and ran the transportation unit. These experiences provided further inspiration for his scholarship concept. He wanted his money to provide scholarships to those whose need was greatest. The people whose lives would be most significantly impacted by having access to continuing education are the ones he wanted to help first.

For those who have demonstrated their own desire, ambition, and will to succeed, the Tommy C. Capper Foundation will provide support that could be the launching pad to achieve their dreams

Apply directly on the Capper Foundation website


Paul and Sally Banowetz Family Scholarship

DeWitt resident Sally Banowetz passed away in late August, but her memory will live on through a memorial endowment fund in her honor.

Sally and her husband, Paul, had 15 children, 40 grandchildren and 50 great grandchildren. The Banowetz family decided to create a lasting legacy to honor their parents by establishing The Paul and Sally Banowetz Family Scholarship Fund with the LincolnWay Community Foundation. Memorial gifts to the endowment fund are invested and will provide an annual source of funding for a scholarship — forever.

Sally was an avid quilter and baker. She and her husband loved square dancing and attended many state and national square dance conventions. Sally enjoyed family motorcycle rides and playing cards. She was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church, St. Joseph Guild and St. Joseph Altar and Rosary Society.

When growing up, Sally and Paul only received an 8th grade education from the small, country schools they attended, but later in life went back to school as adults to get their high school diplomas. Education was very important to them and this passion will live on through the impact made by their scholarship memorial fund.

“Our mother was such a loving person and she devoted her entire life to caring for others, including her large family, assisting the elderly and providing hospice care to end-of-life patients. What better way to honor her and our father than to establish a scholarship fund in their name to help others in our community who are in need,” said Leon Banowetz. “Growing up we relied on scholarships to help fund our educations and now being able to pay it forward to future generations is a tremendous gift.”

Online Scholarship Application Form

Scholarship Amount: $1000

David A. and Sandra K. Deke Scholarship

LincolnWay Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, has established the David A. and Sandra K. Deke Scholarship endowment fund. Endowed funds support perpetual giving with annual payouts, and distributions from the Deke Scholarship Fund will support Central DeWitt High School seniors for generations to come.

“We hope our scholarships will go to students who volunteer, are determined and hardworking, are goal-oriented, and who need financial assistance in a vocation of their choice,” said the Dekes. “We also hope our scholarship recipients will give back in turn.”

Sandra and David, a former board member for the Lincolnway Community Foundation, own Deke Insurance. The company is a second-generation family business. “The DeWitt community has been good to us, and we are believers in paying forward and giving back to this community,” the couple explained.

They have two children and five grandchildren who graduated from Central DeWitt Schools. “DeWitt Community Schools gave our family a great education,” they said. “What better way to give back and succeed beyond high school than to give scholarships?”

The Dekes were connected with the LincolnWay Community Foundation through executive director Pat Henricksen, and have donated to various other initiatives through the Community Foundation. “Dave and Sandi have been active in our community for years, supporting many projects,” said Henricksen. “They both have been very involved with their grandchildren, showing them how to be great community members.”

Online Scholarship Application Form

Scholarship Amount: $1000

James D. Owen Jr. Scholarship

Jim Owen photo

Jim Owen grew up in Camanche, Iowa, in the 1940’s and 50’s. Graduating from Clinton High School in 1955, he then joined the United States Air Force for five years. He served in the Middle East and California during those years.

Jim married Wilma Behr of DeWitt in 1957. They had two boys, Jim in 1959 and Mike in 1964. Both of Jim’s sons and his wife graduated from Central DeWitt High School.

A position at Iowa Mutual Insurance Company in 1966 was the beginning of his tenure in DeWitt. Jim worked his way up the ladder finally attaining the Presidency and CEO position in 1996. Volunteering and enjoying sports has always been a part of Jim’s life. He volunteers for many organization but spent many years with LincolnWay Community Foundation while enjoying golf as much as possible.

Jim learned early that in life “you learn, you earn and then you return “to the community. Thus, Jim has set up many endowments that continue to give back to his community

Realizing the importance of future education, Jim and his family set up this scholarship. Jim gains much satisfaction in assisting students in building their future.

Online Scholarship Application Form


The Kilburg Family Scholarship

The Kilburg Family Scholarship

Three generations of the Kilburg Family have called DeWitt home. The Kilburg Family Scholarship honors the memory of family members who were lost too soon and the Family’s continued commitment to the DeWitt community.

Darwin and Judy moved to DeWitt in 1971 where they built a business (D&D Chevrolet) while raising three daughters. Kris (Lindsly), Kathy and Tammy were all graduates of Central DeWitt High School.

An automobile accident shortly after high school graduation took the life of Tammy, a 1988 alumna. The Scholarship was originally created in her honor. Her mother, Judy, unexpectedly passed away from a brain aneurysm in 1996 and the Scholarship also recognizes her.

All along the Kilburg Family were supporters of the local community, St. Joseph’s School and Church, and the Central Community Schools. A new generation of Kilburg’s began to call DeWitt home when Kris Kilburg Lindsly returned to raise her family. Each generation has valued the education they have received from DeWitt’s schools as well as the support and friendships found in the local community.

Judy and Tammy’s legacies, and the Family’s affection for the DeWitt community, live on through this scholarship. The Kilburg Family Scholarship assists any student of Central DeWitt High School to defray the expense of continuing their education past high school.

Online Scholarship Application Form


Lillian Fell Scholarship

Lillian Marie Hall was born on October 12, 1905, marrying Leslie “Kelly” Fell in February 1927. Lillian worked as a bookkeeper at Peters Motor Company in DeWitt. Volunteering was always part of Lillian’s life. She volunteered for bloodmobiles, Pierian Club, and served Noon Lion Luncheons for the many years. As a member of the First Congregational United Church of Christ, Lillian gave her time and her money to support the church.

Lillian Fell was philanthropic, telling a banker in DeWitt ” If you don’t have a foundation in DeWitt, then start one!” The bank did start a foundation with money from Lillian Fell. Thus, the DeWitt Area Community Foundation began in 1987 and has continued to fund many projects for the community.

The Lillian Fell Scholarship will be chosen from applications from all other scholarships.

Online Scholarship Application Form

Scholarship Amount: $700
Scholarships Given: 2