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Roelofs, Garritt E. (1900-1976) | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: Roelofs, Garritt E. (1900-1976)


Historical Note:

Garritt E. Roelofs, a native of Minnesota, went off to Calvin Preparatory School at the age of fourteen and then on to Calvin College. He graduated from Calvin in 1921 in the first liberal arts four-year class. Deciding not to become a minister, he went into teaching history and government. This developed a lifetime interest in political science.

Roelofs was founder and publisher of the Sioux Center News in Iowa. While there, he served as Senator in the Iowa Legislature, dealing with "Depression" social and economical issues, sponsoring legislation for relief of hard-pressed farmers and tenants, and unemployed labor. He became the first director of the Iowa State Unemployment Compensation Commission (now the State Employment Security Service).

Roelofs joined the US Department of Agriculture as Information Officer and served from 1943 as Advisor in the Office of Price Administration on Agricultural Rationing and Pricing Policies. During the occupation of Japan, he served as a civilian consultant on General MacArthur's staff in the Natural Resources section for four years. After the Peace Treaty in April 1952, he returned to Japan as a Public Affairs Officer in the American Embassy in Tokyo.

Subsequently, Roelofs had tours of duty with the Rockefeller Foundation in India and with Robert R. Nathan Associates in Burma. He re-entered the government service as an agricultural extension advisor with the Agency for International Development in Bogota, Colombia. After two years there, followed by brief stays in the United States and the Netherlands, he and his wife found themselves in Uganda, East Africa. Roelofs called it "a wonderful assignment for three and a half years, in a most beautiful part of the world." They retired in 1968, first settling in Washington, DC, and then in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1970, coming "home" to be near family and old friends.




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