Iantha LeVander Biography & Resources

Iantha G. Powrie was born in 1913 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the oldest child of William Robert and Kathleen E. (Graham) Powrie. The Powries moved to St. Paul when Iantha was a year old. She graduated from University High School in Minneapolis in 1931 and received a B.S. degree in speech education from the University of Minnesota in 1935. Iantha taught high school English and speech from 1935 to 1938 in Glenwood City, Wisconsin and Stillwater, Minnesota. She married Harold LeVander, who was her brother's speech coach at Macalester College, in 1938 in St. Paul. The LeVanders had three children, Harold, Jean and Dyan.

Harold was elected governor of Minnesota in 1966. As first lady, Iantha lobbied the legislature for refurbishment of the Governor's Residence and produced an informational brochure on the home. She and her staff also sent letters of inquiry to governors' wives across the United States and Puerto Rico and compiled the responses into a small book published in 1970 titled Where Your Governor Lives. In 1967 Iantha initiated a Minnesota Garden Memorial project to express public gratitude to those Minnesotans who fought and died in the Vietnam War. She formed a statewide advisory committee, raised money, developed a prospectus for overseeing the artist's design, and oversaw the program for the unveiling. Minnesota sculptor Paul Granlund was selected to create Man Nam, which was placed on the lawn on the west side of the Governor's Residence.

After her husband left office Iantha remained very active in the Republican party, particularly promoting the visiblity of women in the party. She served as the Republican National Committeewoman for Minnesota from 1972-1978 and was the Program Chairman for the Republican National Convention in Kansas City in 1976.

Harold LeVander died in 1992. Iantha died in 2009 at age 96.

Iantha LeVander papers, 1947-1990

Governor's Residence Council records, 1874-1999 (bulk 1979-1989)