New scholarship honors the legacy of Don Schnurr

Some people achieve success in their careers and enjoy the fruit of their labor; and then there are others that achieve success and give of the time, talent and treasure to help others and make a difference in their community. Don Schnurr was one of those people. Unfortunately, Don unexpectedly passed away on Feb. 8 of this year while vacationing in Florida. Our community suffered a great loss with Don’s passing. Don was also an active leader and well known friend of the Twin Lakes community where he and his wife, Darlene, have lived from many years.

In honor and in memory of Don Schnurr, the Fort Dodge Community Foundation has established a new perpetual scholarship program for students going into the field of business, preferably with an interest in accounting.

Don Schnurr served as a long-time member of the board of directors of the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way. Don’s leadership, support and service to the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way was amazing and very instrumental in the growth and long-term sustainability of the Community Foundation.

Don Schnurr served as a CPA in Fort Dodge for 47 years. Don grew up in Fort Dodge, graduated from St. Edmond High School in 1965. He then attended Iowa Central Community College for two years. Don and his wife, Darlene, moved to Iowa City so that Don could pursue his accounting degree from the University of Iowa. In 1973, he was admitted as a partner to the firm then known as Gene C. Gutknecht & Company. In 1979 he became a senior partner and the firm name changed to Schnurr & Company. The firm, under Don’s leadership, became a highly successful and respected public accounting firm in Fort Dodge and North Central Iowa.

As a CPA, Don took great pride in his work and took great interest in helping his clients, serving them with the utmost care and professionalism. He was always concerned about his client’s financial interests and well-being.

Don was also selfless in the giving of his time and talent to his community and his profession. Don was a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Iowa Society of Certified Public Accountants (Life Member). He was a member of various civic organizations including the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance Ambassadors, treasurer of the Fort Dodge Betterment Foundation and Webster County Improvement Corporation, Fort Dodge Noon Rotary, president of the Twin Lake Restoration Association Foundation, Blank Children’s Hospital board member, board member and treasurer of the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way and past president of the Greater Fort Dodge Area Chamber of Commerce.

In honor of Don’s leadership and services to the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way, the board of directors enthusiastically established the Don Schnurr Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded annually to two students pursuing a degree in a business related field with a preference toward accounting at an accredited community college or four-year college or university. Additional criteria includes demonstrating strong leadership, character, and work ethic.

Two inaugural Don Schnurr Memorial Scholarships have been awarded to two outstanding students who have demonstrated excellence in the classroom and an outstanding work ethic. The two students receiving scholarships are:

Grant Heldorfer: Grant graduated with honors from St. Edmond High School and will be attending the University of Iowa, majoring in accounting. Grant was also the 2021 recipient of the Terry Griffey Award given to the most outstanding senior male student-athlete at St. Edmond. Grant is the son of Mary Heldorfer and the late Jeff Heldorfer.

Kate Irving: Kate graduated as one of the top students from Fort Dodge Senior High. She will be attending Iowa Central Community College. After graduation from ICCC, Kate plans to attend a four-year college majoring in accounting. Kate has achieved academic honors while working 17 hours a week through her high school years. Kate is the daughter of Lisa and Jason Irving.

The Fort Dodge Community Foundation is very pleased to be able to award the inaugural Don Schnurr Memorial Scholarship to two outstanding students who have demonstrated extraordinary academic achievement, high character and a strong interest in the field of accounting. Their academic focus and drive represents the kind of professionalism and success that Don Schnurr achieved as a highly respected CPA in Fort Dodge for over four decades.

Randy Kuhlman is the chief executive officer of the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way.


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