Who We Are
Founding board members in May 2016
Back: Randy Larson, Jason Madtson, Ryan Reker (former member)
Front: Terry Skyberg, Elicia Kortus, Kristie Weinkauf
Not Pictured: Jon Hoyme, Jason Klumper
President, Founder, Community Organizer, Strategic Visonary
Elicia grew up on the family farm west of Jasper where her grandparents lived, and her father was born. The eldest of 5, she attended school in Jasper where her mom worked as a teacher, until 1993 when the high school closed, and she later graduated from Pipestone High School and earned a degree in Sociology from South Dakota State University. Elicia has a long history of volunteer service for museums, libraries, hospice and nursing homes, and her love of history and antiques led her to take up a hobby in furniture refinishing and upholstery. Her passion for antiques and historical architecture also meant that the then-closed Pipestone and Jasper High School buildings were both often featured many nights in her dreams, imagining what they could become with a little creativity and investment.
After becoming a Licensed Massage Therapist and starting her own business in Sioux Falls, she married Robert Kortus, who has two children. Not long after finding out she and Rob would be welcoming their little girl, Dessa, the Jasper School went up for auction in November 2015, and some of her discussions with alumni led to a fundraiser to try to save the abandoned building. The community of 630, alumni and friends responded by raising $40,000 in just 6 weeks, and that springboard has led to raising over $120,000 in private donations and $148,000 in grant funds. Now the organization is partway through the planning stage for renovation of the school, as well as a second building, Bauman Hall, they saved from demolition in 2018.
Elicia is a strategic thinker with a strong vision and a desire to create community resilience via incremental development, preservation, and environmental strategies, to capture and recycle materials, buildings, and keep dollars circulating in the local economy. She is committed to learning and educating others on the value of preservation as a revitalization tool, strives to be a collaborator in everything she does, and uses creativity and determination to find solutions to complex problems in ways where everyone can “win” together in a more equitable future.
Her belief in the power of community and volunteerism is a testament to the long history of service that the entire Jasper community embodies.
Founding Board Member, Educator, Nonprofit Director and Developer
Jasper was full of Hoyme’s for many years, and Jon’s ties run deep, dating from when his grandfather and three brothers settled there in the 1800’s. As a matter of fact, at least five of his family members’ names have been found scrawled on the wall in the wings of the stage in Bauman Hall. Jon attended Jasper High School, where his dad taught chemistry, was the principal, and coached.
In his Junior year, their family moved to Wisconsin, where he met his wife Ruth. Jon taught school, and Ruth was a nurse for 14 years until they moved to Slayton MN where Jon served as Camp Director of Shetek Lutheran Bible Camp and Ruth continued her nursing career. Both of them have ample experience working with people, serving for non-profits, and development of organizations and communities.
In retirement, Jon has kept busy doing volunteer work, and joined our board as a founding member in 2015. His experience in nonprofit development has been a major asset, and his wife Ruth has also been a valuable part of our volunteer team, as well as serving for the Murray County Historical Society Board.
Jon’s experience and ties to Jasper have given the Hoyme’s a strong commitment to, and growing understanding of the importance of preservation, and their trips to Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands, visiting buildings that have been there for hundreds or thousand of years really opened their eyes to the charm and potential for revitalization. Jon says “it has been a fantastic experience getting to know and work with a fantastic group of folks working to develop a new vision for Jasper and the surrounding areas.” He and Ruth have 4 children and 8 grandchildren and still live in Slayton MN. In his free time he enjoys wood working (and borrowing ideas for it from fellow board member Terry Skyberg), and also working with a group from church making faith chests for Baptisms.