Evelyne Jobe Villines


"Evelyne Villines is truly an outstanding human being. As a speaker, she has the ability to capture an audience and leave them feeling moved to a greater understanding of joy and problems shared by persons with disabilities." —Harlietta Helland, 1994

Evelyne Jobe Villines of Des Moines, born in Siam, Iowa in 1930, is a political activist and leading national spokesperson for person with disabilities. Villines had polio at the age three when she was living in southwest Iowa. From the time she was nine through 16 years of age, for the most part, she was a patient at crippled Children's Hospital in Iowa City, 250 miles away from home. As a teenager, Villines encountered her first job discrimination. Soon after, she began her life and career of empowering people who are disabled. Villines has served as Executive Secretary of the Iowa Governor's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped from 1965 to 1975; Director of Development at Iowa Lutheran Hospital in Des Moines from 1975 to 1979; and Director of the Client Assistance Program for the Easter Seal Society of Iowa, Inc. from 1979 to 1991. Since 1980, Villines has been a free-lance motivational speaker, giving her speech "In the Name of Love" to hundreds of organizations worldwide. In 1986, she was inducted into the National Hall of Fame for Persons with Disabilities. In May of 1994, President Bill Clinton appointed Villines as a member of the committee for Purchase from People Who are Blind or Severely Disabled. She was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1994.

UPDATE: Villines was, in 1999, reappointed by President Bill Clinton for another five years as a member of the Committee for Purchase from Persons Who are Blind or Severely Disabled. She was honored in 2000 as Woman of the Year by the Metro Women's Network of Greater Des Moines.