Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame Inductees - Iowa 4-H Foundation

Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame Inductees

2020 Warren County: Susan Matlage-Simms

Posted on 08/23/2020 at 12:00 PM

Susan Matlage-Simms grew up on a farm just outside of St. Marys, Iowa.  Her father died when she was very young so the small cow herd and show calves were the total care and responsibility of herself and her siblings. She showed cattle at the Warren County Fair, Iowa State Fair, Ak-Sar-Ben in Omaha and numerous weekend shows around the state. Her showing climax was exhibiting the Grand Champion Market Steer at the Warren County Fair in 1979 which was a home-grown calf. She also won cattle showmanship awards three years in a row at the Warren County Fair. Susan Matlage-Simms

When her own two children, Nathan and Megan, joined 4-H she became a leader for her childhood club, the Jackson Hilltoppers. Megan showed horses and Nathan showed market lambs.  Even after her own kids graduated from 4-H she continued being the club leader which she continues to this day 15 years later.   

She also serves on the local 4-H Youth Committee and the 4-H Foundation. Outside of 4-H, Susan has headed up the Martensdale-St. Marys School’s activity concession stands for over 15 years.

With her continued involvement in youth activities, Susan has maintained a unique relationship with the young people in western Warren County and they have benefited greatly from her guidance and tutelage. Susan lives just north of Martensdale on an acreage and works for Mercer in Des Moines as a senior consultant, guiding companies and schools across Iowa on health insurance plans for their employees. In her spare time, which she has very little of, she enjoys watching her son Nate race Figure 8 cars, going to family events, going to the movies and baking the best fruit pies around.

Posted in Warren, 2020 | Permalink

2020 Wapello County: Joyce Barre

Posted on 08/23/2020 at 12:00 PM

Joyce Barre has been an active member of the 4-H community since she was a child. Wonderful experiences with sewing, better grooming, and fashion revue helped to shape her early career path in the fashion retail industry. Her textiles and merchandising degree from Iowa State took her to Illinois where she met her husband, Rick. With the arrival of their first child, the support of family brought the pair back to southeast Iowa. Joyce Barre

When her children were old enough, Joyce eagerly signed her two girls, Kala and Kari up for the 4-H Clover Kids program. With the challenging work schedule of a dairy farmer, Joyce eventually made the decision to branch off and form her own club, the Lucky Clovers. Under Joyce’s continued direction, the Lucky Clovers club has continued well beyond the participation of her daughters. The program has shown consistent dedication to several Wapello County community programs including the Ottumwa Public Library and the Heartland Humane Society for more than 15 years.

Joyce has a unique style of leadership within her 4-H club. She focuses her efforts on guiding the members of the club and teaching foundational skills. Her own daughters, now immersed in the worlds of education and healthcare, recognize the value of Joyce teaching and upholding the proper meeting procedures.  Beyond teaching a variety of life skills, she is careful to place decision making opportunities in the hands of the members.  She recognizes that the most important thing about participation in 4-H is that the youth have the opportunity to follow their interests and to develop skills in leadership, communication, and citizenship.

Joyce’s dedication to 4-H doesn’t end with her club. Over the years, Joyce has been an active volunteer with the Wapello County Expo. Joyce has also shared her wide variety of expertise in baking, fashion, gardening, bucket/bottle calves, and more as she has volunteered as a judge in surrounding counties.

Above all, Joyce values the community that comes along with 4-H involvement. Years of friendships and mentorships keep her involved and will continue for many years to come.

Posted in Wapello, 2020 | Permalink

2020 Van Buren County: Sandra & Rick Coffman

Posted on 08/23/2020 at 12:00 PM

Rick and Sandra Coffman have been involved in 4-H since they were both nine years of age. They married in 1970, at this time Sandra became a leader in Davis County. She served as a leader for three years. They moved to Warren County and Rick became a leader in Marion County. Sandra and Rick Coffman

They moved to Van Buren County and Rick was then asked to be a leader of the Livewires 4-H Club. At this time, boys’ and girls’ clubs were separate. When the two groups became one, Sandra rejoined as a leader. The two served together while raising their four kids through the program. Rick later retired as a leader. Sandra continued to serve as a leader until their daughter Amanda graduated. As time went on their son Wayne and his wife Heather took on the club leader role.

Life became busier for Wayne and Heather, so they decided to step down and Sandra once again joined the leader role, she did not want to see the club disband. Sandra and her daughter Amanda are now the leaders of Blazing Trails 4-H club. Today Sandra is still a leader and has served on the Extension Council since 2013. 4-H is a big part of the Coffman’s life, raising 4 children and 14 grandchildren through the program. Currently they have two in the program. They have had as many as 6 grandkids showing at one time. Sandra and Rick believe in the 4-H program because of the responsibilities it teaches, as well as becoming great and respected young adults. They have experienced this themselves, with their kids and grandkids.

They contribute this to being in 4-H, and life on the farm. They both agree that watching young kids grow through 4-H is one of the greatest parts of their lives. Sandra and Rick are also celebrating their 50-year wedding anniversary.

Posted in Van Buren, 2020 | Permalink

2020 Union County: Walt Glynn

Posted on 08/23/2020 at 12:00 PM

In 1963, as the feed salesman for the newly founded Creston Feed & Grain, Walt Glynn put his experience showing and raising cattle to work in Union County. During one of his sales calls, he came across a young 4-Her fighting to break a tough steer for the county fair. Walt helped take the tough out of that steer, and he has been helping 4-H kids with cattle ever since. Raised in Cass County and active in the 4-H beef project there, Walt developed a deep passion for showing cattle. He fondly remembers the Cass County annual tradition of loading a semitrailer with beef projects and making the trip to the Aksarben Livestock Show in Omaha, Neb., for a week of exhibiting, making friends and having fun. Walt Glynn

Since making his home in Union County in 1963, if something has been happening that involves support for 4-H youth livestock projects, particularly beef projects, Walt has been involved. When the idea surfaced for a Celebrity Beef Show at the Union County Fair to raise money for grounds improvements, Walt went to work and helped make it happen, recruiting businesses to participate. Once the money was raised, he kept working as a volunteer to complete a new cattle wash rack, pour cement alleys in the beef barns, expand the livestock show ring and make other needed improvements.

As a 4-H parent of four, Walt, along with wife Carol, was leader of the Douglas Boosters 4-H Club for nine years. He also served on the Union County Fair beef committee for approximately 25 years and the Union County Extension Council. He worked alongside Carol when she was a member of the Union County Fair Board. Today, if there is a beef show within driving distance of Creston, Walt is either in the barns coaching or in the stands watching. And sometimes he can be found near the semi loadout with tears in his eyes and an arm around a young shoulder as goodbyes are said. Through the years, many a 4-H kid with a calf has been taken under Walt’s wing. He loves kids and knows that when they work with livestock, they’re learning many valuable lessons and not getting into trouble.   

Possibly his most notable, time-consuming and selfless commitment to the 4-H program in Union County has been his support for the livestock auction at the fair. For more than 30 years, Walt has gathered moneys from local businesses and purchased animals on their behalf. Though he hasn’t always gotten the final bid on animals, Walt’s bids have ensured the buyers’ premiums were distributed comparably among all livestock exhibitors, regardless of placement or number of animals sold.

The businessman, cattleman and farmer is a member of Holy Spirit Catholic Parish, Creston Elks and the Union County and Iowa Cattlemen’s Associations. Walt and his late wife Carol have four children, and their family includes Thane and Rachel Glynn of Creston, Matt Glynn of Ankeny, Jodi and Chad Larson of Ankeny, Dirk and Beth Glynn of Carroll and nine grandchildren.

Posted in Union, 2020 | Permalink

2020 Taylor County: Roger & Betty Brummett

Posted on 08/23/2020 at 12:00 PM

Roger and Betty have played a key role in maintaining and fostering the 4-H program in Taylor County. Their dedication to ensuring all 4-H’ers understand the core values of what 4-H stands for has always been at the forefront of their leadership role as a beef program specialist, a 4-H leader and more importantly to their children and grandchildren. Roger and Betty Brummett

The Brummetts currently live on farm in rural southwest Iowa. Their two sons were involved in 4-H and currently they have grandchildren in West Pott. county that are carrying on the long family 4-H tradition. 

Roger dedicated 25 years to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach; Betty was a 4-H leader for the Bedford Downtowners 4-H club for 20 years. Within those years they did many community projects, such as building new barns at the fairgrounds and mentoring youth as they went through the 4-H program. 


Posted in Taylor, 2020 | Permalink

2020 Tama County: Jim & Jeanne Beenken

Posted on 08/23/2020 at 12:00 PM

For Jim and Jeanne Beenken, there is much more to a County Fair than just the six days that animals and members are on the grounds, which is why Tama County has selected them as their 2020 Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame inductees. Few see the amount of background work that Jim Beeken, Tama County Fair swine superintendent since 1979 until a few years ago, does to make sure the youth are educated in their swine project, the scale is ready so that all swine are weighed, tagged and ear notched prior to the fair, organizes the weigh-in process, and makes sure the show runs smoothly the day of the fair. And beside him is his wife Jeanne, who has been a part of the Tama County Fair Board recently completing a term as treasurer. It is an honor to induct this couple into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame and the youth of Tama County thank you, Jim and Jeanne, for your dedication to them! Jim and Jeanne Beenken

Beginning in 1979, Jim became the swine superintendent of the Tama County Fair. Along with a committee, they helped to grow the swine program. Jim does everything possible to make everything fair for 4-H/FFA members. Jim has always cared that the youth were learning something new about their project, regardless of their age. The swine project was much more than just the few minutes in the show ring for those members, it was the education and the process to get to the fair that Jim has been passionate about.

Before weigh-in, Jim visits the Extension office to check that the scale is properly working and taking a day to be there to talk to each member. You can see how much he cares about these exhibitors.

Each year at the end of the fair weigh-in, Jim is normally covered by yellow paint. He is the one who paints each pig with their rate of gain and then spends the time to clean the numbers to be ready for next year. Jim is organized and spends time looking over the weigh-in paperwork to make sure that each class is fair. He is detailed and always prepared.

And beside him at meetings and at the fair is Jeanne, who has served the Tama County Fair Board as a member and treasurer for a number of years. Her accuracy and attention to detail has been vital in keeping the fair board accurate in their funding and spending.

It is an honor to have this couple inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame! Thank you, Jim and Jeanne for your dedication to the youth of Tama County.

Posted in Tama, 2020 | Permalink

2020 Story County: Owen "John" Kalsem

Posted on 08/23/2020 at 12:00 PM

Owen “John” Kalsem has been involved in the 4-H program his entire life. Whether he was a 4-H member/exhibitor, parent/4-H leader, Story County Extension Council member, Story County Fair Board member or just a lover of 4-H, he found himself involved at the local, county, and state level.  Owen "John" Kalsem

John grew up on the Kalsem farm northwest of Huxley, which has been part of the family for well over 125 years. He, along with his brother, David, and late father, Orville, have all been recognized as Master Farmers.

John followed in his father’s footsteps and became an active 4-Her in both the western horse and beef cattle projects. He has fond memories of club tours and showing his club calves and horses during the county and state fairs as a member of the Palestine Peppy Pushers 4-H club.

During the 1940’s, when John was growing up, one of his goals was to win grand champion steer at the Story County Fair, and he was thrilled to achieve that goal his final year. As an avid collector, John still has the $204 bill he paid when he purchased that winning steer.  

Once John became a parent, he continued his involvement as a 4-H leader with his children Jeff, Sharon, Karen and Clint. He was dedicated to teaching them the importance of setting and carrying out goals for a variety of projects, as well as caring for, working with, and practicing showmanship with their animals. Each year he helped organize the annual club tour for local 4-H members.

John served on the Story County Fair Board, was president of the Extension Council, and was the horse and cattle superintendent at the county fair various years. Whenever there was an opportunity to help, he was eager to lend his support. 

John, along with his wife, Ann, enjoyed working with youth and served as chaperones for a group of 4-H’ers taking the Story County Chicago Award’s trip. He can still recount the names of the 4-H’ers who took that trip and the fun they had. With a lifelong love of riding and showing horses, John went on to judge county 4-H horse shows across Iowa. He also led horse judging clinics at the Story County Fair and serving as an official judge at Iowa’s state horse judging contest.    

You'd never guess it, due to his good genes and strong Norwegian blood, but John is 89 years young, and remains an enthusiastic promoter of 4-H.

Posted in Story, 2020 | Permalink

2020 Sioux County: Bill & Cathy Punt

Posted on 08/23/2020 at 12:00 PM

Bill and Cathy Punt have been an integral part of the Sioux County Youth Fair for over 20 years. This couple has been named more than once the “mom and dad” of the Sioux County Youth Fair. Bill and Cathy Punt

Cathy has spent hours behind the mic announcing livestock shows and non-livestock events, while Bill has been behind the gate greeting every 4-H’er and FFA member as they enter or leave the arena.

Their joy and passion for the 4-H program is evident in their dedication at the club level all the way to the county fair. 4-H is much more than one week of the year for this family!

Lastly, the reason Bill and Cathy are 4-H Hall of Fame members in Sioux County’s eyes is because of the encouragement they give to each and every exhibitor, volunteer, and Extension staff they come into contact with. They believe in our youth and they make sure each 4-H’ers & FFA members know it!

Posted in Sioux, 2020 | Permalink

2020 Scott County: Lisa Zelle

Posted on 08/23/2020 at 12:00 PM

Beginning with her children being 4-H members until the present time as an advisor to the County Council, Lisa has spent years working to help youth.  She expects hard work and models it for the members. Community service, projects and exhibits, record books, fundraising – all must be done “to make the best better.” Members working with her learn that effort is key in 4-H and in life. Lisa Zelle

Her work with youth has included helping at the Ronald McDonald House, chaperoning State 4-H Conference, raising money and providing activities at the county fun night, as well as helping the youth plan their work. A highlight for many is receiving a care package the first year they are out of 4-H – a sign that members are still important even after they graduate.


Posted in Scott, 2020 | Permalink

2020 Sac County: Anita Hamm

Posted on 08/23/2020 at 12:00 PM

Anita Hamm is a longtime member of the Nemaha community. She moved with her family from Arlington, Nebraska to a farm near Nemaha in 1940 when she was in the 3rd grade. She became a member of the area girls’ 4-H club, Delaware Rainbows, at the age of 12.Anita Hamm

Anita’s father, Merritt Cook, enjoyed raising and showing dairy cattle. He found an interest in Ayrshire Dairy Cattle, a relatively new dairy breed to Iowa at that time. She has fond memories of her dad showing and one memory really sticks out for her, Anita’s father and cow “Marigold” were the overall winners of the Dairy Show.  Anita will never forget that moment of pride as her father handed over the Grand Champion banner to her family as they sat in the stands watching. Anita learned the skills and love of showing dairy cattle form her dad and it was she that later taught her own children how to show dairy cattle as well.

Anita would later marry Kenny Hamm and the two also raised dairy cattle and farmed near the Nemaha area. While raising their three kids, Anita was an active 4-H leader for the Delaware Rainbows, which was still at that time a girls’ club. She encouraged her own kids and other 4-H members to participate fully in the 4-H experience, from livestock and projects, to demonstrations and public speaking. Son, Jim, was a member of the Delaware Cadets, the boys’ club, and was able to show livestock. Jim’s sisters saw what fun he was having showing dairy cattle and decided to join in the fun. Anita remembers well the white uniforms of the dairy showmen that naturally got dirty during showtime and had to be washed and pressed before the big livestock parade that processed past the grandstand as the finale of fair.

Anita was and is to this day an active member of the Nemaha community. For years she partook in and led the Nemaha UMW group in sewing school bags and filling them with school supplies for local and oversea relief for impoverished school children. Over 800 school bags were sewn and packed for this project! Another outstanding citizenship project for Anita was the improvement of voting rates for Sac County. She was the backbone for figuring out the cost of voting per person and a changing force behind moving to only 9 precincts, finding a universal voting location and advertising when it was time to get out and vote. For this effort, Anita won a citizenship award though the local Nemaha Woman’s Club.

She will tell you that her time in 4-H and her time leading 4-H was time well spent. She believes that the 4-H program is a valuable teaching/learning tool for today’s youth. She mentioned that as a leader she felt she continued to learn just as much as the kids did! No finer woman will you ever sit with over a cup of coffee and discuss years of past and importance of community and all it has to offer!

Posted in Sac, 2020 | Permalink
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