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

Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame Inductees

2016 Butler County Mike and Sandy Ruby

Posted on 08/26/2016 at 10:03 AM

Butler County is pleased to select Mike and Sandy Ruby of Greene, Iowa as our 2016 Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame inductees.  Both have been valuable assets to the Butler County 4-H program.   

Sandy was a Butler County 4-H’er for 10 years where she was a member of the Jacksonettes 4-H Club which later became known as the Jackson Lucky Clovers 4-H Club.  Sandy was involved in food & nutrition, clothing, and showing cattle.  Sandy has been a leader of the Coldwater/Dayton Busy Gophers 4-H Club for more than 10 years!  In addition to being a club leader, Sandy can be found judging 4-H Clover Kids and queen competitions in neighboring counties.  Sandy works at the Plainfield Veterinary Office and the Greene Public Library. 

Mike was a 10 year 4-H member in Carroll County, Maryland, where he was a member of the Hampstead 4-H Club and Carroll County Livestock Club.  He enjoyed the sheep, swine, and beef projects and participated on the livestock judging team.  Mike has remained active with 4-H returning to his hometown to judge beef at the county fair and judging swine at the Maryland State Fair.  In Butler County, Iowa, Mike has proven to be a valuable volunteer with over 25 years as a Butler County 4-H and Youth Advisory Committee member.  He is also a long time member of the Butler County Fair Board. He farms, and raises Angus cattle.   

Mike and Sandy’s two children, Wes and Ty, were both active members of Butler County 4-H.  The Rubys are active volunteers who can always be counted on to offer a helping hand.  They are supportive of 4-H youth and love to see youth grow and succeed. 

2016 Calhoun County Gary and Marilyn Nicholson

Posted on 08/26/2016 at 10:03 AM

Gary and Marilyn Nicholson of Rockwell City, Iowa started their 4-H careers as young junior members. Gary started in 1946, when he was 10 years old, and the club he belonged to, the Logan Hustlers, held their meetings at his house. He remembers participating in interclub basketball tournaments at the school, showing livestock, as well as being part of the State 4-H Council. 

Marilyn started her 4-H career at the same age, with the Union Winners club. She participated in home improvement, food and nutrition, clothing and other life skill workshops and brought her exhibits to the county fair. After they married, they served on the Calhoun County Extension Council for a number of years, as well as serving on the fair board.   

In 1974, they became leaders of the Central Trail Blazers 4-H club for over a decade. They were very patient leaders and always willing to lend a hand when it was needed. Gary used his knowledge of showing livestock to help the members do the same, and Marilyn helped with many of the building projects. They invested countless hours for the local youth, just because they wanted to see them succeed. 

One of their favorite things as leaders was taking the members on trips, and they held pancake breakfasts to raise money for the trips. They traveled to the Omaha Zoo, Moline IL, Lincoln NE, Living History Farms, Adventureland, and many other places. 

They remained involved in 4-H even after their time as leaders. Gary continued helping the youth show livestock and volunteered his time to 4-Hers receiving the “Friend of 4-H Award” in 2002. Marilyn will often be a comment writer at the county fair. It is because of caring and involved people like Gary and Marilyn Nicholson 4-H is the organization it is today.

2016 Cass County Jerry and Donna Lowers

Posted on 08/26/2016 at 10:03 AM

Dependable, level-headed, reliable, detail-oriented, dedicated, devoted. All these words only begin to describe the type of man and the couple we wish to honor with the 2016 Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame award from Cass County. 


It was over 30 years ago when our recipient became a long-standing and devoted member of an important youth committee in the county.  But long before that, a love for 4-H and the Cass County Fair was kindled.  That fire was never put out. 


Raising their 3 boys in the Pymosa Township in Cass County, joining 4-H and participating in the county fair was only natural. Many years were spent helping with projects and watching the outcomes from arena-side.  Always encouraging, always reassuring their boys and the other 4-Hers they grew up with. 


Once children are grown, many parents devote their time to other interests beyond those of their children, but not this couple.  The 4-H program and especially the Cass County Fair remained a strong interest.  After serving as assistant beef superintendent, our recipient joined the Cass County Grounds Committee, and the rest, as they say, is history. 


“He was the “go-to guy” if you wanted to get something done.” 


“If there was a suggestion to fix something, he would get to fixing it.” 


“He kept us organized.”          “He was always there … always working.” 


These quotes from fellow committee members encompass his contribution to the 4-H program and the fair grounds.  He must have driven miles, jumping into his pick-up and going after whatever was needed. Even when he had to start slowing down a little, he helped out any way he could. But behind every good man, is a good woman too. His wife was just as much a part of the dedication to 4-H.  Always right with him. They were called a “front lines” couple who poured their heart and soul into the fair. 


When the original community center was demolished to put up the current building, this gentleman was there every step of the way. If a piece of equipment was needed, he donated it.  Oh the hours the old 856 International saw at the fairgrounds.  When the many, many generous donations came in, he became the “picture guy”, accepting the donations humbly and thanking the donors. All the hours logged driving around town though, his wife was right by his side. When it came time to design and decorate the building’s interior, this couple saw to the smallest details. 


On the lighter side, for those of you who know our recipient couple best, you can laugh with them when we can agree to not let Jerry install any water lines.  You’ll also know what it means when “Jerry’s buying,” and you’ll grab another cup of coffee when he starts out, “Well, my wife says …” 


Congratulations Jerry and Donna.

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2016 Cedar County Dave and Deb Mohr

Posted on 08/26/2016 at 10:03 AM

Volunteers who are willing to work with youth and also give of their time are hard to come by.  Dave and Deb Mohr are examples of the volunteers we have in Cedar County.  Dave and Deb have been involved with 4-H for many years. Their first experience came as they were growing up as 4-H community club members.   

They started their role as club leaders 28 years ago and are continuing this role with their grandson adding his membership to 4-H this year. They have both served as members of the Cedar County Extension Council and have been members of the Cedar County Youth Committee.   

Dave is a current member of the Cedar County Fair Board where he has served on several committees, has served as beef superintendent for several years, helped with beef weigh-in, been involved with the market beef auction, and assisted the Cedar County Cattlemen with fundraising and the building of a new beef barn on the fairgrounds. Deb has been involved with the Bill Riley Talent show for many years, assisted with beef and sheep weigh-ins, helps with 4-H conference exhibit judging day, and is a past advisor for Cedar County Youth Council. Between their experiences with 4-H and their county fair involvement, Dave and Deb are able to provide an atmosphere where positive learning is possible for youth of all ages.  

 Congratulations to Dave and Deb.

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2016 Cerro Gordo County Jody Grant

Posted on 08/26/2016 at 10:03 AM

Jody Grant is a long-time volunteer and supporter in Cerro Gordo County 4-H. Her love for the organization started at age 9 when she joined the Grimes Go-Getters. As a member, Jody participated in a variety of projects. But beef was, by far, her favorite. Jody showed cattle at both the North Iowa and the Iowa State Fair. 

After graduating high school, attending college, and settling down with her husband in her hometown of Thornton, Jody decided to re-involve herself in the 4-H program. Jody became a leader of the very club she participated in, now known as the Grimes VIPs. Jody and her co-leader encouraged the club to be active in the county and in the community. Members participated in every project area, providing community service, and running a food stand at local softball games to raise funds. 

Jody has always been willing to provide assistance needed by her members. She briefly took over leadership of the Thornton Farmhands club until combining the two clubs in 2014.  She raised her kids to "bleed green" and encouraged them to take advantage of all the opportunities the 4-H program has to offer. Jody still leads the Grimes VIPs club after 30 years and often chauffeurs members to events, creates projects with them, and helps them raise funds to attend events such as the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference and 4-H camp. Jody expanded her volunteer duties recently after seeing the need for a goat superintendent.  She has enjoyed learning about the species as the project area continues to grow in Cerro Gordo County.   

Members, past and present, have this to say about Jody: 

"She taught me to be the best I can be and never give up. She also taught me that no matter how hard or scary it gets, to just get back on task and keep going." Cailee Henning 

"She's taught me that when you're struggling it's worth the wait because the outcome is always better. She also taught me to be patient on things that take a lot of time and effort." Breanna Fairbanks 

Jody has dedicated her head, heart, hands, and heath to the 4-H program and enjoys every minute of it. Not only does she love helping members with projects, but she also enjoys watching them grow and achieving their full potential as future leaders.

2016 Cherokee County John Langschwager

Posted on 08/26/2016 at 10:03 AM

In his time as a 4-H leader, John Langschwager was well respected, if not loved, by the kids, their parents, and the other volunteers with whom he worked.  John made a HUGE impact on the 4-H community with his big voice, his livestock knowledge, his personal resources, and his ever-ready and willing attitude toward community service. John lived and taught the 4-H pledge with gusto.  He expected his Cavalier 4-Hers to be kind, thorough, hardworking, and productive.   

Through John, the Cavalier 4-H members learned to be firm in their beliefs.  They learned how to stand up for themselves while still being respectful of those around them.  They learned how to tackle and finish a project, no matter how big or foreign it was.  They learned that 4-H was a time to try new things, be silly, have fun, and then buckle down and get after it. While John was rarely “polished,” he was a gifted teacher.  The 4-H Cavalier kids knew he loved them. They knew he respected them. They knew he valued them.     

Most importantly, John taught through example.  John brought to the table a new generation of community volunteers.  There is no doubt that John’s Cavalier kids will continue on in the 4-H community, not only in their own school years, but many will go on to become 4-H parents and 4-H volunteers in the future.  John’s commitment to the 4-H community has not stopped because we have lost him.  It lives on in the community members he influenced and the kids he inspired.

2016 Chickasaw County Nancy Hillesheim

Posted on 08/26/2016 at 10:03 AM

Nancy Hillesheim’s career so helping others began with young girls in the Peppy Pixies Club in 1979 to 1983. Though she was no longer a leader she continued to be an active part of the club that later became the Jolly Blue Bells. Nancy has many interests and talents in sewing, baking, and overall concepts of the 4-H program she shared with the enrolled youth.   

Her leadership role did not end at the club level, as she accepted the year-round position as secretary on the fair board of the Big Four Fair in Nashua for the last thirty years. Some of her experiences include being part of the 4-H Queen contest, the Big Four Fair parade and helping to choose entertainment activities.  Fair board members call her the “backbone of the board!” Nancy’s family has always been supportive of her leadership roles.  Each year brings new challenges, but the values that began with 4-H continue to be passed on through the generations.

2016 Clay County Roger Clarke

Posted on 08/26/2016 at 10:03 AM

Roger Clark has been a dedicated volunteer in Clay County for over 30 years. He models generosity and hard work through his volunteerism.  In his work as a beef project leader, he has given many hours to the youth as a mentor and worked with volunteers and staff to manage a successful and well-respected beef show at the Clay County Fair.  Most of all, as a leader and a mentor, he is always patient and kind, which has earned the respect of youth, parents, staff and other volunteers. 


His involvement in the program meant a lot to his family, they wrote this about him:  His contribution started at a young age when he showed dairy cattle at the Clay County Fair.  It continued on when we were all in 4-H, to now helping grandkids with their projects. He would always help weigh in the beef projects on weigh-in day.  It wasn’t long before he was helping in the show ring on show day, not only for the county show but also for the district show.  He has put in countless hours breaking down beef classes for the Clay County fairs and district shows. Depending on the number of entries, sometimes it would go late in the night, and then he would have to get up early the next morning to make sure we were all on task, getting prepared for the show, or completing our morning chores.   

Years after we no longer showed our beef, he continues to help in the show ring, during weigh in, and breaking classes.  He was a 4-H club leader for many years.  He was a great mentor working with young people. He never lost his composure and was always able to help kids with whatever issue they were facing with their project. He was always patient with us when we were learning to show our beef projects.   

His decades of commitment has inspired 4-H youth and 4-H adults to action in this youth development program. If not for Roger, his kids’ experience in the program would not have been the same—and the same is true for many other kids over the last thirty-plus years.

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2016 Clayton County Jean Whittle

Posted on 08/26/2016 at 10:03 AM

Clayton County is proud to recognize Jean Whittle as the 2016 Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame inductee.  Jean volunteered countless hours for the 4-H youth in Clayton County, whether it is taking tickets or scrambling eggs at the annual brunch, chaperoning the Lock-In, or clerking the poultry show at the fair. Whenever there is a need, Jean steps up!  In 2015 when the poultry show was cancelled due to avian influenza, Jean put together a “Poultry Skill-A-Thon” for the poultry project members during the county fair.   


Jean works each year at the county fair as a superintendent for the horse, dog and poultry shows.  She served 20 years on the Clayton County Extension Council, serving as secretary and Youth Committee representative. As a member of the Clayton County Extension 4-H & Youth Development Committee she diligently worked to improve the county 4-H & youth programs. She continues to serve on county fair livestock advisory committees. 


Jean was not a member of 4-H growing up, but all three of her children were members.  Her first experience with 4-H was when her oldest daughter joined a 4-H club in Delaware county.  Jean later became a 4-H leader.   
Jean is the office manager at the Elkader Veterinary Clinic. She and her husband Tim enjoy keeping up with the activities in which her children and grandson are involved.  

2016 Clarke County John Haub

Posted on 08/26/2016 at 10:02 AM

John Haub began his life-long passion for the land and cattle when growing up on his family’s rural Boone County farm. He participated in 4-H and showed Purebred Shorthorns at the local county fair. In 1975, John married his wife, Debbie.  Two years later, they moved to the Clarke County farm, expanding their beef operation.   

John and Debbie have two children, Mike and Danny, who were also very active in 4-H & FFA at the county and state level, mainly showing beef cattle. John felt it was important to instill in his sons proper care of their animals, which included: the nutritional importance of diet, good vet care, quality genetics and the art of showmanship. Over the years, John has been a large contributor to the youth in our community. He was a Clarke County Fair Board member from 1990- 1999. John was a “behind the scenes” kind of guy, helping clean out barns after the fair and exhibitors were gone. He was the ring man during the Clarke and Decatur County Fairs for many years and the Haub family proudly sponsored many county fair youth beef awards. 

John supports agriculture and the beef industry. He was a founding member of the Clarke County Cattlemen and sat on the board of directors, including two terms as president. He and his wife, along with other Clarke County Cattlemen, cooked and served at the Beef Quarters at the Iowa State Fair for many years. He is also a member of the Farm Bureau and American Shorthorn Association. John shares his extensive knowledge of the cattle industry by helping young exhibitors learn to fit and feed their calves appropriately. He taught them what to look for when purchasing a show calf or when starting their own herd.  John continues to raise and sell club calves to area 4-H and FFA members and is a big advocate in giving young producers honest appraisals.  Young producers can use his advice, as a learning tool, when looking to purchase quality cattle.   

John works full-time for Hawkeye Breeders in Adel, which includes traveling to farms in the Midwest to test or collect bull semen. For many years John has AI’d (artificially inseminated) for area producers, and advises young cattle producers in areas of genetics. 

John enjoys being active outdoors, working around the farm, producing quality beef cattle and spending time with family.  

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