2014 State Recognition - Jerry Parsons

Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame Inductees

2014 State Recognition - Jerry Parsons


Jerry Parsons has had a memorable career and vocation with the Iowa State Extension Service. In 1952, he received his bachelor’s in Agriculture Education from Iowa State College (ISC). Following his stint in the US Navy, Jerry joined the State Extension staff as Youth Assistant in Jones County in 1954. He joined the State 4-H staff in 1957 while pursuing a Master’s degree in Rural Sociology. His Masters’ thesis, Homemakers' Participation in an Extension Program, is a study of the relationship of personal, social, and economic factors to participation of a group of homemakers in the Iowa Cooperative Extension Service. After receiving his Masters, he worked in Linn County as a 4-H Youth Assistant and then in Northwest Iowa Area. In 1961, he returned to the State 4-H Staff where he worked with the merger of the boys and girls 4-H programs.

After receiving his PhD from ISU in 1970, Jerry joined the faculty at North Carolina State University (1970-76) and Kansas State University (1977-1979) where he worked with the adult and community college education programs. While he did not have a direct appointment to the extension programs in these two states, Jerry did continue to make contributions to the programs. He served as editor of the Journal of Extension as well as serving on several national 4-H committees.

His biggest contribution to 4-H and Extension during this time period was the publication of Incentives in 4-H. This publication consisted of 11 modules for staff members to use in training 4-H volunteers.

In 1980, he returned to Iowa as the State 4-H Youth Leader. During the next eight years, the staff developed and emphasized new methods of reaching Iowa youth in addition to the traditional clubs settings. Under his leadership, he challenged state and field staff to think innovatively while enabling them to make changes in existing programs and to plan for future 4-H directions. He participated in the realignment of the purposes and goals of the Iowa 4-H Foundation and the 4-H Camp. He also led the 4-H Youth staff through changes in staffing patterns. He retired in 1988 leaving Iowa 4-H Youth staff able to meet the challenges of the future.

Since his retirement, he worked for two small local businesses in Ames. Jerry has enjoyed spending time with his three children and four grandchildren, traveling with his wife Diane, gardening, writing family stories incorporating numerous photos, and just relaxing. 

08/18/2014 10:20 AM |Add a comment
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