Posted on March 31, 2011 at 12:21 PM by Global Reach
Mona Gerstenberger and her husband farmed in the Aurora and Quasqueton areas for many years. During those years Mona was a 4-H leader for a Buffalo Township 4-H Club and Kyle was a 4-H leader in both Buffalo and Cono Townships. Their children Aaron, Adele and Duane were all active in 4-H clubs.
Mona began working at the Buchanan County Extension Service office in Independence, Iowa in 1961, first as a secretary and then as a 4-H aide. When Mona retired in 1974 the Extension staff wrote of her, "In Mona's 13 years with the Buchanan County Extension Service many changes have taken place. She has been a constant booster of the 4-H exchange trips, 4-H camps and educational presentations. All of these things, plus many more, have made the experience of working with young people and adults a challenge for her. Thousands of 4-H boys and girls have enjoyed and benefited from her dedicated concern for youth." Mona loved working with the young people of Buchanan County, their parents and 4-H leaders and at her retirement said, "The long hours and many night meetings during the past 13 years have been made worthwhile by the growth and enjoyment of the many thousands of 4-H boys and girls."
Mona and Kyle were parents of three children, Aaron of Atlanta GA, Adele (Bowden) of Webster City IA and Duane of Seattle WA. They also had 6 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Several years after the death of her husband, Mona moved to Webster City and lived there until her death in 2000.
People who have worked with Mona have offer their thoughts and enthusiasm for Mona’s nomination to the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame.
Dorothy Webber worked with Mona at the Extension Office in Independence. Dorothy says that Mona was her “second Mom.” Mona was a role model for Dorothy and all 4-H’ers, giving pointers on projects and only solicited advice. “Mona always made people feel good about themselves,” said Dorothy, adding that “She had a nice way of correcting what you’re doing if there was a better way to do it!” Dorothy said that Mona enjoyed seeing the 4-H’ers grow up and progress from year to year. Mona would support the kids and those who would stop by the Extension Office, but never took any credit for these peoples’ success. Dorothy concluded that “Mona was a neat, classy woman who always wanted to help….even after she retired, she would help out down at the Extension as needed!”
Carol Hans is a retired Home Economist for the Extension. When asked about Mona, Carol exclaimed, “Oh I love her! She was the biggest-hearted, generous, helpful person that ever walked this earth!” Carol also added that (for Mona), “Helping 4-H’ers was her life!”
For Mona, helping 4-H’ers was a joy and a big part of her life. Her character and generous spirit are still remembered by former 4-H’ers in this community. It’s fair to say that because of their positive 4-H experience and Mona’s influence in their youth, many of our county’s 4-H parents support the 4-H program and enroll their children in 4-H.