Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on April 19, 2011 at 2:31 PM by Global Reach

09 Decatur County John & Zana McKibbenStatement by daughter (Serena Linn) about Zana:
Mom was not one of the original leaders but did serve as a leader.  She also in later years served on the Decatur County Fair Board. She was a true 4-Her. And it was fun to hear tales about her. Like, she made a fashion statement by wearing bib overalls to help do work at the fair grounds before it was vogue.

I can remember Zana in those bibs at the county fair workdays and during much of the fair, working right along with the men, and putting many of them to shame. They tell the story of Zana becoming impatient with a crew roofing one of the livestock barns one day. She pulled off her shoes (so the slick soles would not slide on the surface I presume) and climbed barefoot onto the roof, hauling and nailing down shingles. Part of the crew had to get out of the way to prevent being nailed down with them! I also recall the story of a young, newly hired county extension director (wasn’t me) being chewed out by Zana for coming to the fair dressed in a suit and tie. She let him know that you came to the fair to work and those were not working clothes!

About her father, Serena says:
After being in the Garden Grove Go Getters girls club for several years, my sister and I wanted to have our horses in 4-H. Our dad’s philosophy was “if you have the ability to do something, then do it.” He allowed us to do things that many girls were not allowed to do because they were girls and girls in the 50’s and 60’s didn’t do those things. We joined the Centers Cheerful Chums Boys Club and boys, here we come, horses and all. … The first year we were not allowed to leave the horses at the County Fair. We brought them in, showed them and then returned home the same day. The second year, our dad and a couple of the other dads who had sons with horses decided they would help and the horses could stay.

Another memory is that of Christmas Caroling. Dad would hook the hayrack to the tractor and drive it into Garden Grove. Then we would gather at one of the club members home, ride from house to house in the hayrack, singing to anyone who would listen, making sure we visited the elderly and the shut-ins. We would sing several songs and then leave them with a plate of Christmas goodies. Then we would go back to the club members home and have a soup supper.

John and Zana both were a big help to me in those early years as a new county extension director, especially with the county fair and horse project. Their leadership, guidance, hard work, energy and especially love of youth and the 4-H program for over four decades makes them candidates long overdue for this 4-H Hall of Fame Award. A major regret for me is that it comes posthumously, but I have asked their children to accept this most deserved honor in their memory.

Tribute Gift

Categories: Decatur

There are no comments yet.
Add Comment

* Indicates a required field

© 2024 Iowa 4-H Foundation. All Rights Reserved.