Posted on April 21, 2011 at 1:40 PM by Global Reach
Vern and Mary Lightfoot are one of Fremont County’s very unique couples. The Lightfoots, married in 1948, have lived at their current house since 1950. Although neither Vern nor Mary were in 4-H themselves, they raised four children—Rita, Janet, Rob and Theresa--who were all active 4-H members. Both Vern and Mary became involved in the 4-H program in 1961. In 1980 they became honorary 4-H members.
Mary was a 4-H leader for 12 years, an organizational leader for eight years, has been a comment writer for fair judges, and helped in the 4-H Dining Hall during the Sidney Iowa Rodeo. She is active as a volunteer with Gardenview Care Center, a member of ONO Community Club, belongs to the guild at St. Mary’s Church and is a member of a neighborhood group.
Vern “shucked a lot of corn for the 4-H Dining Hall that served meals during the Sidney Iowa Rodeo over the years.” Vern was on the Fair Board for 10 years, was a 4-H project leader, assisted with nominating committee for council elections. Along with growing corn and soybeans, he also raised cattle and hogs, expanding the hogs with a farrow to finish operation in 1979 until 2000. Commenting on living through the challenges and changes since he started farming in 1941, Vern said, “Looking back it’s hard to see how we made it—but we were conservative.”
When asked why they supported 4-H, they commented that, “When our daughter was that age, lots of others in the area were in the 4-H program and we decided that was what we needed to participate in and worked really hard at it.”
Vern and Mary both have many fond memories of 4-H: remembering the numerous cakes that Rita had to make so she could get just the right one to show at fair. The girls had their projects and then when they decided to let girls show livestock, it was along with their brother, Rob. Remembering how their children had swine and beef projects; enjoying the hog and calf shows at fair as their children were showing; and watching their grandchildren show projects at fair now along with their State Fair projects.