Posted on August 30, 2011 at 1:57 PM by Global Reach
Bernice Pancratz Schuster was the first club president when the Washington Wonder Workers 4-H club organized in November 1941. Over the next six years, she held all of the other offices in the club. She was named "Outstanding 4-H Girl" in Dubuque County.
She was part of a demonstration team with Evelyn Bradley that won the county award, advancing to the State Fair; unfortunately they were not able to participate there since the State Fair was not held that year due to the war. She was named “Dubuque County Style Girl” and represented Dubuque County at the State Fair in 1942.
In June 1944, as County Girl's Vice President, Bernice gave a report on the sale of war bonds and stamps in at County 4-H Rally Day. In July, the Washington Wonder Workers 4-H Club made war stamp corsages and sold $17.75 worth at a local church picnic.
Bernice's 4-H records show she attended 72 meetings, giving 15 talks and 4 demonstrations. Her 4-H project work included constructing 35 garments, repairing 81 garments, finishing 101 home furnishing projects, canning 1274 quarts of food, and preparing 1117 meals, 224 dozen rolls and cookies, 136 dairy dishes, 96 dozen yeast rolls, and 780 loaves of bread.
Program contributions included 11 team demonstrations, six discussions, five conservation talks, five health talks, and singing with her club for 75 programs. Bernice participated in four Rally Days, five Achievement Shows, one Exhibition Day, one State Fair Style Revue, five club picnics, four Christmas Parties, four Halloween Parties, one Radio Broadcast, three Banquets for parents, one May Day Party, and one Red Cross Aquatic School.
Finally, her service activities included purchasing $365.50 of war bonds and stamps, putting in 14,424 hours of work on the home front, and collecting 893 pounds of salvage. She donated funds to the Red Cross, U.S.O., and the Schick Hospital. She was named a recipient of the Danforth I Dare You Award.
She became a 4-H Leader after she married and continued to be active in 4-H in this role for 31 years. She did not attend the State Convention as a member, but she got to chaperone the event in 1969. Bernice was named to the Dubuque County Women's Food Stand Committee, a team whose proceeds were all donated to 4-H. The group raised the money needed to build buildings at the fairgrounds and donated to other 4-H needs. When the Food Stand disbanded in 1996, the committee invested remaining funds, enabling them to continue donating to Dubuque County 4-H every year; the funds are still used today to support membership fees.
All of the Schuster children (Bob, Dave, Betty, Bonnie & Donnie) were active in 4-H.
They all showed Holstein dairy cattle and one year even showed the Grand Champion Holstein Cow at the Dubuque County Fair. Fifteen grandchildren and great-grandchildren have followed the family’s 4-H tradition.