Posted on August 30, 2011 at 1:38 PM by Global Reach
Gerry Lackender lived the 4-H motto “To make the best better”. She strived to make the Johnson County 4-H Fair one of the best in the state. Gerry always went above and beyond.
Gerry was a part of the Johnson County fair for about 50 years. Every one of her and husband Glenn’s six children were 4-Her’s, as well as some of her grandchildren. She was active on the Extension Council, Youth Committee, judging presentations and serving on the Fair Board. She was honored as an Honorary 4-H member in 1978.
Part of Gerry’s time was focused on organizing the business displays in the Exhibition Hall. In the two decades she organized business exhibits, the number of participants went from populating one building to overflowing two buildings and a tent totaling more than 100 displays.
Gerry was one of the coordinators who got the Bill Riley talent show going in Johnson County. Gerry was in charge of arranging all entertainment at the fair – clowns, music groups, visiting artists and others. The first variety tent Gerry organized was all free and continues to be to this day.
Gerry always enjoyed the whole fair. She would have been the last one out of the gate every year if she could have. Filling the exhibition hall and variety theater stage is a year-round job – she always started planning for the next year as soon as the fair ended for that year. Even though Gerry seemed to sleep, eat and breathe the fair 12 months out of the year she always said she would miss it if she couldn’t do it. She did do it as long as she could.
Because of her involvement in church and community activities and while traveling for Farm Bureau, she found many groups and individuals with talent. She always attended the Fair Association state convention each year for talent. When you mention, even to this day, Gerry Lackender’s name in Johnson County, you automatically link it to the Johnson County 4-H Fair.
No matter how busy she was at the fair, Gerry found time to slip away for a few minutes to watch her grandchildren being judged.
What Gerry Lackender did for 4-H, she did for her family – she fed us emotionally and spiritually – her cookbooks makes us feel she’s still with us. Gerry was a big part of the family fair community generation after generation. She devoted much time to something she loved so dearly – the Johnson County 4-H Fair.