Posted on August 24, 2017 at 7:29 AM by Emily Saveraid
Jane Eilderts and her husband, Al, have a rich history with 4-H involvement. Jane (Johansen) comes from a strong 4-H oriented family in Franklin County, (a Marion Majorette club member) who still has her record book as well as the dress she sewed in the 1970's that was chosen to go to the Iowa State Fair. Reminiscing about how 4-H was a guiding force in her earlier life she said, "As a teenager, if we weren't walking beans to earn money for school, we were working on our 4-H projects, rotating 'girl’s' projects; Foods, Clothing and Home Improvement every 3 years." Jane annually maintained 'boy’s' projects as it was divided then, to the delight of her Dad, Wendell (Lump) Johansen, smiling as she points out some of the exciting times they had showing her 4-H market steers at the North Iowa Fair, Franklin County Fair and of course, the Iowa State Fair. "4-H encouraged me to always try to make my best, better."
For the past 17 years as the Eilderts' daughters Leah and Hannah grew up, Jane was club leader for the Cedar Falls Lucky Hawks. Today although she is retired after a 31-year career at John Deere, she continues to be busy assisting at their church in children's ministry, judging 4-H fairs in Clothing, Creative Arts and Home Improvement, helping as a 4-H mentor, baking coffee cakes and pies for Barn Happy (an all-Iowa gift barn in Cedar Falls) and volunteering at Re-fit, an exercise class that incorporates music, dance and prayer.
Al who was raised on a farm near Parkersburg, in Butler County was very active with FFA during his school years but later transitioned to a 4-H dad after his daughters joined, going on to serve for 5 years on the Black Hawk County Fair Board, 15 years on the 4-H Youth Committee and making lifelong friends. Additionally, the list of other community service areas he contributed to is lengthy, including; Orchard Hill church board, usher, Wednesday Night Meals worker, a Master Gardener of Black Hawk county, and volunteer at the Cedar Valley Arboretum. The professional accountant served for years as accounting management at Dairy Cattle Congress and later at PCI of Reinbeck.
Last October, the unthinkable happened with unexpected suddenness, Al suffered a brain aneurysm shortly after undergoing a heart-stent procedure in a Waterloo hospital. The couple hoped to have the surgery behind them with Al healed and ready to take the Colorado trip they were planning. As daughter Leah Cahill shared at her father's funeral, "I need to tell you a favorite text message sent to me recently where a friend said, "Someday when you have kids, a piece of them will be a piece of your dad coming back to you. It may only be in the way they walk or a funny habit but every time they do it, it will put a big smile on your face." That will happen, Leah said.
It is with heartfelt gratitude that the Black Hawk County 4-H program and 4-H families applaud the devotion of Al to our organization and the continued supportive assistance of Jane Eilderts.