Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on August 28, 2017 at 8:42 AM by Emily Saveraid

Fred and Vonnie Carlson FamilyService to others was a hallmark of the late Fred Carlson.  Fred served in the Army Air Force, Army National Guard, and the Navy, before he married the love of his life, Vonnie and settled down in Louisa County to raise 6 children.  But military service was only the beginning.  Fred became a Little League coach and was adamant that each player got a chance at bat.  He supported Wapello Youth Wrestling and would bus kids to wrestling meets as needed. State wrestling was a big deal and no matter who was competing from their community, Fred was always their “Biggest Fan.”

The family’s first involvement in 4-H began when their daughter, Carrie, joined the Merry Makers Club in 1968. The boys in the family, Craig, Kent, Cory, Kevin, and Kurt joined the Wamaco 4-H Club when they reached membership age.

Vonnie worked in the background to feed hungry mouths and keep show clothes and uniforms clean.  She supported the kids in their 4-H and sports ventures – including the 4-H Softball League. She assured Carrie had what she needed for the horse and pony shows and the boys were prepared for showing sheep, goats, and poultry. 

Fred took a more active role driving the kids to club meetings and events, helping his own children and anyone else needing help.  During fair week Fred took the kids to the fairgrounds for chores every morning and evening.

During the summer, as the children, and then the grandchildren worked with the sheep and goats daily to prepare them for exhibition, Vonnie and Fred would pull up lawn chairs to watch them practice. They would cheer and encourage them. Grandpa Fred was known for his special, “Wooo!” that he would shout out when anyone he knew would win a class, show, game, or contest.

The Carlson kids and grandkids carry on the volunteer and “help everyone” spirit of Fred and Vonnie.  Kurt and the grand-kids have held sheep exhibiting workshops to advise and teach younger 4-Her's.  Kurt is currently the sheep superintendent.  Cory is on the Goat Committee and judges poultry shows at various open shows and county fairs. The Carlson family continues to sponsor trophies at the Louisa County Fair.

This next year will mark 50 years of active involvement of the entire Carlson Family in the Louisa County 4-H program and for their consistent giving and volunteering spirit, begun by Fred and Vonnie and carried on by Carrie, Craig, Kent, Cory, Kevin, and Kurt – the Louisa County Extension Council is proud to nominate the Fred and Vonnie Carlson family to the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame.

Categories: 2017, Louisa

This was such a special day!! I sure wish grandpa Fred could of been there to accept the award with Gram. There wasn't a dry eye in our entire family that day. I loved 4-H then and still support kids in 4H today. I thank God daily he gave me a loving family that supported us grandkids and others with our meetings, projects, and livestock with lots of blood, sweat, and tears. Always our biggest fan!! Love you tons.
Amber Hansford | 3/20/23 at 3:16 AM
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