Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on August 28, 2017 at 8:45 AM by Emily Saveraid

LeRoy SongerWith over forty years of service to Madison County Extension and 4-H, Bonnie (Raber) Songer is perhaps one of the most formative and influential individuals in Extension’s 100 years of service to the county. With her devoted husband LeRoy by her side, she left a lasting impression on Madison County youth with her constant encouragement and program coordination efforts. A former colleague remembers Bonnie as “the real front door to Iowa State University Extension.” In 1994, Bonnie was presented with the prestigious “Pride of Extension Award” for 35 years of exemplary service to the people of Iowa. Bonnie is remembered for her dedicated service to the youth, families, and agricultural producers of Madison County.

Bonnie began her role as Office Assistant in the late 1950s and retired from her role in 1999. One former colleague recalled Bonnie describing Extension clients as “like a family”; she knew everyone by name, and she took a genuine interest in helping them improve their lives. During her tenure with Extension, Bonnie coordinated the 4-H program for generations of Madison County youth. Bonnie became a friend, role model and left a lasting impression on all she touched.  She is remembered for her incredible efficiency, organizational skills, and endless kindness. Always willing to step in and go the extra mile, Bonnie supported local farmers, 4-H members, and fellow staff members. Integrity, honesty and dedication were a few of the many qualities that Bonnie possessed and hoped 4-H would help to instill in Madison County’s youth. If Bonnie was engaged in an activity, LeRoy was never far away; he was always willing to lend a hand to ensure 4-H’ers had the most positive, meaningful experience possible. LeRoy is best remembered for the tractor safety course he taught in Madison County; he had a passion for youth in agriculture, and he taught the course to ensure the safety of farm youth.

Bonnie and LeRoy were loving and devoted parents to their children; son, Jamie and daughter, Jodi. Together, they engaged their children in meaningful 4-H careers among other opportunities for personal growth. Outside of extension, Bonnie was an active member of the Winterset Community. She was a lifetime member of the Madison County Livestock and Fair Association. She was an artist and was active in the Winterset Art Center. Bonnie and LeRoy’s lasting contributions to the Madison County 4-H program are memorialized in an annual scholarship, presented to youth who exhibit traits deeply valued by the couple—integrity, honesty, and dedication. 

Categories: 2017, Madison

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