Posted on August 21, 2018 at 3:38 PM by Global Reach
Not many individuals can claim to have more history in the Marion County 4-H program than Tom Nichols. He has been involved as a 4-H member, club leader, parent, and superintendent for about 75 years. Tom has significantly contributed to the beef program in Marion County through his integrity, dependability, and strong work ethic.
Tom grew up in the Coalport area outside of Knoxville attending elementary school at West River Ridge. He attended and graduated from Knoxville High School. He was a member of 4-H throughout his youth exhibiting both beef and hogs at the Marion County Fair.
Throughout his time with Marion County 4-H Tom was asked to be a superintendent; he spent his first 2 years as a horse superintendent before becoming a beef superintendent. In total, he was a superintendent for about 50 years. He was also a leader for the Tracy Tigers and then for the Hex-a-Poppin’ 4-H Club. He spent about 35 years as a 4-H Club Leader.
Tom married is wife Swaney in 1963 and they raised two children; Cory and Katie. While Katie and Corey were participating in 4-H, Tom stepped away from being superintendent. He always felt that it was best if parents who had kids exhibiting weren’t the ones in charge of the shows. Cory showed beef, swine, and sheep while his sister exhibited both beef and horses. Their family has a lot of memories from time spent both at the Marion County Fair as well as at the Iowa State Fair.
Aside from being a very involved volunteer for the Marion County 4-H program, Tom spent 9 years as the State Junior Angus Association Advisor and 1 year as the advisor for the Nation Junior Angus Association.
Tom said the reason he continued to stay involved for as long as he has is the kids. He loves working with young people. 2019 will mark the first year that he won’t have an active role with the exhibitors at the Marion County Fair for well over 50 years. He really enjoys the fact he has been able to work with generations of kids from the same family; very specifically he can recall helping with 4 generations of beef exhibitors from one family in Pleasantville.
Tom has made quite an impact on Marion County 4-H. We are thankful for all the years he dedicated to the program and look forward to seeing him as a spectator now that he has passed on his wisdom to those that will follow.