Posted on August 21, 2018 at 4:12 PM by Global Reach
Janis Stone joined 4-H as a 10 years-old in Illinois in 1948. Her first sewing project was a cotton print skirt and scarf. Her sewing projects were exhibited at Illinois State Fair three years in the 1950s. Another 4-H highlight was attending 4-H Leadership Camp. These details were as important when she applied to be a Textiles and Clothing State Specialist at Iowa State University, as her 1978 Ph.D. from University of Illinois.
Jan’s first day on the job at ISU was at the 1979 Iowa State Fair. Two programs, with 4-H’ers modeling home sewn garments in Fashion Revue, and purchased outfits in Clothing Selection. 4-H’ers first modeled on the Tea Room Stage of the then downtown Younkers Store, and ended with a Show at the State Fair 4-H Exhibit Building. Through the years Jan worked on revising these events that have continued to change since her 2003 retirement. Jan depended on volunteers such as Ruth Wagner, Kathy Parsons, Eleanor Meyerhoff and senior 4-H’ers to help organize and write the narratives for the respective shows which included the county 4-H girls and boys selected to participate.
Jan’s first big writing challenge at ISU was to help update 4-H Clothing Project materials to include design, textiles, decision-making, clothing care and grooming in addition to sewing construction. After state-wide consultation, a pilot study, many drafts, and polishing off with line art and editing by ISU Communications Staff these materials were printed; then updated as needed. Jan also scripted videos, slide sets and other resources for County 4-H staff and volunteers use. She helped with Iowa State Fair 4-H exhibit classes, judges training, and award selection. Near retirement, Jan worked with colleagues at Cornell University in NY on regional 4-H clothing project guides.
Jan wrote many Extension and journal publications and gave national and international presentations on textiles, pesticide and sun safety, that were based on her 20-year membership on the USDA NC-170 Regional Research Committee. Big crowds came to the ISU Farm Progress Show Tent to participate in displays on protective gloves, sun-safe hats, and shady t-shirts, in cooperation with central Iowa dermatologists, who provided skin cancer screening.
In 1989-91, Jan served on ISU Faculty Senate. She was on the I-CASH (Iowa Center for Agricultural Safety and Health) Committee for several years. Jan’s awards included the Regent’s Award in 1995, the ISU Foundation Award for Extension Achievement in 1998, the Bobbin Magazine Educator of the Year Award in 1999, and the Iowa Center for Agricultural Safety and Health Hall of Fame Award in 2005.
The book Jan co-authored with her husband, Dr. Kenneth Stone, My Darling Wife: Letters from Vietnam 1962-63 and 66-67, was published in 2007 based on the letters Ken wrote to her during the war. They spend winters in Texas, near their two sons and five grandchildren. Now Jan enjoys friends, family events, visiting their Illinois Farm, writing poetry, sewing quilt tops, reading, and traveling. Jan belongs to Collegiate United Methodist Church in Ames, AAUW, the Iowa Poetry Association, the Art Museum of South Texas and the Art Center in Corpus Christi, TX.
Jan recalls a poem she learned as a teen at 4-H Leadership Camp: “Two looked out from prison bars, one saw dirt, the other stars.” Life is good if one keeps looking for stars!