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Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension



1979 Hall of Fame 

Beatrice Cleveland

Bea Cleveland's greatest contribution to the Ohio 4-H program has been time to improve the lives of boys and girls, to inspire volunteer leaders and to ensure 4-H opportunities for future generations. From 1945, when she worked as a Home Demonstration Agent in Madison County, through her career as Associate State 4-H Leader, to 1979 as a volunteer fundraiser for the Ohio 4-H Foundation, she has devoted her time and talents to 4-H around the world. 

Since May of 1977, Bea has traveled thousands of miles across Ohio in her effort to raise funds for the Ohio 4-H Foundation fund. It is a tribute to her remarkable personality and enthusiasm that she far exceeded her goal of $1 million. Many have said that no one in the State of Ohio, other then Bea Cleveland, could have raised so much money in such a short time for Ohio 4-H. She raised nearly $1.5 million! Bea has also been active in the International 4-H Youth Exchange Program since its inception in 1948. Never officially off duty, Bea has been a friend and confidante to IFYE delegates to and from Ohio for over 30 years. Bea's work has strengthened 4-H and it has been enriched by her presence throughout. 

Lewis Conger

Lewis Conger dedicated a lifetime of service to 4-H Camp Conger, a camp started by his parents in 1925. He represents the second generation of his family to provide a site free of charge for 4-H camping. He carries on a family tradition of service by donating materials, scheduling groups, and providing labor and equipment for the camp's operation. 

Through the Congers' efforts and caring, thousands of young people from Huron, Ottawa, and Wyandot Counties have enjoyed the beauty of 4-H Camp Conger. Along with youth from other organizations, they have had their lives enriched through learning about Ohio's Indian heritage and have developed a strong understanding of the importance of conservation and management of natural resources. Conger's family still continues its support of the camp. They have donated thousands of hours as well as thousands of dollars to benefit Ohio youth.

Edna Hupp

Urban children have long been of concern to Edna Hupp. IC 1969, she pioneered the urban 4-H program with 13 youngsters in Springfield, Ohio. While working with low income youth, Mrs. Hupp generated in them a strong desire to succeed and helped them to develop positive self-concepts. Serving for 27 years as a 4-H advisor and clothing project leader, Edna is a past president of the 4-H Extension and 4-H Expansion and Review committees. She was instrumental in organizing the Clark County Fashion Board and served as president of the 4-H Clothing Committee. She also served four years on the Washington Court House Area 4-H Committee and was a member of the Extension Support Committee and the Bicentennial Planning Committee. One of Ohio's 4-H Alumna, in 1967, Edna initiated the formation of the Clark County 4-H Alumni Club. 

One of Edna's co-workers in 4-H recently commented, "You can travel throughout the State of Ohio and you will not be able to find a person so dedicated to 4-H as Edna Hupp." Edna is truly a compassionate person who cares for youth. 

Harry Steiner

Harry Steiner did not begin working with the Ohio 4-H Program until he was 62 years old. But during his 22 years of service, he influenced the lives of many boys and girls. A specialist in 4-H electricity and woodworking projects, Harry has always inspired youth and encouraged them to come to his Hardin County home workshop for help and instruction. He enjoys working with young people, especially on a one-to-one basis, and has often reached out far beyond local club meetings. Greatly respected in his community, Harry is looked up to for the personal guidance and assistance he gives boys and girls. His leadership is recognized by adults and young people alike. Beyond 4-H, he has been a member of the local school board. 

He continues contributing regularly and freely to the Ohio 4-H Foundation and supports the Hardin County Fair with awards to encourage participation. Harry believes in 4-H and youth.


1978 Hall of Fame 

Gus DeYoung

Gus Deyoung's interest in 4-H began in 1923 when he became a 4-H member. His very first project was White Leghorn chickens.  In 1948, he started a new 4-H club and served as advisor for thirty years. He also started a Girls Electricity Club, because he saw a need for it!

Gus has served on numerous committees and groups within Extension. He served eight years on the Extension Advisory Committee, formed the Portage County Saddle Horse Committee, helped staff the Ohio 4-H Club Congress, and was a delegate to the 1964 Leaders Forum in Washington D.C.. At the age of 74, Gus spent 112 hours building a 4-H office at the Fair Grounds. Gus continued to remain active in 4-H, even after he retired as an advisor. He also served as the Superintendent of 4-H at the Randolph Fair. 

Margaret Barker Meredith

Margaret Meredith joined the Putnam County Food 4-H Club as a student in 1919. In 1920 and 1921, she won trips to the Ohio 4-H Club Week at The Ohio State University as the Washington County 4-H Food Project Winner. The following year, the Oak Grove Girls 4-H Cub was organized, and she became the leader. From that point on, she dedicated herself to young people through her work as a 4-H advisor for both the Oak Grove Girls and the Washington County 4-H Personality Club.

Margaret was also active as an officer for the Washington County 4-H Council and the State Advisory Committee. Additionally, she served on the State 4-H Nutrition Project Committee, which helped to develop new literature. In 1936, she worked as a 4-H Assistant in Jackson County and from 1937 through 1939 was a 4-H Assistant in Monroe County .

Beyond 4-H, Margaret became involved in other Extension activities. She participated for more than 25 years as a member of the Washington County Extension Advisory Committee, during which time she served as both Chairwoman and Secretary. She was instrumental in the development of 4-H Camp Hervida in Washington County in 1940 and held a position on the Board of Directors until 1976.  The 4-H Program has greatly benefited from Margaret Meredith's passion and hard work.

William H. “Billy” Palmer

It has been said that A.B. Graham had the dream of 4-H, but Billy Palmer made it work and live in the hearts and minds of people. William H."Billy" Palmer served as State Leader for 4-H in Ohio from March 1, 1916 until March 31, 1951. However, even after retirement, he continued to be involved in 4-H.

When he was appointed State 4-H Leader, he moved rapidly to expand the number of projects offered to boys and girls. He enlarged the scope of literature for 4-H members and advisors, initiated programs to provide training in teaching methods for officers and advisors, and encouraged the development of county 4-H club committees to serve in an advisory capacity to county agents. His leadership inspired the initiation of 4-H camping programs, and he was the moving force behind the establishment of Camp Ohio, the state 4-H Camp.

John E. Wise

In the early 1920's, John Wise recognized the importance of private support for Ohio's 4-H program. Consequently, as vice president of the Union Bank of Bellevue, he offered financial assistance and incentive awards to 4-H Clubs in Huron County. He was also local chairman for two 4-H Camp fund drives and for the Ohio 4-H Foundation fund drive in Huron County. His generous support continued for nearly 45 years while he served as president of two banks, the Willard United Bank and the Citizen's National Bank of Norwalk. He was also active in promoting and sponsoring the annual Kiwanis Grade "A" Banquet for 4-H members, advisors, and parents. The banquet is one of the outstanding recognition programs in Huron County, involving some 700-900 4-H members, parents, and advisors each year.

In addition to his work in 4-H, he served as a member of Huron County Extension Advisory Committee for 20 years and was also very active in his community. At every point in career, John sought to help young people reach their greatest potential. With his leadership, he involved his fellow citizens in the support of 4-H.


1977 Hall of Fame 

Albert Belmont “A. B.” Graham

On January 15, 1902, 33-year old Albert Belmont Graham, then Superintendent of Springfield Township Schools, met with a group of 81 grade school students to start the first Boys and Girls Agricultural Club. It was his insight that started the movement that became known as 4-H. 


Blanche Harley Bickle

Blanche Bickle was eight years old when she became a member of the beginning Boys and Girls Agricultural Club. The experience meant a great deal, especially over the years as she watched it progress in to today's 4-H program.



Roy Dickerson

Roy Dickerson was raised in Springfield and attended Locust Grove School where he met A.B. Graham. Roy's interactions with Graham and the beginning Boys and Girls Agricultural Club is probably why he so enjoyed caring for trees and producing fruit. He lived in Springfield most of his life.


Jennie Webster Irie 

Jennie Webster Irie was probably the charter member who was most involved with Ohio 4-H following its 75th anniversary in 1977. She claimed to be the youngest child in the Charter Club. She said she was too young to be invited by Graham, but tagged along with her relatives since she had to be with them after school; So Graham let her join. Jennie married William Irie, who was also a charter member. However, it was only after many years of marriage that they discovered that they were both members of the founding club! Of the 103 members of the first club, Mrs. Jennie Irie was the last surviving charter member, at the age of 100.

Mildred Butler Neff

Mildred Neff felt very fortunate to be a member of Graham's first club. The opportunity gave her the chance to later become involved in many programs and share the news about 4-H with others.



Theodore Spears, Senior

At age eight, Theodore Spears joined the first Boys and Girls Agricultural Club. Through the teaching of the club's advisor, A.B. Graham, he experienced the dignity of farming and a love for the beauty of nature.