Indiana 4-H Hall of Fame

The Indiana 4-H Hall of Fame was established in 2009 to honor individuals who have made significant contributions statewide to the Indiana 4-H Youth Development Program. The honor is given on an occasional basis as outstanding candidates are identified.

In 2009, Mary Frances Smith became the inaugural member of the Indiana 4-H Hall of Fame. Other recipients are:

  • Eric A. Holm, 2010
  • Annabel J. Rupel, 2011
  • Gordon Jones, 2012

2009 Inductee | Mary Frances Smith :: 1910-2007

Mary Frances Smith was involved with Indiana 4-H for more than 75 years. She was active in 4-H clubs as a youth and later served as a club leader. Mary Frances joined the State 4-H Staff at Purdue on July 1, 1950, after having taught school for 16 years.

She retired from the state staff in September 1976, but continued to maintain her keen interest in 4-H helping in many capacities after her retirement. Mary Frances was active in the establishment of the Indiana 4-H Foundation and the Hoosier 4-H Leadership Center. As a state staff member, she worked with State Junior Leader training conferences and 4-H Round-up for more than 20 years. She also worked tirelessly to organize and conduct 4-H adult volunteer training programs, judges’ clinics, and other workshops. She provided leadership for statewide 4-H programs such as Indiana State Fair exhibits, judging and demonstrations, and 4-H band and chorus. For many years, she was involved in the National 4-H Congress at Chicago.

Mary Frances was the author of numerous 4-H publications and journal articles as well as the Indiana 4-H History Book, 4-H in Indiana: 1904-1990. In 1974, she became the first woman on the Indiana 4-H staff promoted to the rank of full professor at Purdue University. She has received numerous honors and recognition for her work with 4-H youth. We are truly grateful for the contributions Mary Frances Smith made to the Indiana 4-H program.

A 4-H scholarship has been created at Purdue University to keep the memory of Mary Frances alive forever. If you are interested in contributing to this scholarship, please contact the Foundation.

2010 Inductee | Eric A. Holm :: 1907 – 1997

The late Eric Holm, formerly of Tippecanoe County, was formally inducted into the Indiana 4-H Hall of Fame at the 2010 Indiana 4-H Congress at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Holm’s career in Indiana 4-H, the largest youth development organization in the state, spanned more than 30 years and continues to have a lasting positive influence on Indiana 4-H to this day. Once recognized with the first Hoosier Hero Award for his involvement in improving Indiana life and commitment to Indiana values, Holm’s dedication to 4-H lasted even into his retirement, wherein he and his wife donated their farm to Purdue University.

Marjorie Beasley, one of Holm’s children who nominated him for the Hall of Fame, says that her father “was a living example of the 4-H pledge. His love of agriculture and education in the Hoosier state motivated him to serve Indiana 4-H intelligently, loyally, and with unceasing energy throughout his life.”

Many of Holm’s contributions to Indiana 4-H are still present today. For example, as the Tippecanoe county 4-H director, Holm was able to reveal new 4-H exhibit facilities at the Tippecanoe County fairgrounds in 1938.

Holm played a central role in many significant 4-H programs, as well. Holm founded the Purdue Collegiate 4-H Club, the Purdue University Extension Specialist Association, and the local 4-H committee system and also played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Horse and Pony, Dog Obedience, and Junior Leadership programs in the state. These programs are still thriving throughout Indiana today.

The contribution that Holm will perhaps be most remembered for is the part he played in founding the Indiana International 4-H Youth Exchange program (IFYE), the IFYE Alumni Association, and the IFYE Host Family Organization. The IFYE website states that the goal of the program is that 4-H alumni and other young adults live who with host families in other countries are able to, “increase global awareness, develop independent study interests, and improve language skills.” Holm’s determination to bring IFYE to Indiana stemmed from his belief that it was essential for Hoosiers to learn about other cultures and ways of life.

Holm’s unwavering dedication to 4-H was not something that could be kept to himself. Beasley recalls that her father spent many evenings drafting letters to individuals across Indiana urging them to support 4-H work throughout the state. Beasley calls her father’s enthusiasm for 4-H “infectious.”

In 2010, the Eric A. Holm Endowment for Indiana International 4-H was established in Holm’s honor. If you are interested in contributing to this endowment, please contact the Foundation.

2011 Inductee | Annabel J. Rupel

Ms. Annabel Rupel joined the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service in 1951, 10 years after graduating with a degree in Home Economics from Manchester College. In the sixties, she became an Extension Specialist for 4-H Youth in the state 4-H office. As a member of the state 4-H staff, Rupel directed the clothing, foods, and food preservation project areas. Additionally, she headed the state dress revue competition which culminated each year with the State Fair Fashion Revue.

In the late 70s and early 80s, Rupel served as the coordinator of Indiana’s International 4-H Youth Exchange (IFYE) program. Under Rupel’s leadership, the IFYE program flourished in Indiana. She developed a sophisticated interview process for IFYE delegates and then guided each selected delegate through fundraising and marketing programs as well as travel orientation. Rupel was involved with exchanges and programs in Japan, Poland, England, The Netherlands, Sweden, USSR, and Switzerland. Additionally, in 1974, she took a sabbatical to teach in Nigeria for nine months.

During her career, Rupel was also the adviser to the Purdue Collegiate 4-H Club and the State 4-H Key Club Council. In her three decades of work with Extension, she wrote more than 20 4-H project manuals and brochures. Rupel also had a passion for training Extension staff.

After her retirement, Ms. Rupel remained active in international work as she continued to travel abroad. She also has been an active volunteer in the West Lafayette and North Manchester areas with international events and studies. Ms. Rupel will be honored at a reception at the State Fair on August 13 and will be formally inducted into the Indiana 4-H Hall of Fame at the 2011 Indiana 4-H Congress on November 5.

2012 Inductee | Gordon Jones

Gordon Jones never met a stranger. For 28 years, he used his gregarious personality to its fullest advantage to engage 4-H youth, volunteers and fellow staff members as a Recreation Specialist. Gordon began his career with 4-H as an Assistant County Agent in Marion County in 1949. In 1951 he accepted a position with the 4-H Department at Purdue University as an Extension Specialist. Gordon was also a Purdue University alumnus. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1949 and a Master of Science degree in Recreation in 1967.

Gordon was instrumental in developing Share-the-Fun activities at every level. He also created a recreation program known as the “Seven S’s of Recreation,” a widely used resource in the U.S. and Canada that he created for Rural youth Clubs of Indiana. As a nationally renowned recreation educator, Gordon was invited to administer his signature programs at universities across the country and he led recreational activities at the National 4-H Dairy Conference annually for more than twenty years.

Gordon was also heavily involved in the Rural Youth groups throughout Indiana, assisting them with social and recreational activities and sports contests. He coordinated a trip to Austria for 300 Rural Youth members in 1969. Among the youth visiting Europe was Marcia, one of his three children; his wife Jean also served as a chaperone.

Gordon was an exemplary teacher and leader. While an Extension Specialist, he often scheduled two or three years in advance due to the high demand for his services. His success as an educator was in his ability to communicate with the student. Gordon taught a recreation course in the Purdue Physical Education Department for many years. Indicative of his teaching ability, more students were denied enrollment than could be accommodated.

A few of Gordon’s assignments in the State 4-H Department and Indiana Extension Service were the Hoosier Recreation Workshop, the Wakanda 4-H Leadership Program, the 4-H Share-the-Fun Program, and the Annual 4-H Roundup.

In the West Lafayette community, Gordon was an active leader. He and his wife, Jean, raised their three children, Judy, Marcia and Gary in West Lafayette, Indiana. He was a president of the Harrison Kiwanis Club, chairman of the West Lafayette Park and Recreation Advisory Board, active member of the Tippecanoe Historical Association and annual served the West Lafayette Book Fair. He was also a Cub Scout Leader and Indian Guide in the YMCA youth programs.

Gordon served the Extension Service with great commitment, compassion and much care. In 1971, Gordon received the Indiana Park and Recreation Association’s “Outstanding Service Award.” Other memberships include the American Camping Association, the National Association of Extension Agents — 4-H, Epsilon Sigma Phi, the National Cultural Arts Committee and the Indiana Square Dance Callers Association. His achievements mark a productive and exemplary career that is well worth recognizing as the 2012 Indiana 4-H Hall of Fame Inductee.