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Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, March 8, 1990

OBITUARY MILTON M. HENDERSON

Milton McMichael HENDERSON was born August 16, 1912, at a farm northwest of Coin, Page County, Iowa. he died at 12:15 a.m. March 5, 1990, at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

He was the son of Arthur James HENDERSON and Maud McMICHAEL HENDERSON. He first attended the Methodist church in Coin, carried in his parents' arms.

He became a member of the Methodist church in Coin at the age of 12, and has been an active Methodist all of his life.

He was one of four brothers - older brother, Charles; younger brothers - James and Bruce, all of whom eventually chose professions reflecting their farm backgrounds.

He attended East Center rural school through the fifth grade and then went to school in Coin where he was graduated from high school in 1919 as salutatorian of his class.

He enrolled at Iowa State College [present-day Iowa State University] in Ames, Iowa in the fall of 1930 and graduated with a degree in agriculture education in 1935.

He became a vocational agriculture instructor in Elliott, Iowa in the summer of 1935 and taught at Elliott two years. Then he moved to Mount Ayr where he was employed to start a new vocational agriculture department. He taught here five years before entering the United States Army in June, 1942. He was discharged from the army in 1946 with the rank of captain.

While serving in Las Vegas, Nevada, he met and married Marion CAHLAN on November 18, 1944.

They returned to Mount Ayr when he was discharged from service in April of 1946 and they have made their home in Mount Ayr since that time. They had four children - Susan, Bruce, David and Patrick, who were recipients of what he had to offer as one who loved youth and encouraged them to be the best possible persons they could become.

On April 16, 1946, HENDERSON accepted the position of agriculture county agent in Ringgold County, a position he held until January 1, 1949. His desire to go into fulltime youth work meant that a position was created - district 4-H agent - and he became the agent in six counties assisting with the 4-H program.

It was once said he knew the name of all the 4-H members in the six counties. This was very close to the truth. In 1960 two additional counties were added so he served eight counties in south central Iowa, including Ringgold.

On January 1, 1966, he was named as a member of the state 4-H youth staff of Iowa State University Extension with the title of assistant 4-H and youth leader. He had responsibilities in the Creston, Council Bluffs and Ottumwa Extension Areas supervising the 4-H and Youth program in 29 counties.

He had additional state 4-H responsibilities such as 25 years as superintendent of the 4-H swine department at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines; head of the State Fair livestock and grain judging contests; dean of delegates at State 4-H Conference; head of the Iowa delegates at the American Royal 4-H conference in Kansas City, Missouri; organizer of th 4-H United Fund and of the 4-H Interstate Exchange program.

He continued in that capacity until the summer of 1974. After Christmas, health difficulties encouraged him to resign as a member of the Iowa State University Extension staff.

On June 15, 1974, he accepted the calling as a local pastor at the Mount Ayr United Methodist Larger Parish, working on a parttime basis. This meant that he attended theological school at St. Paul's in Kansas Ctiy where he was the oldest student.

The Mount Ayr Larger Parish included Mount Ayr, Redding, Middle Fork and Blockton United Methodist churches. He was given the assignment of working with the Blockton church although he also preached at the other three churches alternately. He began this new profession at the age of 62.

He retired from the active ministry in 1984 at annual conference after completing 10 years of successful ministry as a local pastor.

He was very active in community affairs - president of the Mount Ayr Country Club; charter member and president of the Mount Ayr Lions Club and served as zone chairman and deputy district governor; member and president of the Mount Ayr Community school board; for 25 years chairman ofthe March of Dimes; was secretary of the Ringgold County Fair Board.

His greatest contribution of time, talent and gifts has been to his church where he gave leadership as a Sunday school teacher and superintendent and all offices of the church.

His professional associates honored him with the National Distinguished Service Award, given by the County Extension Directors Association; a national citation for outstanding service, by the National 4-H and Youth Workers Association; was named as one of the 20 top agriculturalists by Block and Bridle Association.

The Christian Rural Overseas Program and Church World Service cited him for outstanding service to the CWS/CROP program.

The Mount Ayr Men's Bowling Association named him to their "Hall of Fame" for his 19 years as secretary of the men's bowling association and his 25 years conducting youth bowling. He was still doing the latter after he had retired from most other endeavors and after he was afflicted with Parkinson's Disease.

Most recently he was honored by Governor Terry BRANSTAD in 1989 for his contribution to his community as a volunteer.

He belived in getting the most he could out of life and was willing to put much into living in exchange. It made for a very meaningful 77 years.

He is survived by his widow Marion, of Mount Ayr; his sons, Bruce and his wife, Gail, of Atlantic, Iowa, and their sons, Scott of Des Moines and Todd and Brad of Atlantic; David and his wife, Sarah, of Woodbury, Minnesota, and their children, Holly and Jeff, and Patrick of Lexington, Kentucky; his daughter Susan LIDEY and her son, Josh, of Las Vegas, Nevada; a brother, Bruce and his wife, Lucille, of Peoria, Illinois, and two sisters-in-law, Virginia HENDERSON of Des Moines, Iowa, and Marian HENDERSON of Ithaca, New York.

Funeral services were held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 7, 1990, from the United Methodist Church in Mount Ayr, Iowa, conducted by Rev. Jerry AVISE-ROUSE. Music was provided by Mr. and Mrs. Merrill PERRY.

Casketbearers were Lee BRAND, Joe ROUTH, Melvin MOE, David STILL, Ron LANDPHAIR, Kelly ANDERSON, Cecil DOLECHECK and John OVERHOLTZER. Honorary pallbearers were Ralph LONG, Orville POORE, Ralph JOHNSON, and Dr. Charles W. LAWHEAD. Burial was in Rose Hill Cemetery at Mount Ayr, Iowa.

NOTE: Milton was inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame during the Iowa 4-H Centennial Birthday Bash, August 18, 2002 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, 4-H Exhibit Building, Des Moines, Iowa.

Truly Milt HENDERSON lived the 4-H motto, "To Make The Best Better." His life was the 4-H pledge brought to life and lived from day-to-day through this remarkable man's lifetime. - One of Milt's 4-H kids

I pledge my head to clearer thinking
My heart to greater loyalty
My hands to larger service
and my health to better living
for my club, my community, my country and my world.

Submission by Mike Avitt, May of 2010

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