Goodhue Gesundheit 4-H Club Members Share Memories


Former and current members and leaders celebrated the 90th Birthday of the Goodhue Gesundheits 4-H club with a potluck picnic at Rosie Park on Sunday, July 24th.  Originating in 1931, the club is actually 91-years-old but due to Covid and other commitments the party was postponed until now.  The event coincided with the open house at the Goodhue Area Historical Society Museum. 

The food was plentiful at the potluck which drew about 65 people who were delighted to see old 4-H friends for the first time in years.  On display was one of two 1976 Bicentennial quilts with squares representing each of the 50 states. The squares were given to member families who embroidered the shape and some information about the states.  Lois Schrimpf and other leaders then created the quilts.  One was donated to the Lion’s Club and the other was used in a fund-raising raffle and will now be donated to the Goodhue Museum.

The museum volunteered to display a few former county fair exhibits and member records provided by Wesley and William Ryan, Caitlyn and Ashley Strusz, and Hallie, Bailie and Cody Roschen. Will Hadler brought the club banner that he designed and Lanny Reese parked the three John Deere tractors he restored and won state fair trips with on the grounds outside the museum. 

Lanny was the youngest of three generations of the Reese family attending the celebration.  His grandfather, 95-year-old Donald Reese, started in 4-H around 1936 and remembers that his first project was corn.  Donald and his wife, Lila, recalled the busy years when all eight of their children, including Lanny’s dad, Danny, were in 4-H.   Lila said one year the family exhibited over 30 projects at the county fair including cattle, rabbits, sewing, cooking, electric, and    woodworking.

Those attending were encouraged to write down a favorite 4-H memory.  Current leader and event organizer, Shelly Strusz read the collection which included her own memories of her girls getting projects done the morning of the fair, or on the way to the fair, and the struggle to get them to do their 4-H project records.  Later, when they were seniors and needing to fill out college and scholarship applications, they realized how handy those records were.  Another special memory for her was in 2009 when Ashley and Caitlyn were picking out market chickens to bring to the Fair.  The birds were a small 6-7 pounds.  They debated even taking them but decided, “What the heck, why not?  Who cares if we get Red ribbons”.  They got to the show and the judge picked Ashley’s pen as Grand Champion and Caitlyn’s as Reserve. They were in shock and received loud cheers and many congratulations.

Ann (Huneke) Buck recalled that 11 years ago there was an 80th celebration spearheaded by Nancy Hinrichs.  The Club had t-shirts made that said “Having Fun Since 1931” and Edla Bodelson, an early member was there. Ann also remembers making many white cupcakes trying to get some that didn’t have tunnels.  She said it never happened and she got a white ribbon.  “I had 6 brothers that ate many sweets. Even they couldn’t eat them all and some got moldy. I never took a baking project to the fair again.”

Others who shared memories were:

  • Nita Gadient – Project Leader for Knitting
  • Sara (Gadient) Jennings– Keeping records straight for Clothing project.  Summer trip to Nebraska and stayed with a family.
  • Anonymous--Remembering trips to other States. At that time it was the Interstate Exchange now it is called the Green Travelers
  • Diane Siefert Bergman – Oldest of 4. Never been away from home (I was 12 or 13) and went to the State Fair. Can’t remember why I went or what I took. Was very homesick. Never got to go to camp.  Favorite project was sewing.  Remember making cupcakes and getting tunnels!
  • Joan Zemke – When Jeff and Jerry put Bluing in the water to make their calves and cows’ tails whiter, the white show shirts turned spotted blue!
  • Julia Bolin- Was a 4-H softball coach for a few years.  Lots of Fun and Competition!
  • Beth (Strusz) Brekke – 4-H in the 1970’s.  I tried a lot of project areas from sewing (with Marlys Hinrichs), needlework (with Nita Gadient), and foods (with Lois Schrimpf) but of course, Dairy was my main interest.  In those days, you could stay overnight in the barns the night before your show.  It was dark in there and I ended up stepping on a pitchfork which caused it to spring up and hit me in the face. In spite of that, I still work with 4-H dairy kids and their animals.
  • Cassandra Hinsch – My second year up at the State Fair we took someones dairy heifer and hid it because the kid was not wanting to work. Also, waking up late at the State Fair and Running to the Barns.
  • Angela (Mancilman) Fredricks – My first 4-H memories are of my first demonstration on “How to Make Ants on a Log”.  I also remember getting sick before my first sheep show because I was so nervous.  Our sheep always got out during the night so they were always in a random pen the next day.

If you’d like to make your own memories as a Goodhue Gesundheit 4-H member, contact Shelly Strusz at 651-380-9993.


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