The local farm and 4-H communities will sorely miss Gary Quallen, said friends and associates following his death Sunday at the age of 69.
Quallen, a third-generation farmer, was recognized as a Clinton County Friend of 4-H in 2010 and also selected as the Fair Honoree by the Clinton County Agricultural Society (Senior Fair Board) in 2008.
Jim Wilson, president of the 4-H Committee, said when it comes to the purpose of 4-H, “Gary got it. He understood why we do what we do.”
Gary would stand firm on certain things, said Wilson.
“If it didn’t benefit our youth, he wasn’t for it. He was a stalwart for what was best for our youth,” Wilson stated.
Gary and his wife Georgann have been key in the 28-year-old dairy leasing program in Clinton County. Gary would loan his own dairy cattle to 4-H and FFA youth as fair projects, and, said Wilson, also gave them an education to be successful in the project.
“This is a testament to his character. These cattle were how he made a living, and he would loan them to young people to make sure they would have an opportunity,” Wilson said.
4-H volunteer Debbie Pratt said Gary was very concerned that whatever 4-H did, that it be available to as many people as possible to participate so that “we are serving all areas of the community.”
Tracie Montague, the Extension educator for 4-H youth development, said Gary provided strong leadership for the 4-H program for more than 38 years.
“The impact he’s made on the [4-H] program can’t be measured. Everything he worked for in the 4-H program was for the kids. Gary was truly the top Clover. You can’t find a more passionate and caring 4-H volunteer,” she said.
Clinton County Agricultural Society President Scot Gerber described Gary as “a pillar” of the 4-H Committee.
“It hurts. It’s hard to lose somebody like that; it’s going to be a tough fair in the cattle barn. He was always there,” Gerber said.
Longtime fair supporter Martin Woodruff said Gary was a firm believer in the “4-H commitment and program in the county.”
Pratt said Gary had a “great smile and personality and laugh you can only recognize as Gary. He will definitely be missed as a friend, and a loyal community member.”
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.