Josephine County men honored as 2007 OSU Diamond Pioneers

October 19, 2007

CORVALLIS, Ore. - A veteran 4-H leader and a major gladiola bulb grower, both from Josephine County are among the 38 men and women who were honored as 2007 Diamond Pioneers Wednesday, October 17 by the Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences.

Everett Seagoe, of Merlin, and Henry Turk, of Grants Pass, will be added to the college’s Diamond Pioneer Agricultural Achievement Registry at a luncheon hosted by Dean of Agriculture Thayne Dutson.

The registry, in its 24th year, honors the achievements of those 75 and older in agriculture and related fields and their communities. Nominations for the registry come from OSU faculty and staff, agricultural organizations, family members and others. Seagoe and Turk were nominated by the OSU Josephine County Extension office.

Seagoe has been an active 4-H leader for 34 years, assisting with community service projects and conducting workshops for 4-H members about sheep and record books. His work with sheep started when a daughter took a bummer lamb to raise. He and his family raised sheep commercially for 15 years and then continued to raise lambs for county 4-H members until 1990. He and his wife own and manage 20-acres of forestland.

Seagoe is a member of the Josephine County Young Farmers Organization that conducts the Junior Livestock show and raises funds for 4-H and FFA programs. He served as master of the Merlin Grange for many years.

Seagoe, a member of the Oregon 4-H Hall of Fame, received the Josephine County Community Service award for his 30 years as a 4-H leader.

Turk began growing gladiolas when he was 15 because he “liked to grow flowers.” After military service, he returned to Josephine County and his gladiola operation in 1946, growing the business into a national and international distributor.

He was recognized for growing the “best whites” by the Cut Flowers Association. He was shipping more than 20 million bulbs annually in a business that employed 125 people at its peak. In 1998, he retired for health reasons.

Turk was one of the growers that made Josephine County a major center for gladiola bulb production in the 1950s. Grants Pass annually hosted a two-day festival featuring floral displays and a parade with floats covered in gladiola blossoms.

For many years, Turk was a supporter of the Josephine County Junior Livestock, purchasing animals and donating the meat to the Shriners Hospital in Portland.

Others to be honored as 2007 Diamond Pioneers are Thomas Allen, Jr., Larry Boersma, Kenton Chambers, Robert L. Stebbins, Benno Warkentin, J. Lowell Young and Tom Zinn, all of Corvallis; Don Bennett and Doug Bennett, Echo; John Leffel, Hillsboro.

W. L. Andersen, Independence; Doug and Janie Tippett, Joseph; Cleve and Ellie Dumdi, Junction City; Frank King and Eddie Meeker, Klamath Falls; Arleigh Isley, LaGrande; Louise Grothe and Neil (C.J.) Taylor, Lakeview; Don Denman, Medford; James D. Wilson, Monmouth.

Tom Uriu, Ontario; Thomas Bedell and Gerne Newcomb, Philomath; William and Donna McCormack, Prineville; Robert Huckfeldt, Redmond; Betty Jo Smith, Shedd; Lawrence Fisher, Sublimity; Art and Marjorie Van Gilder, Wasco; Bill Bennett, Connell, Washington; Fred Hagelstein, Vancouver, Washington; Ellington Peek, Cottonwood, California; and William Kittredge, Missoula, Montana.

Author: Len Calvert
Source: Loretta Austin