OSU college honors two from Polk County as 2007 Diamond Pioneers

October 19, 2007

CORVALLIS, Ore. - W. L. Andersen, of Independence, and James D. Wilson, of Monmouth, were honored as 2007 Diamond Pioneers Wednesday, October 17th, in Corvallis by the Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences.

They are two of the 38 men and women added to the college’s Diamond Pioneer Agricultural Achievement Registry that celebrates achievements in agriculture and related fields and community service by those 74 and older. The registry is now in its 24th year.

After World War II, W.L. Andersen enrolled at OSU and also took flying lessons to earn his private pilot’s license. After graduating, he joined the Douglas County Extension staff for two years before farming in the Elkton area from 1952 to 1956/ Then he rejoined the OSU Extension Service as Extension agent in Curry County, where he remained until 1966.

Anderson’s interest in international Extension work took him to South Vietnam from 1967 to 1969, to Turkey from 1971 to 1976 and to Tunisia from 1981 to 1983. In between these assignments, he shared his knowledge with OSU students enrolled in Extension methods and International Extension classes. After his stint in Tunisia, Andersen became a part of the Extension community development program until his retirement in 1984.

His interest in aviation continues today. In 2006, Anderson received the Wright Bros. “Master Pilot” award for more than 50 years without an accident or reportable incident to the Federal Aviation Administration.

James L.Wilson, who was raised in the Arlie area, began farming when he purchased the former Riley Matheny property. He restored it after government ownership from 1942 to 1946. He started his sheep production business in 1952. His flock reached 200 Romney and crossbreed ewes in the 1960s before the operation ended about a decade later.

His interest in cattle began when he brought the first Black Angus to his farm in 1958. His herd grew to about 70 registered cow-calf pairs plus 15 replacement heifers as well as bulls and steers sold to 4-H members. He still runs a reduced-sized herd.

At the same time, Wilson was working off the farm in Institutional Research and Development at OSU in Corvallis, retiring from that position in 1997. He served on the Tri-county and Mid-Willamette Extension beef advisory committee for 20 years and was a member of the Mid-Willamette Beef Field Day committee from 1986 to 2000.

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; Henry Turk, Grants Pass; John Leffel, Hillsboro.

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; Everett Seagoe, Merlin.

Tom Uriu, Ontario; Thomas Bedell and Gene 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