COLUMBIA, Mo. – A $60,000 endowment from Missouri 4-H supporters Nellie Mabel Jones Turner of St. Joseph and her children, Ed Turner and Joan Hickman, will provide perpetual support for a Missouri 4-H delegation to the National 4-H Conference.
When 4-H history was being made, Nellie and her family were there. In 1927 Nellie attended the first National 4-H Conference—then called 4-H Club Camp—and took part in adopting the 4-H pledge and motto. Her son, Ed Turner of Chillicothe, presided over the dedication ceremony of the National 4-H Center near Washington, D.C. in 1959. Ed’s sister, Joan Hickman of St. Joseph, was present at the dedication of the national center’s courtyard statue. The Turner family’s commitment to 4-H led them to fund the endowment.
“We know that young people participate more readily when they have a voice in how the program goes. It’s one of the basic tenets of 4-H, and on a national level, this is where that occurs,” Joan Hickman said.
Through the Turner endowment, three delegates will represent Missouri at the annual conference.
“It goes without saying that 4-H was very instrumental in shaping my life,” Ed Turner said. “Our mother was always very insistent that we take advantage of the many opportunities 4-H provided. Those lessons learned at a very young age have served me very well over the years. We hope this endowment will further enhance the 4-H learning experience for other young people.”
“Missouri has an important place in national 4-H, and we are committed to ensuring that our state sends delegates to the conference every year,” said Cheryl Reams, executive director of the Missouri 4-H Foundation. “The Turner family has made this possible through their generous gift.”
Nellie Turner was born Nov. 24, 1911 at Glen Oaks Farm near Bendena, Kan., to Edwin and Agnes Jones. Her family moved to the St. Joseph area in 1919. In 1933, Nellie earned bachelor’s degrees in education and home economics from the University of Missouri. Following graduation, she taught high school home economics and science courses in Chilhowee and New Hampton, Mo. In 1936 she married Edison “Cap” Turner. They lived in Chilhowee until Cap’s death in 1941, when she returned to St. Joseph to live with family and raise her two children, Ed and Joan. She died in 2010 at the age of 98.
For more than 60 years, the Missouri 4-H Foundation has secured and managed funding for Missouri 4-H state programs, scholarships, community service projects and volunteer training.