By Julie Ann Madden
Each year a past Plymouth County Fair Board member is honored for their years of dedication that helped the Plymouth County Fair prosper and grow.
This year one of Akron’s own was honored posthumously with induction into the Fair’s Hall of Fame.
“Jeff Klemme always had a passion for the fair and agriculture in general,” said Fair Board President Tony Schroeder as he presented the award to Jeff’s widow, Cindy, and their children: Jessica Hughes, Cassie Iseminger and Chance Klemme.
“He grew up helping his dad on the family farm and in 1981, he and his wife, Cindy, continued farming and raising livestock on their farm,” Schroeder told the crowd gathered in Pioneer Village for the Hall of Fame presentations and royalty coronation.
“Jeff’s favorite time of year was the Plymouth County Fair,” said Schroeder. “His three children were active members, also sharing their father’s love of the fair and livestock and agriculture. They were all very active in the sheep project but also had some beef, poultry, swine and static exhibits.”
“While helping his children with their 4-H projects, Jeff also volunteered his time on the Plymouth County Fair Board for 11 years,” he said. “He got to know many FFA members and 4-H’ers and was always willing to give them a helping hand or just joke with them. He was one of those board members who worked closely with the Extension staff and always looked out for the best interest of the youth.”
“He spent a lot of time assisting on the poultry and sheep departments and was ultimately named Sheep Superintendent,” said Schroeder. “Jeff’s dedication for helping youth didn’t just stop at the fair, he was one of the individuals that helped start the FFA Alumni group in his community.”
“Jeff made many lifelong friends through the Plymouth County 4-H and FFA programs and the Fair Board,” he said. “He was diagnosed with a rare disease that would take his life all too soon. Little did we know that the 2010 Plymouth County Fair, the fair that he loved so much, would be his last.”
“Jeff’s passion, work ethic and personality were one of a kind,” said Schroeder. “It is these qualities that he instilled in many 4-H and FFA youth whose lives he touched in such a positive way.”
“Jeff’s wife, their three children and grandchildren have been left with many great memories and a circle of fair friends to support them and help them continue serving the fair program just as Jeff had for so many years,” he said.
Upon accepting the plaque, Jessica spoke for the family, saying,“He taught us to love life, have faith and enjoy family.”
Also inducted into the Plymouth County Fair Hall of Fame was Jim Lindgren of Kingsley, whose dedication almost caused him to miss the presentation as he was helping his grandchildren show their bucket calves.