Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lucille Koontz, Davidson County

When Lucille Koontz joined Welcome ECA Club in Davidson County in 1939, the club’s theme was “Work, Save and Serve.” She remembers creating and maintaining a first aid room at Welcome School that provided linens, blankets and supplies. When a public library branch was opened in Welcome in 1955, the club supported story hours for children and paid rental on space for the library. They also provided band uniforms for the high school and sent boys and girls to 4-H camp every year. She is still an active member at the age of 92. 
Not surprisingly held many offices, including president of her club and the  county’s Extension Homemakers Council. She was also elected as a delegate to attend a UN Study Forum in 1956, served as NC State Health Chairman to the 25th annual meeting of ECA in Bangor, Maine, in 1961.  She has represented Davidson County as a district delegate to Witchita, Kansas.  On another occasion Lucille was invited to and visited the White House.
In 1958, a very special position in NC Extension service placed her at the United Nations in New York at a meeting of the National Foundation Association as a spokesman on health issues in North Carolina, sharing the platform with Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin D Roosevelt.  Other dignitaries of note at that session were Dr. Jonas Salk and Helen Hayes.
Her service extended beyond Extension. She served on the committee for the formation of the Davidson County Community College when it was organized in 1963, chaired the campaign for funds for the Warm Springs Foundation which later became the March of Dimes, and opened her home to farm tours.
The focus on these clubs was to help farm women improve the life of families in areas of health, housing, housekeeping, nutrition, canning and food preparation. Management and optimal use of “butter and eggs” money was stressed by the agent. Opportunity was provided for the farm family to make their own mattresses of cotton for family beds to replace feathers and straw as filler. Agents provided tips in areas of need:  utilizing scarce commodities during war times, maintaining good health and providing nutritious meals for the family. Members participated in dress reviews, contests at local club and county levels. Lucille won first place in 1955 with a two-piece best dress category, and a one-piece best dress of nylon, and a one-piece best dress of pongee.  Members regularly competed in reading, with Lucille having the most book certificates in 1956. Lucille has received awards and recognitions.  In 1964, she was recipient of the A&P Leadership Achievement Award.
Lucille has been very active and prominent in the Welcome Garden Club with plantings surrounding their home to witness this, and she is still a faithful volunteer every year in the Horticulture exhibit at the Davidson County Fair.
--Submitted by the Davidson County Extension Center, NC Cooperative Extension Service

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