County’s 4-H and Ag Hall of Fame ads four new members

Farmer, Gamble, Irwins inducted Nov. 3

  • Howard Farmer was inducted into the 4-H and Agriculture Hall of Fame. He was joined by his family, along with Larry Foster who presented the tribute to Howard.

  • David and Carolyn Irwin were inducted into the 4-H & Agriculture Hall of Fame during the luncheon held earlier this month. Their daughter Anne Buhl presented the tribute.

  • John Gamble was inducted into the Anderson County 4-H and Ag Hall of Fame. He was joined by his family. His tribute was presented by his son-in-law Lydell Meier.

Howard Farmer, John Gamble, David Irwin and Carolyn Irwin are the newest members of the Anderson County 4-H and Ag Hall of Fame.

They were inducted during a ceremony and luncheon at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, at the Junior Achievement Building in Clinton.

The award was established to honor and preserve the legacy of the men and women who have provided outstanding leadership and service to Anderson County in the areas of agriculture and 4-H youth development.

Farmer started in 4-H as an eighth-grader more than 70 years ago, and has been contributing to community and youth development ever since.

He was a charter member of the Tennessee 4-H Honor Club in Anderson County, a Tennessee 4-H All Star, a delegate to Tennessee 4-H Congress, and a delegate to Tennessee 4-H Roundup, among many other 4-H honors.

Farmer taught school in Anderson County from 1964 to 1995, first at Clinton High School and then at Norris High School. He said he loved teaching then and still teaches through his work with the Anderson County Fair.

Recently honored for 70 years of participation in the fair—first as a youth exhibitor and then as a volunteer—Farmer said he loves crops and sharing what he has learned over his lifetime.

He still works at the fair taking in crops and staffing the antique tractor display.

Now retired, he lives on the same farm he was born on in the Dutch Valley community. Larry Foster presented the recognition for Farmer.

David and Carolyn (Hobbs) Irwin’s lives intersected when he visited the Extension office in 1960 to check on a trip to Muscle Shoals to see fertilizer demonstration at the Experiment Station. David was active with the family farm, which was primarily a dairy farm, but also grew tobacco and vegetables. Carolyn was the UT Extension Agent in Anderson County, a position known then as the Home Economist. Her primary responsibilities were overseeing 4-H clubs in Anderson County. That chance encounter led to blossoming courtship and the two married in 1963. Over the years, David served as a leader in the agricultural community. He was involved in the founding of the Anderson County Co-op in 1959 and served as the president for several years. He served as an agent for Farm Bureau when the insurance agency was first established in Anderson County and served on the Farm Bureau board for 60 years. He also helped establish the Anderson County Soil Conservation District, serving on the board since 1958 and is an ex-officio member for life.

Carolyn worked with many 4-H’ers in her career and helped them excel in county, state and national competitions. During this time, Anderson County had numerous state project winners including Alma Martin, Judy Crosley, Dana Wallace and Alma Gault. Upon the birth of her daughter, Carolyn resigned her position, but has continued to support 4-H in many capacities over the years including serving on the Extension Ag Committee. After Anne started school, Carolyn returned to the work force and taught home economics at Lake City High School, Norris High School and Anderson County High School until she retired in 1990. Their daughter Anne presented the award for David and Carolyn Irwin.

John Gamble is married to Susan Gamble and they have two children, Holly and Ben, along with five grandchildren. John, owns and operates, Holley-Gamble Funeral Home in Clinton and Rocky Top, Tennessee. John has had years of service to Anderson County. He is a charter member and past president of the Clinton Rotary Club; past president of the East Tennessee Angus Association; past president of the Tennessee Angus Association, past president of the Anderson County Fair, member of the Clinton Masonic Lodge #376; and past president of the Greater Knoxville Funeral Directors Association. John is the founder of Gamble Angus Farm, which started in 1985. In 2002 Gamble Angus Farm transitioned into a three-man team with John, his daughter Holley, and son-in-law Lydell Meier. Over the years, Gamble Angus Farm has grown into a nationally recognized seed stock program that has produced North American, National Western and National Junior Angus Show champions year after year. Son-in-law Lydell Meier presented the award for John Gamble.

The co-chairs for the event were Bear Stephenson, a 1966 national poultry winner and Joe Hall, who served as the UT Agricultural Extension Agent in Anderson County for 42 years. County 4-H Ambassadors hosted the event, showcasing their skills in public speaking, performing arts, and leadership. Anderson County Farm Bureau served as the Premier Sponsor for the 2019 Anderson County 4-H & Agriculture Hall of Fame.