CORVALLIS, Ore. - Generations of Washington County youth will continue to have access to programs teaching valuable leadership and life skills, thanks to a $25,000 memorial gift.

The gift, made in honor of Margaret P. Hesse from her family, increases the county's 4-H endowment by more than 40 percent, providing a perpetual stream of income to support 4-H programs. Hesse, who died in 2007, had a 30-year history of volunteer service to Washington County 4-H.

"She had a passion for sewing and teaching children and started her first 4-H sewing club soon after she married my dad, Louis F. Hesse, in 1951," said daughter Ann Hesse Gosch, a trustee of the Oregon 4-H Foundation.

Louis and Margaret had first met as Washington County 4-H'ers at a 4-H corn club banquet in 1942 and had their first date at 4-H Summer School (now called Summer Conference) in 1945. The two graduated from Hillsboro High School and then from Oregon State College (now Oregon State University) in 1950 and '52, respectively - he in agriculture and she in home economics.

"When I was old enough to join 4-H in 1964 my mom started another sewing club for my friends," Gosch said, "and later yet another club for a group of younger neighbor girls." Hesse also served as a county and state fair judge for many years.

In recent years Washington County 4-H has gained national recognition through programs such as Tech Wizards, an afterschool, small-group mentoring program for youth in grades 4 -12, which has been replicated in 22 states.

"Washington County has long been known as a leader of 4-H programming in the state of Oregon," said Roger Rennekamp, associate dean for outreach and engagement in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. "Private support like this allows 4-H to continue creating programs that make a lifelong impact on Oregon youth. We are grateful to the Hesse family for creating such a fitting tribute in honor of one of our treasured volunteers."

Oregon 4-H seeks to establish and strengthen endowments designed to expand the reach of 4-H within each of the state's 36 counties. This gift is part of The Campaign for OSU, the university's first comprehensive fundraising campaign. Guided by OSU's strategic plan, the campaign has raised more than $800 million to provide opportunities for students, strengthen Oregon communities, and conduct research that changes the world.


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 Roger Rennekamp, 541-737-1737