The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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The OSU Extension Service Centennial Oral History Collection

Sixteen life history interviews conducted by Elizabeth Uhlig.

August 2007 - June 2009


Len Calvert - Interview 1  August 17, 2007  Location: Calvert residence, Eugene, Oregon.  Listen to Audio | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the first of two interviews, Calvert describes his youth in Lane County, highlighting his experiences in 4-H. He discusses his college years at the University of Oregon and a series of newspaper jobs that he held after graduating. He speaks about his first experience working with the Extension Service, in the Office of Agricultural Information, then mentions a short stint with the University of Oregon. He discusses his return to the Extension Service and several aspects of both the history of Extension and his own experiences, focusing on how Extension has changed.

Len Calvert - Interview 2  August 24, 2007  Location: Calvert residence, Eugene, Oregon.  Listen to Audio | Download Transcript (PDF)

In his second interview, Calvert gives a quick summary of his many positions with the Extension Service. He then describes his involvement with 4-H as an agent and as a trustee of the Oregon 4-H Foundation. He details other post-retirement work, including his tenure as editor of the Journal of Extension. He then shares his memories of notable Extension members and their achievements. He rounds out the interview with thoughts on the future of Extension.

Roberta Anderson  August 26, 2007  Location: Anderson residence, Pendleton, Oregon.  Listen to Audio | Download Transcript (PDF)

Anderson discusses her childhood in the Walla Walla Valley and attending Washington State College during the Great Depression. From there she recounts her marriage to Fred Frasier and her time living in Bellingham and in Pullman while her husband worked for Extension Service. She speaks about her experience earning a master's degree and she describes her work with the College of Home Economics and the Extension Service at Washington State University. She likewise reflects on her career as a Family Life Specialist with the Extension Service at Oregon State University during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Anderson concludes with a discussion of her second marriage and her busy life in retirement.

Jack Ross  September 8, 2007  Location: Ross residence, Corvallis, Oregon.  Listen to Audio | Download Transcript (PDF)

Ross discusses growing up in Arlington, Virginia and working odd jobs in Washington, D.C. after graduating from high school. He goes on to describe working as a clerk for the FBI, both in Washington, D.C. and in Brazil, and mentions a short stint in the Army. Ross then speaks about moving to Oregon and going to school at Oregon State College, starting a job with the Extension Service as a seed certification specialist, and then going on to become a County Extension Agent and a farm crops specialist. He describes a Job Corps-like program for women that he and several colleagues worked on, but were unable to put into place. He also discusses his other positions within Extension, first as a supervisor and then as an assistant director. He rounds out the interview with a description of a volunteer program with the University of Gorky in Belarus.

Jane Schroeder  September 19, 2007  Location: Ballard Hall, Oregon State University.  Listen to Audio | Download Transcript (PDF)

Schroeder describes her childhood in Altamont, Kansas, including her active involvement in 4-H. She then speaks of her years working for Boeing Aircraft Company and helping to build airplanes during World War II. She goes on to mention attending college at Kansas State University, majoring in home economics with a focus in design, before going to work for Extension Service. She discusses moving to Oregon a few years later to work as a home economics agent in The Dalles and working with Native Americans at Celilo in the years when The Dalles Dam was being built. She recounts her other Extension positions, including her years as a Home Economics Agent in Deschutes and Jefferson Counties. She discusses some of the programs she ran and her connection to 4-H, and she concludes by describing her post-retirement kitchen and bath design business, and the travel business that she and her husband founded.

Alberta Johnston  October 13, 2007  Location: Johnston residence, Corvallis, Oregon.  Listen to Audio | Download Transcript (PDF)

Johnston describes her youth in Hickman, Nebraska, her time as a Camp Fire Girl, and her college years at the University of Nebraska. She continues with a mention of her time teaching home economics and science. From there, she discusses her first position in the Extension Service in Wyoming and the later positions that she held, as both a county agent and as a specialist. She talks about a short stint with Extension in Montana before describing her first position with Oregon Extension. She continues by recounting some of the projects and programs she was involved in, especially study groups and Mini Colleges. From there, Johnston reviews her time as a supervisor, assistant director, associate director, and finally deputy director. She rounds out the interview by sharing memories of her volunteer work with Extension after retiring and the changes that she has seen in the program.

Walt and Sally Schroeder  October 28, 2007  Location: Schroeder residence, Gold Beach, Oregon.  Listen to Audio | Download Transcript (PDF)

Walt Schroeder recounts his childhood in New Jersey, including his years as a Boy Scout. He goes on to describe attending Rutgers University for two years, then moving out to Oregon to finish his undergraduate degree at Oregon State College. He discusses his first job out of college, with the Commodity Credit Corporation, and then his first Extension Service position as a 4-H agent in Coos County. He speaks of serving in the military during the Korean War, returning to Extension work in Coos County, and then going to Wisconsin for his master's degree. He then recalls a few other agent positions that he held before becoming the Chairman of the Curry County Extension Office. Shroeder continues with descriptions of several programs he worked on, including support for horticulture and adult education. He describes the changes that he has seen over his career in Extension, and he details a number of his post-retirement activities, including a stint in the Oregon Legislature, becoming an author, and an array of volunteer work. The interview finishes with Schroeder's wife, Sally, providing a short history of her life and activities.

John Hansen  November 3, 2007  Location: Hansen residence, Dallas, Oregon.  Listen to Audio | Download Transcript (PDF)

Hansen describes his childhood on a dairy farm near Beaverton, Oregon, his early involvement in 4-H, and his experiences at Oregon State College. He then details his work with the Marion County Agricultural Conservation Association before describing his entrance into Extension Service as a 4-H agent. Hansen discusses his promotion to chairman of the Polk County Extension staff and his work in that position. From there, he reviews his time as an area Extension Water Resource Specialist and his involvement with national and state professional organizations. He talks about his position as an assistant administrator of a division of the Oregon Department of Agriculture and he also describes his travel with agricultural study tours, the creation of an arboretum in Dallas, Oregon, his involvement with the 4-H Foundation, and his volunteer work in Dallas, Oregon.

Glenn Klein  December 18, 2007  Location: Klein residence, Corvallis, Oregon.  Listen to Audio | Download Transcript (PDF)

Klein recalls his upbringing on a dairy farm near Aumsville, Oregon, his association with 4-H as a boy, and his service in the U.S. Air Force following World War II. He then discusses his travels in New Zealand as a delegate of the International Farm Youth Exchange, his first employment with the Extension Service as an Agent-at-Large, and his move to Medford as a 4-H Extension Agent. He then remarks on his work in celebrating the Oregon centennial and in implementing a guide dogs for the blind program in Jackson County. From there, Klein notes his graduate studies at the University of Maryland, his return to the Extension Service as a State 4-H Specialist, and his activities in this position, including work with youth groups and support for implementing new zoning laws in rural areas. Next, Klein comments on the final phases of his career as a dual appointment faculty member in Extension and the OSU College of Education, noting in particular his teaching and engagement with international students, and his professional travels abroad. The interview concludes with memories of Klein's service on the OSU Faculty Senate, his thoughts on change within Extension, his involvement with various professional groups, and his activities in retirement.

Dean Frischknecht  February 9, 2008  Location: Ballard Hall, Oregon State University.  Listen to Audio | Download Transcript (PDF)

Frischknecht recounts his upbringing in Manti, Utah, his involvement with Future Farmers of America, and his time at Utah State Agricultural College, where he completed a bachelor's degree in Animal Husbandry and a master's degree in Animal Science. He then talks about his time in the Marine Corps during the later years of World War II, and goes on to describe his work with the Deseret Livestock Company and the life insurance company, Pacific National Life. The interview then shifts into a description of his twenty-year career with the Oregon Extension Service as an Extension Livestock Specialist. He mentions a short stint in Argentina, where he worked as an Extension agent with large ranches located there. He concludes the interview with reflections on his post-retirement involvement with Oregon State, his proudest moments, and his view of where Extension is going in the future.

Harold Kerr and Tom Zinn  February 24, 2008  Location: Zinn residence, Corvallis, Oregon.  Listen to Audio | Download Transcript (PDF)

Kerr and Zinn discuss their childhoods in California and Oregon. In this, Kerr describes his upbringing on a dairy farm, his involvement in both FFA and 4-H, and his college years at Oregon State College. Zinn talks about growing up in Klamath Falls and being a 4-H member. He describes his time at OSC and with the International Farm Youth Exchange after graduating. From there, Kerr recounts his years with the Army and then his move back to the family farm. He talks about his entrance into the Extension Service as a 4-H agent in Prineville and describes his time there. Zinn also discusses his time in the Army as a physician's assistant and as a food inspector in Moses Lake and Spokane, Washington. From there he reviews his first few positions with the Extension Service, including his first administrative post.

Next, Kerr discusses a new position that he held as a county agent and staff chairman in Heppner. Zinn relates his five-year stint in Turkey, where he implemented a summer fallow system similar to the one used in Oregon. He also describes his time as a Livestock Crops Agent in Wasco County, followed by his years as an area supervisor. Kerr next talks about his own time in Wasco County, and the two speak about their time as associate directors. They round out the interview by describing their retirements, including a trip to Lithuania and volunteering as a 4-H Leader for Kerr, and travel, hunting and fishing for Zinn.

Greg Tillson  March 1, 2008  Location: Tillson residence, Salem, Oregon.  Listen to Audio | Download Transcript (PDF)

Tillson describes his upbringing in Corvallis, playing tennis on his high school team, and attending Oregon State University. He discusses joining the National Guard and working in Corvallis before returning to OSU and graduating. He also speaks of his first Extension Service position out of college as an Agent-At-Large, and the programs that he worked on. He likewise provides an overview of his work as an area agent in community development focusing on land use planning. Tillson goes on to describe his involvement in the Family Community Leadership Program as the state coordinator for Oregon, focusing on the rapid growth of the program and his work on the Warm Springs Reservation. He rounds out the interview with a description of his activities post-retirement, including consultant and volunteer work.

Duane Johnson  March 9, 2008  Location: Johnson residence, Corvallis, Oregon.  Listen to Audio | Download Transcript (PDF)

Johnson describes his upbringing in the Midwest, his involvement in 4-H, and his time at Iowa State College. He then details his first position with the Extension Service as a County Extension Agent with 4-H and his agriculture support responsibilities in Multnomah County, Oregon. He likewise describes some of the programs he was involved with, include victory gardens, junior leadership development, and creative arts. He also mentions a volunteer leader training program and the International 4-H Youth Exchange Program. From there, Johnson discusses his positions as both a specialist on the state 4-H staff and as the state 4-H Program Leader. He reviews the organizational changes that Extension went through during his time with the program and the changes that Extension has had to make to fit new audiences. He rounds out the interview by discussing his involvement with the 4-H Foundation and his proudest moments over his career.

Owen Osborne  April 26, 2008  Location: Black Butte Ranch, Oregon.  Listen to Audio | Download Transcript (PDF)

Osborne describes his youth in Missouri and his college years studying Electrical Engineering at the University of Missouri and at Oklahoma State University. He discusses his first position at Oregon State University as the director of the analog computer lab and as an assistant professor for Electrical Engineering. He goes on to describe his first position with Extension Service, as an energy specialist, and his involvement in the creation of an Energy Extension program. Osborne next speaks about going to Iowa State University to be the director of the Engineering Extension Service, getting promoted to Associate Dean of University Extension, and working as Director of Continuing Education. He recounts his return to Oregon as an Associate Director for Extension and discusses a variety of activities that he engaged in with professional organizations both before and after his retirement. He concludes the interview with a look back at his time with Extension.

Bob Jacobson  May 3, 2008  Location: Jacobson residence, Waldport, Oregon.  Listen to Audio | Download Transcript (PDF)

Jacobson recounts his youth in North Bend, Oregon and his involvement in 4-H and fishing. He describes his time at Oregon State College, noting in particular his participation on the varsity basketball squad. He then details his entrance into the world of the Extension Service as the country's first Marine Extension Agent, and speaks of the creation of Sea Grant a few years later. In recalling his career, Jacobson comments specifically on his work related to marine safety. He also mentions his position on the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. He closes with a discussion of his commercial fishing enterprise in both Oregon and Alaska, and several marine-related activities with which he is still involved.

Linda Modrell  June 19, 2009  Location: Benton County Commissioners Office, Corvallis, Oregon.  Listen to Audio | Download Transcript (PDF)

Modrell recounts her upbringing in Albany, her time as a Girl Scout, and her experiences working in the fields. She then discusses her first Extension Service job, as a temporary secretary, which she obtained right out of high school. She goes on to describe a series of secretarial jobs that she held with the Extension Service, followed by a break from Extension as an administrative assistant for the Dean of Veterinary Medicine. She mentions taking college courses while working, eventually ending up with an associate degree, followed by a bachelor's degree, and then a master's degree. From there, Modrell describes the difficulties that were encountered in creating an administrative computing system for Extension. She also speaks about a later job with the College of Health and Human Performance, and discusses a series of county and state government offices that she held after leaving the university. She concludes the interview with a description of the Oxford Round Table Conference that she attended.