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In Memoriam (Nov. 2020)

Terrence Courneya passed away on July 15 at age 87. After a long career with the U.S. Navy, he enrolled at the University of Florida and received his bachelor of science and master’s degree in animal science. Returning to Minnesota, he began his career as an agriculture Extension agent in Washington County; he also served as county Extension director in Pennington County.

Jean Hatch obtained her undergraduate degree from Oregon State and her master’s degree in education at Mankato University. She accepted a position with Extension in Martin County teaching nutrition and cooking classes to newly arrived Vietnamese immigrants and working with high school students in 4-H. Jean passed away Sept. 14 at age 99.

Daniel Heins, age 69, passed away July 28. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in animal science and agronomy. While at the University, he was a member of the dairy cattle judging team, and later judged many county fair dairy shows. His career included seven years with Extension in Freeborn County.

Mary Laeger-Hagemeister passed away on Oct. 15. Mary was a regional Extension educator in the Center for Community Vitality’s leadership and civic engagement program and retired in 2009.

Ervin Oelke, Shoreview, passed away on Sept. 10 at age 86. He earned a doctorate in agronomy at the University of Wisconsin. In 1968 he joined the University of Minnesota Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics and was an Extension agronomist specializing in crops until he retired in 2000. Oelke was considered an international expert on wild rice and received numerous awards.

Robert “Bob” Sopoci provided 22 years of dedicated service to Extension before his retirement in 2003. He was a county Extension director and regional educator in community economics in Cook and Lyon Counties. His interdisciplinary approach in programming was a model for connecting community needs with University resources. He passed away on Sept. 29 at age 73.

John “Jack” True joined the Department of Agricultural Engineering at the University of Minnesota in 1967. His responsibilities included educational programming related to general farm machinery, selection and operation of tillage and harvesting equipment, 4-H programs, and farm safety. Jack was a member of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers. He passed away on Aug. 3 at age 93.

Rikka Weiberg graduated from Concordia College, Moorhead with a degree in home economics in 1948 and became the first county Extension agent in Douglas County. She organized a local 4-H club and taught full-time vocational education in St. Paul schools for 15 years. Rikka passed away on Sept. 14 at age 99.

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