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In Memoriam



We sadly miss the following members of the SCS/NRCS family who have passed away.

Our sympathy and prayers are with their families and friends.

Please email Paul Benedict at  to report recent In Memoriam notices.

This page shows RECENT remembrances only.

For a listing of ALL notices collected by YEAR, click here.

To see a listing of ALL notices ALPHABETICALLY, click here.

Last updated 3/3/2021


ALL, Sorted Alphabetically


In Memoriam, By Year, then Alphabetically by Last Name



Maurice “Mike” Eugene Ahern (91), of Salina, Kansas, passed away at his home surrounded by family on February 5, 2021. Mike was born on the family farm in Brookings, South Dakota on January 12, 1930 to Francis and Evangeline (Phillips) Ahern. He graduated from Brookings High School where he lettered in basketball and track, placed first in State in the mile, and was the bantamweight amateur boxing champion of Eastern South Dakota. After graduation, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from South Dakota State University. Mike took R.O.T.C. training while attending college, then served in the military in Korea and was promoted to First Lieutenant. Following his military service, he taught Agriculture in Doland, SD. He began his career for the USDA-Soil Conservation Service in 1956. Mike married the love of his life, Margery (Levins) in Clear Lake, SD on June 9, 1956. He worked in Yankton, South Dakota; Plankinton, South Dakota; Huron, South Dakota; and eventually Salina, Kansas where he worked until his retirement. After retirement, Mike enjoyed spending his free time on the golf course. Mike is survived by his beloved wife of 64 years, Margery; five children, Michael (Patty) Ahern, Lawrence, Kansas; James Ahern, Rapid City, South Dakota; Tricia Wilcox, Wichita, Kansas; Terry (Nikki) Ahern, Lee’s Summit, Missouri; and Mary Ann (Ryan) Foxhoven, Topeka, Kansas; and nine grandchildren that he adored.



Rosemary Ruth Atherton (71) of Marysville, Ohio passed away unexpectedly February 15, 2021 following a short illness. She was the wife of retired USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservation Engineer Bruce Atherton. Rosemary was born September 16, 1949 to Reverend Lemoyne Thomas (Tom) Collum and Grace Turner Collum. She attended Ohio State University and later completed her degree from Mt. Vernon Nazarene University. She worked at several banks and other businesses and was secretary at the Huron Soil and Water Conservation District in Norwalk, Ohio, for 13 years. In addition to her husband Bruce, Rosemary is survived by daughter Gwen Adkins of St. Joseph, Michigan.



Laura Elaine (Smith) Badger (76) passed away October 23, 2020 at the Healthcare Resort in Topeka, Kansas. She was the wife of ARCSE Life Member Tom Badger whom she married on June 5, 1965. Tom was the Area Conservationist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service in Manhattan, Kansas before he retired in 2001. Elaine, as she was known to all, was born March 11, 1944 in Topeka, Kansas, the daughter of Walter and Eleanor (Phelon) Smith. She worked as a Registered Nurse in hospitals across Kansas. Elaine was preceded in death by an infant daughter, Tracy Badger. In addition to her husband Tom, she is survived by son, Todd Badger of Stuart, Florida and daughter, Tara Phillips of Wichita, Kansas.



Jack Laverne Bohl (87) of Edmond, Oklahoma passed away February 4, 2021 in Bethany, Oklahoma. Jack was born on November 14, 1933 in Chattanooga, Oklahoma to George Frederick and Medreith Myrtle (Angel) Bohl. He earned a scholarship from Oklahoma A&M in baseball and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Agronomy in 1956. Jack was united in marriage to Shirley Jean Williams on February 27, 1954 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. She preceded him in death on May 1, 2012. He served in the United States Army National Guard. Jack worked as a Soil Conservationist for the USDA Soil Conservation Service in Frederick, Oklahoma for 35 years before retiring in 1989 as District Conservationist. He also farmed in Comanche and Tillman Counties for many years. Jack enjoyed fishing, hunting, golfing, and watching sports. His grandchildren were his pride and joy. He is survived by his children, Rusty Bohl of Flower Mound, Texas, YeVon Gosa (Mike) of Tipton, Oklahoma, Richie Bohl (Susan) of Edmond, Oklahoma and Sherri Green (Tim) of West Lake; eleven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. In addition to his wife Shirley, he was also preceded in death by a granddaughter.



Charles Eugene “Gene” Bollinger (84) of Tulsa, Oklahoma (formerly of Perry, Oklahoma) passed away from multiple health conditions on January 22, 2021. Gene was born to parents John and Rachel Brown Bollinger on April 23, 1936, in Perkins, Oklahoma. He graduated from Oklahoma State University on August 2, 1958. Gene married high school sweetheart Billie Faye Scott on December 20, 1958. He worked for the USDA Soil Conservation Service in offices across Oklahoma for 32 years, retiring as Assistant State Conservation Engineer on November 30, 1990. He started a second career as the Program Engineer for the Oklahoma Conservation Commission’s Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation division in 1991 until his retirement in 2009. Gene was a good leader and was always confident about his work. He was always gracious and calm under fire. Gene was a mentor to others regarding construction projects and practices as well as dealing with contractors. He was a true professional in every sense of the word. Gene and Billie lived in Perry, Oklahoma, and enjoyed playing golf, traveling with friends, cheering on the Oklahoma State University Cowboys and spending time with their two daughters and two grandchildren. They remained married until Billie passed away unexpectedly from a brain tumor on April 24, 2008. Gene was a member of the First Baptist Church in Perry and was involved in various civic and professional organizations throughout his life. He lived in Perry until March 2019, when he moved to Tulsa to be near his daughters and grandchildren. Gene is survived by daughters Sherrie Bollinger (Ken Wehmeyer) and Susan Bollinger (Perry Terronez), granddaughter Jordan Henry, grandson Cody Key, all of Tulsa.



ARCSE Member Donald Ray Bowers (67) of Indiana, Pennsylvania passed away peacefully at his home on January 22, 2021. He was the son of John William Bowers and Ruth A. (Trimpey) Bowers, born January 18, 1954 in Somerset, Pennsylvania. Don was a 1975 graduate of Penn State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy. He retired from the US. Department of Agricultural-Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), formerly Soil Conservation Service (SCS) in 2010. He spent over 35 years serving the farming community with conservation practices. Over his career as a Soil Conservationist and District Conservationist in Pennsylvania he served Washington, Lancaster, Crawford, and Indiana Counties. He was also the brother of ARCSE Member William “Bill” Bowers, retired State Conservation Engineer in Pennsylvania. Don attended Calvary Presbyterian Church, Indiana. Donald’s hobbies included fishing, especially fly fishing, fly tying, golfing, wood working, and traveling with his family. He is survived by his loving wife of 45 years Susan Bowman Bowers. They were married in Lewistown, PA on August 23, 1975. Don is dearly remembered by his two children Heather Bowers-Wivell (Dennis) of Taneytown, Maryland and Ryan Bowers of Archbald, Pennsylvania, and grandson Garrett Lewis Wivell, his brother William Bowers (MaryAnn) of Enola, Pennsylvania and a brother-in-law Brian Bowman (Ramona) of Springfield, VA.



Debra Cheshier (68) of Harrisburg, Missouri, passed away December 23, 2020 at University of Missouri Hospital. Debra was the wife of Rob Cheshier, former State Geologist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service at the Missouri State Office. Expressions of sympathy can be sent to Rob Cheshier, 9150 Route E, Harrisburg, MO 65256.



Karen Frances Churchman (72) of Salina, Kansas, passed away December 31, 2020. Karen was born in Great Bend, Kansas on August 6, 1948, a daughter of the late Christine Marie (Mauler) and John Raymond Lichter. She graduated from Brown Mackie College in 1967. On October 21, 1967, Karen married Ralph Churchman in Olmitz, Kansas. She was the Secretary to the State Conservationist at the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service and retired in 2010 after 41 ½ years of service. Survivors include daughters, Kimberly Mick, (John) of Salina, Kansas, Debie Nickelson, (Troy) of Assaria, Kansas; and 4 grandchildren, Madison, Kennedy, Evan, and Ian. She is preceded in death by her husband, Ralph Churchman.



Sandra Kay Cook (72) of Lugoff, South Carolina passed away January 9, 2021. Sandra was born in Cumberland, Maryland, the daughter of William Russell Haese and Dorothy Bennett Haese. Mrs. Cook worked for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service and other federal agricultural agencies for over 48 years. She was a member of Lugoff Church of God where she enjoyed going to the senior socials. Mrs. Cook loved spending time with her family, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, and she loved watching her University of South Carolina Gamecocks and Washington Redskins. She also enjoyed camping, especially at the beach, and boating on Lake Wateree. Surviving are her children, Laura Branham (Mike), Susan Challender (Bob), and Kay Cook; 11 grandchildren; and 16 great grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband Ben Cook and children, Dona LeGrand, and Van Cook.



Thomas D. Cyre (65) passed away December 27, 2020 at Mount Joseph Senior Village, Concordia, Kansas. He was born November 10, 1955 in Newton, Kansas to Bernard and Loretta (Dallen) Cyre. He received his Associate Degree from Cloud County Community College and later earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology at Ft. Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. On August 20, 1976 he married Sandra Estes at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Clay Center, Kansas. Thomas worked for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service as a Geologist. He is survived by his wife Sandra Cyre, Concordia, Kansas; son, Vaughan Cyre, Concordia, Kansas; mother, Loretta Cyre, Clay Center, Kansas; and several brothers and sisters. Memorial contributions may be given to Meadowlark Hospice in care of Chaput-Buoy Funeral Home, PO Box 606, Concordia, KS.



Michael Charles Dassel-Stuke (69) of Seneca, Kansas passed away January 28, 2021, after battling lung cancer, at Advent Health Hospital of Shawnee Mission. Michael was born on November 20, 1951, to Leonard “Bud” and Cecila “Cedar” Marie Lehn Stuke. He attended Highland Community college, achieving his Associate’s Degree, then transferring to Kansas State University in Manhattan. Michael helped on the family farm during his teenage years. After graduating, he purchased a rock truck and went to work for Bennett Trucking in Seneca until 1984. He was a testing supervisor for Landoll for a year, before being employed for 26 years at NRCS (Natural Recourses Conservation Service) as a soil conservation technician, before retiring. Michael and his son, Travis, farmed up until his death. He truly loved farming. Even as his illness progressed, he continued to farm, still driving the combine last fall. Michael married Donna Dassel on July 7, 1985, at Chandler, Indiana. Michael enjoyed farming, music, coyote hunting, and all sports, especially football and NASCAR races. He is survived by his wife, Donna; his mother, Cedar Stuke of Seneca; two sons, Travis (BranDee) Stuke of Seneca and James (Amanda) Stuke of Agency, Missouri; six grandchildren and another on the way.



Joel Makelin Florenzen (83) of Hermiston, Oregon passed away peacefully at his home on December 17, 2020. Joel was born May 8, 1937, in Fort Bragg, California to parents Manuel Florenzen and Josephine “Josie” (Gollnick) Florenzen. He grew up in Fort Bragg, California, working at the lumber mill with his Dad during summers and after high school, saving money for college. Joel enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in May 1957 and was on active duty until May 1962. He was in the Air Force Reserves through 1963 and was honorably discharged. He completed his basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. He became a radar operator and was stationed in Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi; the Othello Radar Station in Othello, Washington; and then a radar site in Germany. After the Air Force he attended Oregon Technical Institute in Klamath Falls, Oregon, in 1963 where he met his future wife Trish. They married on Oct. 3, 1964, in Carson City, Nevada. In 1966 Joel graduated on the Dean’s list with an Associate’s Degree in Engineering in Survey Technology and an Associate’s Degree in Engineering in Highway Technology. Joel worked for the USDA-Soil Conservation Service as an Engineering Technician in Ontario, Oregon from 1967 until he retired in 1993. He received numerous Merits of Performance Awards. Joel and Trish moved to Hermiston in 2017 to be closer to their kids in his later years. He had a special nostalgia for the Redwoods and enjoyed visiting his childhood home on the Northern California Coast, but his heart always remained in Vale and the Treasure Valley. He is survived by his spouse, Patricia “Trish” Ann Florenzen; daughters Heidi Florenzen of Hermiston, and Jennifer (Jonathon) Gilbert of Selah, Washington. Donations in his memory can be made to the Vale Oregon Food Pantry in care of City of Vale, 150 Longfellow St. N., Vale, Oregon 97918.



Morris Sullins Gillespie (93) of Auburn, Alabama, passed away on February 21, 2021. Morris was born February 7, 1928, in Parrottsville, Tennessee. He attended the University of Tennessee where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture. Following college, Morris served four years in the U.S. Air Force in the Veterinary Corps. After his military service, Morris returned to the University of Tennessee and earned his Master's degree in Agronomy. In 1956, he began a career with the USDA Soil Conservation Service as the Work Unit Conservationist (later District Conservationist) in Hamblen County, Tennessee. In 1969, he moved to Auburn, Alabama, as Public Information Officer with the Soil Conservation Service/Natural Resources Conservation Service. He retired in 1994. Morris was a lifelong member of the Methodist Church. In Auburn, he was an active member of the Auburn United Methodist Church, Osher Lifelong Learners Institute (OLLI) and the Kiwanis Club of Auburn. Morris is survived by his wife of 60 years, Geraldine Flowers Gillespie, and his children: Sharon Gillespie Williams (Bryan) of Olive Branch, Mississippi; Jeffrey Gillespie (Michelle) of Arlington, Virginia; Linda Gillespie of Auburn, Alabama; and Kathy Gillespie Humphrey (Larry) of Opelika, Alabama, and six grandchildren. A family graveside service was held at the Town Creek Cemetery in Auburn, Alabama.



Deborah Ann Gillette (70) of Farmington, New York passed away January 31, 2021 due to complications of COVID-19. She was the wife of former Natural Resources Conservation Service Resource Conservationist Douglas Gillette. Deborah was born on November 9, 1950 in Rochester, New York, the daughter of Henry and Lois O'Boyle. Deborah entered Eastside Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in April of 2018. Before this she had entered Strong Memorial Hospital for cancer treatment that was successfully remediated. Other health complications prevented Deborah from coming home. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, Doug was able to speak by phone with Deborah but not able to visit her in the nursing home for several months. But he was grateful that he could comfort her in the final hours. Surviving is her mother, son Aaron, and husband Douglas.



Richard “Dick” Googins (95) of Mechanicsville, Virginia, passed away peacefully at Lakewood Retirement Community in Richmond, Virginia on January 18, 2021. Dick was born in Kansas on November 23, 1925. He served in the Navy in WWII. He graduated from University of Maryland specializing in soil science. Upon graduation, Dick lived with his family on a farm in Kansas before joining the USDA-Soil Conservation Service as a soil scientist. He retired as the State Soil Scientist for Virginia. Dick married Mary Ann in 1982 and lived in Hanover, VA as well as multiple cities in Oregon, before returning to Virginia. Dick enjoyed the outdoors, to include pulling weeds, rock hounding, archeology digs, and cross country skiing. Dick is survived by his wife of 38 years, Mary Ann Gill Googins; children Richard Googins, Christine (Bob) Scott, Dan (Kim) Googins, and Nancy (Bruce) Downs; step children Laura (Richard) Wingold and Bryan (Tracey) Wingold; and grandchildren Rachel Shields, Ruthie Taylor, Christopher Downs, Blaise Wingold, Maya Wingold and Sean Wingold; and five great grandchildren.



Ernest Otto Haefner (88) of Wheaton, Kansas, passed away December 27, 2020, at Onaga Health and Rehab in Onaga, Kansas. Ernie was born on October 17, 1932, in Blaine, Kansas, the son of Ernest and Ruth Paxton Haefner. Ernie served in the United States Army during the Korean War. He then graduated in 1961 from Kansas State University with a degree in Agriculture and Applied Science. Ernie worked for six years for Gulf Oil Spencer Fertilizer. He then worked for thirteen years for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Ernie then began working for the USDA-Soil Conservation Service and retired as a District Conservationist in 1995. After his retirement, he did crop adjusting part-time for a rain and hail insurance company. In the years between Gulf Oil and Goodyear, Ernie broke, trained, bred, and raced quarter horses. Ernie enjoyed card games, woodworking, and hunting. He was accomplished at sign language for the deaf and was often called upon to do translating. Ernie married Nila Elaine Kufahl on June 2, 1957, in Wheaton. She preceded him in death in 2019. Ernie is survived by his children; Curtis Haefner (Lori), Wheaton, Kari Kufahl (Randy), Wheaton, and Kevin Haefner (Lisa), DeSoto, Kansas; six grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, five step-grandchildren, and seven step-great-grandchildren.



Clyde F. Hanson (88) of Grangeville, Idaho passed away December 22, 2020, at St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Boise, Idaho. Clyde was born April 21, 1932, at Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, a son of Frans and Sarah (Snead) Hanson. He lived the last 60 years in Grangeville. He retired from the U.S. Army Reserve as a lieutenant colonel. He worked as a Conservation Technician for the USDA-Soil Conservation Service. He was known in the area for his volunteer work with many organizations and groups. He was a volunteer fireman. He spent many years teaching EMS and CPR classes all around the area. Clyde is survived by his wife of 67 years, Marietta; sons Bruce Hanson of Spokane Valley, Washington, and David Hanson of Juneau, Alaska; daughter Joyce Hanson of Windsor, Wisconsin; seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.



Robert Carl “Bob” Huneycutt (87) passed away peacefully on his birthday, January 9, 2021 in Stillwater, Oklahoma, where he had lived since 1972. He was enjoying his new home in Legacy Village, a local retirement community. Bob (also known as “Carl” by his parents and siblings) was born to Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. and Edna V. (Crossley) Huneycutt on January 9, 1934 in Sparkman, Arkansas. After high school Bob joined the US Air Force and became an Airman Second Class serving as an Aircraft Electrical Systems Instructor during the Korean War. After graduating from the University of Arkansas in 1958, his entire professional career was devoted to the USDA-Soil Conservation Service (SCS). Bob retired at age 55 from his position as the SCS State Administrative Officer for Oklahoma in 1988. After retiring, he became an accomplished investment counselor, actively leading and participating in both The Emeriti and Dollars & Sense Investment Clubs. He was a pilot and loved family history, American history, and fishing. He was active in First United Methodist Church in Stillwater. He was preceded in death by his former spouse and loving mother of his sons, Willene Kroutil, and his oldest son Greg Huneycutt. Bob is survived by his devoted friend and cherished companion, Tana Rutan; sons Tim (Sherri) Huneycutt of Perry, Oklahoma, Stan (Christy) Huneycutt of Atlanta, Georgia, and Russell (Leann) Huneycutt of Owasso, Oklahoma; and grandchildren McKenzie, of San Antonio, Texas, Alex (Sierra), of Kansas City, Kansas, and Chloe’ Huneycutt, of Atlanta Georgia.



Life Member of ARCSE and retired Chief of the USDA-SCS/NRCS, Paul W. Johnson (79) of Decorah, Iowa, passed away February 15, 2021. The full obituary can be viewed on Fjelstul Funeral Home's website: Paul was born in Oakland, California on June 10, 1941 to Wallace Johnson (a minister) and Rachel Oslund (a homemaker) and grew up in Beresford, South Dakota and Oak Lawn, Illinois. Paul left the Illinois Institute of Aviation to join one of the very first Peace Corps groups in 1962 and served in Ghana. By the time he returned to the United States two years later, he had heard the call of the wild and began studying at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources, where he would eventually earn his master’s degree in forestry. To support himself, he interviewed to wash dishes for a group of women at the International House dormitory. The dorm director, Pat, who was also just back from the Peace Corps in the Philippines, judged his housekeeping skills adequate enough to marry him in 1965. After a stint in the US Forest Service, Paul and Pat returned to Africa, with both teaching at Ghana’s School of Forestry in Sunyani while Pat birthed their first child, Eric Kweku, in Berekum. After doctoral studies took them to Costa Rica, they returned to the University of Michigan and used its library to divine that the best place in the world to live is The Driftless Area of southwestern Wisconsin. When the right farm became available in Winneshiek County in 1974, friends and family pitched in to help them make the down payment. Paul milked Jerseys, while Pat taught social work, taking a year off to manage Luther College’s study-abroad program in Nottingham in 1981. While they coaxed from the land a variety of flora and fauna—Christmas trees, soybeans, sweet corn, grapes, apples, eggs, lambs, and trees (everywhere!)—when asked what they raised on the farm, Paul’s reply was always “kids!” Paul became involved in politics and served three Iowa House terms where he led bipartisan support for groundbreaking sustainable agriculture and conservation legislation. Landmark achievements of Paul and his colleagues included the 1987 Groundwater Protection Act (including creation of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at ISU); the 1989 Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) Act; and the 1990 Iowa Energy Act. That work gained national attention, resulting in Paul’s 1988 invitation to join the National Academy of Sciences’ Board on Agriculture and then to President Bill Clinton appointing him in 1994 to run the 13,000-employee Soil Conservation Service (SCS) in Washington, DC. He reinvigorated the agency’s culture, thanked employees continually for serving the nation’s farmers and ranchers, and appointed many women and minorities to positions of leadership. He worked with colleagues to rename the SCS the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and reminded all that the agency’s mission included the entire community: soil, water, air, plants, animals, and humans (SWAPA+H!). During his tenure, NRCS programs became more holistic, including the flagship Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the National Conservation Buffer Initiative. In the landmark publication “Geography of Hope,” Paul called on Americans to understand the nation’s working lands as the foundation of our economic and environmental health. After leaving the NRCS, Paul ran the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for Governor Vilsack in the early 2000s. After an unsuccessful run for the US House of Representatives in 2004, he retired to Decorah to share his experiences and networks by advising and mentoring environmental advocates and policymakers throughout the US, serving on various boards and commissions, giving inspiring speeches, writing book introductions and editorials, visiting his kids in Nicaragua, Sweden, France, China, and Australia, and watching his six granddaughters grow. In his later years he enjoyed weaving music into his essays for progressive Iowa “town hall” web site, Bleeding Heartland. Paul is survived by his wife, their three children—Eric (Brenda Horrigan) in Sydney, Australia, Andy (Emily Young) on the farm outside of Decorah, and Annika in Gothenburg, Sweden; six granddaughters: Alissa (New York) and Kiara (Carleton College); Helen (Vassar College), Leila, and Elsa (Decorah); and Linnea (Luther).



Charlene Vance Jorgensen (89) of Troy, Kansas, passed away June 10, 2020. Charlene was the widow of ARCSE Member and Senior Conservationist George N. Jorgensen Jr. who passed away in 2015. George retired as the District Conservationist for the USDA-Soil Conservation Service in 1984. In addition to her husband George, she was preceded in death by her sons Eric and Dennis Jorgensen and her grandchild Jesse Lee Jorgensen. She is survived by her son Mark Jorgensen (Loretta) of Leavenworth, Kansas, her daughter-in-law Carol Jorgensen of Troy; 3 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandson.



Senior Conservationist Frances Elizabeth King (99) of Lincoln, Nebraska passed away December 30, 2020, one day short of her 100th birthday. She was born around suppertime on a cold evening at her paternal grandparents’ home in Plains, Kansas on December 31, 1920. When Frances was eleven, the King family moved to Alliance, Nebraska. Frances blossomed into a responsible and industrious young woman who took her first job at fifteen ironing shirts for three dollars a week. She attended Alliance High School and excelled in gymnastics, yet she was barred from state-wide competitions due to the discrimination against African American athletes at that time. She graduated from high school in 1939. Seven days before her nineteenth birthday, Frances married her high school sweetheart, bearing her first child, Robert Eugene, followed by Barbara Frances two year later. The family left Alliance and settled in Denver, Colorado where Frances worked and raised her children. Unfortunately, after ten years, her marriage ended in divorce. A five-year second marriage followed. Her third marriage, which also ended in divorce after three years, produced her daughter Annette Louise. Unlucky in love, Frances focused her life on raising her children, developing her skills to advance her career with the Federal Government, and living her Christian faith through stewardship. In 1969, Frances moved to Lincoln to care for her ailing parents. Upon their passing, Frances left her job at the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) to relocate to New Orleans, Louisiana in 1972 to work for the National Finance Center. She remained in New Orleans for six years, during which time she developed a taste for soft-shelled crab, gumbo, and down-home, southern gospel music. However, with her children married or away at college, Frances longed for the familiarity of Lincoln and old friends, so in 1978 she returned to the Star City where she remained these past forty-two years. Frances enjoyed a happy, busy, and fulfilled life, rich in good friends and family. A member of Mount Zion Baptist Church since she returned to Lincoln, Frances served as Sunday School Superintendent for nine years, treasurer for twenty years, and Trustee. She retired from SCS in 1988. For the past 33 years, Frances made a home with her daughter Annette and grandson, Lathan Murrell. Besides Lathan, Frances was also the beloved grandmother of Christopher Lewis, Donnis (Cox) Hurd, and Ronneka Cox. To her delight, Frances also had four great-grandchildren: Christopher Lewis, Jr., Jonathan Lewis, Jeremy Lewis and Jaxson Hurd.



USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) employee Payton "Pate" Lee Mumford (32) of Pruitt City, Oklahoma passed away in an automobile accident on January 17, 2021. Another NRCS employee, Soil Conservationist Fred Norman, was injured in the accident. Pate was born March 29, 1988 in Ardmore, Oklahoma to Jimmy Lee Mumford and Darla Jayne (Bolles) Mumford. Pate attended Redlands Community College where he was on a judging team and received his Associate’s degree. He then furthered his education at Oklahoma State University where he graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Range Management. Pate returned to this area and served an internship at the Noble Foundation before becoming employed with the NRCS as a Resource Conservationist. He was currently working in the Sulphur Field Office. Pate always loved being a caretaker of the land and enjoyed farming. He had a passion for restoring old things new, especially old tractors and guns. Pate was a member of the Fox Baptist Church. Survivors include his parents, Jim and Darla Mumford of Pruitt City; brother, Dillon Mumford (Carson) of Fox, Oklahoma; and grandmother, Louise Mumford also of Fox.



Lorna Rae Philp, 50, of Hilger (Winifred), Montana passed away at home surrounded by her husband Tom and loving family and friends on January 28, 2021 after a valiant fight against cancer. Lorna was the Supervisory District Conservationist for the Lewistown Work Unit for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service. Lorna was born June 27, 1970 in Glasgow, Montana, the daughter of John A. and Ella Mae (Heser) Stolen. The family lived on a farm south of Wolf Point, Montana. She began her college program in North Dakota and transferred to Montana State University in Bozeman where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture degree in 1992. In 1989 she was hired as a co-op student with the USDA-Soil Conservation Service. In 1995 she joined Malta Field Office staff as a soil conservationist. Lorna met Willy “Tom” Philp in Malta on the dance floor in 1996 and never looked back. They were united in marriage on Sept. 19, 1998 in Malta and were soul mates for life. In 1997 she became district conservationist in the Malta Field Office, in May 2008 she transferred from Malta to Lewistown as the district conservationist and in February 2019, she was promoted to the supervisory district conservationist for the Lewistown Work Unit, including Stanford and Winnett. Lorna lived passionately. She loved to dance and watching her whirling around a room with Tom was breathtaking. She took full advantage of our beautiful Montana setting and brought beauty to her surroundings with her gardening and soil conservation knowledge. She also enjoyed hunting, fishing, and camping. Lorna had 100% commitment to her many friends and family, on an individual basis and through her involvement in her community. She was a Winifred Ambulance EMT and a member of the American Legion Auxiliary. She advocated for HPV testing and vaccination to help young people avoid spreading the virus that can lead to cervical cancer. Lorna is survived by her husband Tom (William T.) of Winifred, daughter Kimberly (Chad) McNeil, and two grandsons, whom she greatly adored, Wyatt and Easton of Gillette, Wyoming; along with a large family of sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends who will miss her infectious smile and positive personality. Lorna and Tom were involved in the foreign exchange program and were parents to six boys who call them Mom and Dad and remain in close contact: Victor Acero (Venezuela), Frederik Nielsen (Sweden), Nate Stordahl (Norway), Sebastian Cevallos (Ecuador), Gabrielle (Bobo) Adorni (Italy), and Jesper Perden (Finland).



Sharon Lea Robbins (81) of Scottsburg, Indiana passed away February 1, 2021, in Louisville, Kentucky. Sharon was the wife of ARCSE Member John M. Robbins, retired Assistant State Soil Scientist for the USDA-Soil Conservation Service. They were married for 62 years. Sharon attended colleges and received degrees from Indiana State University, Indiana DePauw University and University of Kentucky. She retired from teaching elementary school for 30 years, was co-owner and manager of Leota Christmas Tree Farm, a longtime volunteer with Southern Indiana Hospice having received the Presidential Award for Volunteers, and a longtime volunteer with Scott County Relay for Life. She was a member of Bethel Baptist Church of Leota and Retired Teachers Association. Besides her husband John, other survivors include two daughters, Jennifer Donnell (Mike) Medina of Waldort, Maryland, and Lea Ann (Ed) Callico of Nabb, Indiana; three grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.



Kenneth Sherraden, (73) of Chapman, Kansas, passed away December 17, 2020, at Geary Community Hospital in Junction City, Kansas. Ken was born in Salina, Kansas on August 17, 1947, the son of Eythel Evelyn “Teed” (Freeman) Sherraden and William Eugene “Bill” Sherraden. Ken joined the Navy after high school and served as a radioman in the Vietnam War. Upon completion of military service, he graduated from Fort Hays State University with a degree in Zoology. He was married to Janet Lorraine (Drinen) Sherraden on March 22, 1967. He worked as a Natural and Cultural Resources Specialist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service. Ken is survived by his wife Janet; four children, Scott (Cindy) Sherraden of Hutchinson, Kansas, Staci (Jeff) Rice of Hutchinson, Stephanie (“Brandon”) Chance of Tennessee, and Shawn (Melissa) Sherraden of Chapman; and 5 grandchildren.



John W. “Bill” Staggs (96) of Moberly, Missouri, passed away January 7, 2021 in Moberly. He was born February 1, 1924 in Shelbyville, Missouri to Lee V. and Violet Frances Inman Staggs. He attended Culver Stockton College in Canton, Missouri. Bill entered the United States Army on February 1, 1943 and trained as a medical NCO for the 86th Infantry Black Hawk Division Medical Battalion. In March of 1945, the 86th Infantry began a campaign to take the Ruhr pocket located north of Cologne, Germany. During this operation, Bill was assigned as a driver for the company commander and came in contact with both Generals Eisenhower and Patton. His division was redeployed to the United States, was retrained, and left in August of 1943 for the Asiatic Pacific Theatre of Operation. They were sent to Luzon in the Philippines where the allies were preparing for the invasion of Japan. Bill was recalled into the service in 1950 during the Korean War. Bill married Hettie Nadine Johnson on April 5, 1963. In 2009 Bill attended the Mid-Missouri Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. Bill farmed, enjoyed raising cattle, and in 1971 was employed by the USDA-Soil Conservation Service as a Conservation Technician in Shelby County. He was transferred to Moberly in Randolph County in 1973. Bill enjoyed golfing, hunting, and spending time with his family and friends. Bill’s wife Nadine passed away in 2019. Among his survivors are his brother, Jim Staggs, his step daughter-in-law, Susan Johnson, stepdaughter, Donna Jean Purvis, eight step grandchildren, and one great-great grandson. Memorials may be made to Shriners Hospital for Children.



Souksady “Sue” Vongkhamdy (58) of Coventry, Rhode Island passed away several days after suffering a severe stroke on January 1, 2021. Sue was the wife of ARCSE Affiliate Member Phou Vongkhamdy, who is the Rhode Island State Conservationist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service. Because of COVID-19 restrictions a private family ceremony was conducted. Cards of condolence may be sent to Phou, Abe and Angela at 31 Lydia Road, Coventry, RI 02816.



ARCSE Member Neil Douglas Wilton (78) of Eagle, Idaho passed away December 24, 2020. Neil was born January 5, 1943 in Lowell, Massachusetts to Eric and Pauline Wilton of Billerica, Massachusetts. After high school he enlisted in the United States Airforce. He graduated from New England College with honors in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and then graduated from the University of New Hampshire with another Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. Neil also studied Soil Mechanics at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In 1965 Neil married Susan Hicks Wolf. Within a few years, they were joined by five children. Neil’s engineering career with the USDA took the family from Concord, New Hampshire, with many layovers ending in Boise, Idaho. He retired in 1995 while an Irrigation Engineer. Sue passed away in 2002. Neil was once again blessed with love and married Janet Kurland of Boise on January 21, 2006 and added two children to his family. Neil enjoyed reading, traveling and being outdoors: Neil is survived by his wife Janet; and children Kristin Scott (Rick) of Meridian, Idaho; Jana Miranda (David) of Phoenix, Arizona; Heidi Mansfield (Ken) of Boise, Idaho; Noel Wilton (Tracy) of Hayden, Idaho; Jennifer Hollis (David) of Oceanside, California, Antoinette Wilton of Post Falls, Idaho, Michael Delaney (Jen) of San Diego, California; and 8 grandchildren. Neil is preceded in death by his first wife Susan and his son Jim Wilton.