ELLINWOOD — Known for an attitude of service, hospitality and gratefulness, and great advocates for the benefits of 4-H, Marion and Vernon DeWerff have been chosen as Grand Marshals for the Ellinwood After Harvest Festival, July 14-16.
"We’ve been blessed and want to share with others," said Marion.
Church, family, 4-H and community are their list of priorities, a list that many would admire.
"It’s a nice tribute to Marion and Vernon for their community service," said Richard Kimple, selection committee member. "They’re very giving and have been involved with lots of community activities. They are generous with time and resources."
The list of activities over the years is very long. Vernon was an award winning dairy farmer who won both a Grand Champion at an international show and All-American in 1964, the first for a Kansas breeder. He has a large number of trophies and ribbons for showing his dairy cattle.
They hosted the DeWerff Dairy Day for 4-H and FFA kids from across the state from 1950-1990. They have been judges for 4-H, Awana leaders, 4-H Leaders and Marion was the first woman elected to the Ellinwood school board, a position she held for 16 years.
Between the two of they have been involved as Peoples State Bank director, church board, Extension EHU, Fair Boards, Life Giving Center and Senior Living Center, church deacon and trustee, church youth sponsors among other activities.
Although their son John has taken over operation of the farm, Vernon stays busy helping John and when the farm work slows down, builds quality furniture. He has made a walnut bedroom set from a tree on some property he owned and won awards on it.
He also makes rocking chairs and tables for family members.
The couple is very proud of their family, and photos of them line the walls of their home. They enjoy attending the school and 4-H activities of their grandchildren.
Marion still has enormous energy, and during the interview, had to race outside to turn off the water for her 100 foot by 60 foot garden. "She keeps me going," Vernon said. Her children kid her about how the garden keeps getting small and smaller.
They recently hosted missionaries from Mexico in their home and have hosted people from around the world. They’ve participated in the 4-H exchange programs and the "Work around the World" program.
Married 59 years, the couple both were born and raised in the area. Marion grew up by Bushton and Vernon was born and raised on the farm where they are still living.
The DeWerff’s have five children, Wayne, John, Don Lori and Diane and 11 grandkids.