Velma Houts’ sons, Terry, Steve, Jeff, and Roger, are pictured, left to right, with the plaque honoring their mother.

Family and friends of the late Velma Houts gathered to honor her with a plaque for the building named after her. Pictured above (left to right) are: front row – Naomi Christensen (Velma’s sister), Lowell Houts (Lyle’s brother), Ken and Donna Lucas, and Betty Herron; second row – Roger Houts, Joy Houts, Dallas Hurst, Amy Houts, and David and Kay Gebhards; third row – Steve Joesting, Terry Houts, Jeff Houts, Steve Houts, and Doug Christensen.

Friends and family of the late Velma Houts gathered in Rock Port November 22, 2019, to honor her contributions to the citizens of Atchison County in her role as former University of Missouri Extension 4-H Youth Education Assistant (YEA).

Velma was active in 4-H, including in the beef project, and served for many years as a 4-H leader, as did her late husband, Lyle, before serving as 4-H YEA for MU Extension from the mid-1980s until her death in 1994.

Velma’s sons Terry, Steve, Jeff and Roger honored their mother with a plaque to be hung in the Velma Houts Fair Building in Rock Port. Other family and friends were there to share their favorite stories of Velma, highlighting her character and perseverance.

Terry Houts described the recognition. “We tried to summarize as succinctly as we could, what 4-H and this community meant to Mom, and I think also what she meant to the community.”

“4-H brought Mom and Dad together at the Ak-sar-ben show.”

“…I think about all the neighbors that were part of the Northern Highlighters 4-H club. We were just talking a little bit about that, where there used to be 10 families, now there’s one. There’s a lot of change that occurs. But the beauty is, there’s still 4-H, there’s still youth, there’s still people dedicating their lives and their talents, just like Mom did, to the future of our counties and our countries, through their leadership, and I think that’s the good thing. And that’s what Mom really would like to be remembered for.”

Representing the MU Extension Council in Atchison County was Dallas Hurst, Council chairman. Steve Joesting, Atchison County Fair Board president, was also in attendance.

MU Extension faculty members Debbie Bennett and Amie Schleicher, and staff members Sam O’Riley and Amy Meinecke, gave a tour of the building.

The Velma Houts Fair Building was built in the late 1990s with donated materials and labor and named in honor of the late 4-H assistant. The Atchison County Fair Board owns the building and property, and the front offices are rented by University of Missouri Extension. Two meeting rooms are available for use by the public for educational, commercial, and private events. Exhibits are housed in the building during the Atchison County Fair.

Future guests of the Velma Houts Fair Building will now have the opportunity to learn more about the special person for whom the building is named.