At the age of 98, Cathryn Frisby remains close to her 4-H roots in Livingston County.
“It’s just been part of my life,” Frisby said.
Frisby was selected as the Class of 2019 inductee into the Illinois 4-H Hall of Fame, participating in the Illinois 4-H Foundation celebration at this year’s Illinois State Fair in Springfield. She was presented with a medallion during the program at the Orr Building.
The Livingston County Extension nominated Frisby for the recognition stating, “4-H has been a part of Cathryn Frisby’s life for over 90 years. In 1929 at age 8, she joined the 4-H club in the rural Livingston County community of Avoca. Through the organization, she gained much more than learning about sewing, darning and cooking.”
Frisby and several other local teens loved their 4-H experience so much that they continued to meet as part of a Rural Youth program. Once the members started getting married, they formed the Country Couples. The group created and operated a food stand at the county fair, donating the proceeds to the local 4-H program.
Several decades later, the Country Couples continue to meet regularly, participating in educational programming. Frisby and her late husband George had three daughters – all of whom continued the 4-H tradition.
Frisby was a teacher in Fairbury for many years – first at the old Baker School northwest of town before teaching at Isaac Walton School. She then started a program for children with special needs in Peoria before returning to the area.
“When you teach, the children become your family,” Frisby said in a previous interview. “You know their troubles, you know when they’re happy and you know when they’re ill. You never forget.”
After staying home for 13 years to raise a family, Frisby taught at Fairbury’s Westview Elementary School, currently Prairie Central Elementary, until retirement.
The Illinois 4-H Foundation established the 4-H Hall of Fame in 2005 to provide an opportunity to annually recognize exceptional 4-H alumni, volunteers and former staff who have a track record of extraordinary career achievement or exemplary service to the organization. Each inductee is added to a virtual Hall of Fame listed online.
“It is a privilege for the Illinois 4-H Foundation to recognize individuals who are role models for generations to come,” Illinois 4-H Foundation executive director Angie Barnard said in a letter to Frisby.