Columbiana County Agricultural Hall of Fame to enshrine four

LEFT: Fred H. Johnson; RIGHT: John L. Denny

LISBON, Ohio — Four individuals will be inducted into the Columbiana County Agricultural Hall of Fame on opening day of the Columbiana County Fair.

The contributions of John L. Denny, Charles J. Gause, Galen H. Greenisen, and Fred H. Johnson will be recognized in ceremonies at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 3 in the new Arts and Crafts Building next to the fair office.

The enshrinees’ families will also be honored and framed biographical sketches of each individual will be unveiled.

The hall of fame enshrined its first class in 2000. (A list of previous recipients appears on this page in a light blue box on the right-hand side.) All awards are presented posthumously.

John Lowell Denny
1915-2003

A father of three, with seven grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren, John Lowell Denny’s devotion to the youth in his family and the area was evident in his community involvement.

Denny, of Alliance, was instrumental in getting labor and equipment donated for the construction of Heacock Stadium at West Branch High School, and was a major contributor to the school’s auditorium.

He was active in Mile Branch Grange and West Branch Booster club and a school board member for West Branch Local Schools, and was inducted into the West Branch Hall of Fame in 2001.

Denny, of Alliance, was an active dairy, crop and beef cattle farmer in Columbiana County from 1940 to 1978. He owned two farms and rented additional fields.

Denny hired many youth to give them farming experience and encouraged them to become farmers. He always attended the Columbiana County Fair, supporting the 4-H livestock auctions and working at the Bethel Church/West Branch Booster Club concession tent.

Denny was also a respected businessman in the community. He owned and operated Denny John Deere dealership from 1940 to 1967 and won many awards for sales and production.

He was progressive in his farm management style and worked to improve drainage by improving ditching and tilling.

He was also a member of Farm Bureau, Bethel Church and Knox Ruritan.

To honor his commitment to youth in agriculture, Denny’s family has set up a scholarship in his name for two seniors graduating from West Branch High School planning to study agriculture.

Charles James Gause
1909-1995

Charles J. Gause devoted his life to improving the agricultural community in Columbiana County and beyond, and left lasting contributions through his public service that reach far beyond the farm.

Born in Hanover Township, he moved to Cleveland when he was 9, graduating from high school there before returning with his family to Columbiana County. Gause worked for O.S. Hill as a farm equipment salesman before branching out on his own. In 1956, he started Gause & Richey Farm Supply, an International Harvester franchise at Guilford Lake, with partner Francis Richey. The family’s farm implement dealership continues today under the Gause Equipment name. In 1963, he received the first-ever Partnership for Progress award from the state Farm Equipment Dealers Association for service and contribution to his industry and community.

The businessman, who was also an early barnstormer pilot across the Midwest, channeled his civic concerns into public office. He served first as Hanover Township trustee from 1951 to 1965, then two terms as Columbiana County commissioner. At a retirement, testimonial dinner in honor of Gause’s public service, more than 350 attended, including the late Gov. James A. Rhodes.

One of Gause’s most significant contributions, perhaps, was the 4-H tractor club he started and developed into the largest such club in the state. More than 1,200 young people learned equipment safety and maintenance under his tutelage over the years.

Gause also served as chairman of the Columbiana County 4-H Council, was president of the Hanoverton-area Civic Benefit Fund Association, president of the Guilford Ruritan Club, past vice chairman of the Northeastern Ohio Manpower Consortium, and chaired the Columbiana County Health Advisory Council.

He and his wife, Gladys, had five children.

columbiana-hofgausegreenisen.jpg

LEFT: Galen Greenisen; RIGHT: Charles Gause

Galen H. Greenisen
1906-1989

Galen Greenisen was always a role model of exemplary leadership in his community.

Greenisen was 2 when his family moved to a farm on Depot Road south of Salem. After graduating from Salem High School in 1925, he tried his hand at a few trades, but returned to agriculture in 1931 during the Great Depression.

Greenisen first traded in livestock and gradually built a dairy herd on his grandfather’s farm on South Lincoln Avenue in Salem. In 1940, he moved back home to manage the farm for his widowed mother and spent the rest of his life there.

Greenisen milked Jersey cows and bred registered Hampshire hogs and was one of the founders of the Columbiana-Mahoning Hampshire Breeders and a member of the Columbiana-Jersey Breeders. He also maintained the lineage of the original Shetland pony he rode as a young boy, which led to his interest in the Mahoning Valley Pony Breeders.

During World War II, he convinced the county machinery rationing board to authorize him to buy a Case wire-tie pickup baler and did custom baling for farmers in the northern half of Columbiana County.

Greenisen was instrumental in forming the Dairymen’s Cooperative Sales Association in 1945. As a board member, he worked to eradicate brucellosis in the county.

Greenisen served as president of the Columbiana County Fair board, managed the horse races and was announcer for parades, contests and shows. He was honored at the Ohio Fair Managers meeting in 1985 for 35 years of service to the Columbiana County Fair Board.

Greenisen was a lifelong member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and served as church council. He was active in the Community Chest, UCT, Masonic Lodge, Farm Bureau, Grange and Ruritan and was county chairman for the American Cancer Society. He was a Perry Township trustee, president of the Columbiana County Trustees and Clerks Association and served three terms as Columbiana County commissioner.

Greenisen was posthumously awarded the second Distinguished Service Award presented by the Columbiana County Farm Bureau. During the 40 years he was a member, he served four terms as president and served on the state resolutions committee.

Fred H. Johnson
1916-2007

In the hills of southern Columbiana County, one man did more to advance the Angus cattle breed than probably any other individual in the breed’s history worldwide.

Fred H. Johnson, of Summitville, attended Penn State, then served in the U.S. Infantry from 1941 to 1945, earning a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his service. He built an innovative tile manufacturing company with his brother, Pete, and threw that same business passion into developing a herd of Angus cattle with unparalleled genetics. He is also credited as one of the first in the country to develop and breed Belted Galloway cattle.

But it was the Angus breed that Johnson loved, so much so that he co-founded the Certified Angus Beef branded beef program in 1978. Today, the multinational organization sells 1 million pounds of Angus beef every three hours.

Johnson purchased his first Angus cattle in 1949 and later expanded Summitcrest Farms to include ranches in Iowa and Nebraska. He pioneered and promoted animal recordkeeping, performance and genetic testing, and emphasized carcass evaluations, and was one of the first to enroll in the National Sire Evaluation program. Cattle and semen from Summitcrest have been sold in more than 45 states and more than eight countries.

Johnson was a past director of the American Angus Association, and was appointed by the U.S. secretary of agriculture to the National Beef Promotion and Research Board, serving as the board’s first treasurer and second chairman.

He was inducted into the American Angus Heritage Foundation Hall of Fame, the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the prestigious Saddle & Sirloin Club’s Gallery Hall of Fame. In 2007, the National Cattlemen’s Foundation presented Johnson with its National Beef Industry Vision Award. The Johnson family was also named one of eight Cattle Businesses of the Century.

He also served on the Ohio Exposition Commission, which oversees the Ohio State Fair.

A dedicated community member, Fred served on the board of the Citizens Banking Co., and its successor, Sky Bank for more than 35 years. Locally, he had served on the school board, local volunteer fire department, and elder in the Bethesda Presbyterian Church. An accomplished pilot, he few many types of aircraft, including a WWII vintage P-51 Mustang he converted for civilian use.

About the Author

Farm and Dairy Editor Susan Crowell has been with the paper since 1985, serving as its editor since 1989. Raised on a farm in Holmes County, she is a graduate of Kent State University.You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/scrowell and follow Farm and Dairy at http://twitter.com/farmanddairy. You can also find her on Google+ and Facebook. More Stories by Susan Crowell

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