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O. Donald Meaders

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O. Donald Meaders Okemos O. Donald Meaders, 89, resident of Okemos, renowned international educator, honored as one of the nation's "premier leaders in agricultural education," and former chairman of the Department of Secondary Education and Curriculum at Michigan State University, passed away Dec. 10 in Lansing. A military burial was held on Dec. 17 at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly. Among the many awards he received were the Outstanding International Agriculture Award of the American Association of Teacher Educators in Agriculture, the Outstanding Service Award from the Association for International Agriculture and Extension Education, the Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of Teacher Educators in Agriculture, and the Outstanding International Agriculture Award from the American Association of Teacher Educators in Agriculture. He was a founder and board member of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education and served on the managing board for The Agricultural Education Magazine. A recognized pioneer in agriculture education and research efforts in Taiwan and Nepal, the Nebraska native always considered the mentoring of students from throughout the world to be his highest calling. At MSU he directed the doctoral dissertations of more than 20 students, a number of which involved groundbreaking studies in developing countries. He was born in Doniphan, Nebraska, September 6, 1923, the son of Otis and Enid Meaders. He served as a corporal in the 384th Field Artillery Battalion in World War II. Don received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Nebraska in 1947 and 1951. He earned his EdD in agricultural education with a minor in educational administration from Michigan State in 1957. Don's teaching career began in Lewiston, Nebraska, teaching high school vocational agriculture. He then taught in Wilber, Nebraska after earning his master's degree and also served as a supervising teacher for the University of Nebraska. Don worked as a consultant in vocational and agricultural education for the Michigan Department of Public Instruction 1955 - 1958. In 1958 he became an assistant professor at Michigan State in secondary education and curriculum, serving as a teacher educator in the Upper Peninsula in a resource development project; teaching, doing research, and promoting improved opportunities for youth. His work for the University took him to many places, including two years in Taiwan from 1960 to 1962 on an institutional building project as the assistant team leader and consultant on curriculum improvement at National Chung Hsing University. He returned there in 1968, 1975, and 1989 on sabbatical leaves for additional research. In 1983 he directed a five-week study tour in Taiwan, giving students from three universities a first-hand look at the agricultural developments in Taiwan. Another study tour followed in 1985 for 13 students including seven from Caribbean countries, focusing on agricultural development and education. Don also spent 18 months in Nepal from 1976 - 1977, working with vocational schools in the remote rural areas on a project through MUCIA (Midwest Universities Consortium for International Activities). His work continued with MUCIA as the chairperson from MSU for the MUCIA planning committee on Formal and Non-Formal Education for Agricultural and Rural Development in 1978. In 1987 he was one of three members of a team to evaluate the progress on an AID/World Bank project at the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science in Rampur, Nepal. Additional foreign travel included work in Trinidad and Tobago where he was a consultant to the Agricultural Teacher Education Center. In 1984 he was a speaker at the African Conference on Agricultural Education in the Cameroon. This was followed by work as an agricultural education consultant for the Caribbean reviewing programs in Antigua, Dominica, Granada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent. At Michigan State he became the chairman of the Department of Secondary Education and Curriculum in 1979 and then in 1981 transferred to the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in the department of Agricultural and Extension Education. In 1981 he was recognized by the Michigan Association of Teachers of Vocational Agriculture for his outstanding contributions to agricultural education in Michigan, nationally, and internationally. He was also recognized for Dedicated Service to the Agricultural Education Profession by the Central States Seminar. After retiring in 1990, he continued to work internationally through APPLE (American Professional Partnership for Lithuanian Education) as a volunteer leading several seminars for agriculture teachers in Lithuania. In 1990 he also traveled to China working for the United Nations Development Programme, lecturing at the Northeast Agricultural College. An additional trip followed to various colleges and universities in China for lectures and observations. In 1995 Don traveled to Latvia with the Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance, a nonprofit international economic development organization, to work with the Latvian Agricultural Advisory Service. Don was a member of numerous professional organizations including American Vocational Association (Association for Career and Technical Education), American Association of Teacher Educators in Agriculture, American Educational Research Association, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alpha Zeta Alumni Association (charter member), Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society of Agriculture, Michigan Association of Teachers of Vocational Agriculture (honorary life member), Michigan Occupational Education Association, National Association of Teachers of Vocational Agriculture (National Association of Agricultural Educators), National Society for the Study of Education, Nepal Studies Association (Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies), Phi Delta Kappa (emeritus member), Phi Kappa Phi (life member), the Society for International Development, MSU Alumni Association (life member), and the Lansing Area Farmer's Club. He was Chairman of the Committee on Innovations of the American Association of Teacher Educators in Agriculture. Don was profiled in the August 1989 issue of The Agricultural Education Magazine as "one of the premier leaders in agricultural education". He donated many books and professional materials to Africa University as well as papers to the Michigan State University archives. Don was married to Martha Hann on July 19, 1952. Throughout their 60 years of marriage they enjoyed traveling the world, and then returning home to family and friends. An avid gardener, he shared the produce of his small garden as freely as he shared his smile and joy of living. He is survived by his wife Martha of Okemos, son Paul (Cindy) of Troy, daughter Ellen Kamischke (Eric) of Traverse City, granddaughters Lana Meaders of Troy, and Rachel Kamischke (Jason Storms) of Auburn Hills, and many nieces and nephews. He was a member of the University United Methodist Church in East Lansing, serving in many roles over the years including as a member of the administrative board, a strong supporter of university student activities through the Wesley Foundation, and was presently the archivist. Don and Martha are members of the John A. Hannah Society of Michigan State University. Don was a life member of the VFW post 727, Taichung, Taiwan. The family requests that any memorials be directed to two organizations that pass on his legacy as a teacher, scholar, and friend to all: ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization, echonet.org), and PET (Personalized Energy Transport, petflorida.org/).

Published in Lansing State Journal from Dec. 30, 2012 to Jan. 2, 2013
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