ELKHART COUNTY — Dean Morehouse, New Paris, a Milford native and graduate of Milford High School, has been named the 2017 Elkhart County 4-H Fair Parade grand marshal. The announcement was made by Jill Garris, 2017 Elkhart County 4-H Fair Board president Wednesday evening, April 12. Morehouse will lead off the annual parade Sunday, July 23.
“It’s a great honor,” said Morehouse, who was not surprised at the honor. “She (Jill Garris) had asked me when she started as president if I would,” said Morehouse who had agreed at that time.
During Garris’ announcement she noted Morehouse “is the fourth generation in his family to farm the land in Jackson Township along US 6. He along with his sons and now grandsons work together to farm over 1,600 acres in the New Paris area.
“He and his late wife, Eleanor, began farming over 60 years ago. They originally had a dairy operation close to Leesburg but moved north twice and eventually wound up on the family farm in 1969.
“Father of four children; two sons — Mike and Matt, both of New Paris and two daughters, Michelle Schmidt, Bristol and Melanie Mason, Blissfield, Mich. — all were involved for 10 years in the 4-H program. He is a grandfather of 11 and great-grandfather of nine. This family’s involvement in and passion for the 4-H program is very similar to my own family’s and it truly embodies my theme this year — ‘4-H … Generations of Farm Fresh Family Fun.’”
Garris also shared Morehouse has served on the Jackson Township Advisory Board, a Federal Land Bank director, member of the ASCS board, served two six-year terms on the Elkhart County Extension Board, was a township firefighter for more than 20 years and attends First Brethren Church in New Paris. He has been involved in the New Paris Lions Club for more than 50 years and due in part to his commitment and involvement, received that organization’s highest honor — the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award. In 1976, his family was named Farm Family of the Year by the Ag Society and in 1989, they were selected as a 4-H Family of the Year. In 1994, he was honored as New Paris Citizen of the Year.
The Morehouse family homestead received an Ag Beautification Award in 1997, and in 2008, he and his wife were cited with the Friend of Extension Award. That same year, he also received the Uncle Elmer Award, which honors an individual who gives back to the community and serves others.
“He has served alongside all of us on our fair board for 31 years, was president in 1995 and in 2005 was inducted into the hall of fame by the Indiana Association of Fairs Festivals and Events,” said Garris. Additionally, “Morehouse was instrumental in getting our dream of a bridge to cross Rock Run Creek to become a reality in 2015.
“After the passing of my father in 1986, I latched on to this man as a mentor and surrogate father and I would imagine to this day, he regrets his decision to allow me to do so,” said Garris.
Morehouse currently serves on the board as a past president, serves on the building and grounds committee, long range planning committee and bid committee.