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University of Illinois Extension serving Henry, Mercer, Rock Island and Stark Counties

Main Office (Rock Island County)
321 W 2nd Avenue
Milan, IL 61264
Phone: 309-756-9978
FAX: 309-756-9987
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00am to 4:30pm

Branch Office (Henry-Stark County)
358 Front Street
Galva, IL 61434
Phone: 309-932-3447
FAX: 309-932-3454
Hours: Monday-Friday 8am to 4:30pm (Closed from 12 - 1 pm)

Branch Office (Mercer County)
2106 SE Third Street
Aledo, IL 61231
Phone: 309-582-5106
FAX: 309-582-7338
Hours: Monday-Friday 8am to 4:30pm (Closed from 12 - 1 pm)

News Release

Mercer County Home and Community Education Celebrates 100 Successful Years

On Thursday, May 18, 2017, the Mercer County Home and Community Education met for its 100th Annual Meeting! The Anniversary Dinner was held at the College Avenue Presbyterian Church in Aledo, at 6:00pm. There were more than 50 people in attendance, including special guests: 

1.      Jane Chapman, the state president of the Illinois Association of Home and Community Education

2.      Jenny Garner, county director of the Henry, Mercer, Rock Island, and Stark Counties Home Extension

3.      Mary Turner, a former home advisor from Mercer County Extension,

4.      Linda Tank, the granddaughter of Elsie Gildersleeve, the very first home advisor for Mercer County Home Improvement Association

5.      Sue Edwards, daughter of Evelyn Shirer Dunlap, another home advisor of the MC Extension

6.      Mary Bischoff, daughter of Dorothy Mayhew who was a former past president of MCHCE  

7.      Diane Federow and  Barbara Patterson from Warren County HCE and Emma Hoke and Nancy Edlund from Rock Island County HCE. 

The program was a tribute to the past home advisors and to the Rich history of the Mercer County Home Improvement Association, the Home Bureau, the Home Bureau Federation, Homemakers Extension Association, and the Home and Community Education of the University of Illinois Extension today.  Our current HCE president, Cara Ausmus, presented a memorial service for 4 members who had passed this past year and honored the members who have been members for 50, 45, 40, 35, 30 years and so on down the line.  As part of our program, several guests in attendance had prepared a speech to share with others. 

Jenny Garner related the history of the Home Bureau and the Home Extension.  She spoke of the importance of all the programming that the Extension provides for the small rural communities across Illinois and how the Extension has had to change its major focus from rural to an urban environment because much of Illinois’ population has grown from small rural communities to urban settings, with new challenges to solve. 

Linda Tank paid tribute to her grandmother, Elsie Gildersleeve, who was the first home advisor in Mercer County.  She began her duties in 1918, with a degree in Home Economics from the University of Illinois.  Her first lessons were food demonstrations and how to preserve fruits and vegetables from the garden in “Can All You Can”.  She also described working with chickens and culling poultry. 

Next on the agenda was Sue Edwards.  She paid tribute to her mother, Evelyn Shirer Dunlap.  She spoke of the four years that her mother was home advisor and how she managed to present lessons to every unit every month during her 4-year tenure—quite an accomplishment of dedication. 

Our next speaker was Marcia Duncan.  She paid tribute to Grace Pattison who was one of the charter members of Mercer County Home Bureau and also a charter member of Ohio Grove Unit which was one of the earliest units to form in Mercer County.  Mrs. Duncan’s mother-in-law, Ida Duncan, was an early member of the Home Bureau—Home Extension and also served as president of Mercer County Home Bureau. 

Lastly, our state IAHCE president, Jane Chapman, was our speaker.  She began by thanking all who served the dinner.  The young men and women were most appreciative of the acknowledgement.   She, then, began by telling of her experiences as a 4-H leader and working with youth.  She told us about the State Board and how dedicated these individuals are to providing programs that teach and providing the materials and essentials needed to make the programs work.  She related the benefits of HCE and how the lessons provide us with new learning experiences.  She encouraged us to ask those around us in the community to become a part of this organization—making us prosper and grow.  “We are stronger together,” she says.


Local Contact: Jenny Garner, County Director,