Joe Sicer Eulogy

In memory of
Joe W. Sicer
June 11, 1902 - March 23, 2000

presented by
James R. Foster
March 28, 2000

Written by James R. Foster, Robert L. Hogue, and Mark A. Russell

Rotary lost a dear friend and supporter last Thursday, March 23, 2000, at 1;30 p.m., St. Anthony's Health Care, with the passing of Joe W. Sicer, he would have been 98 on June 11th.

Joe was born on June 11, 1902 in New Albany, IN (Clark County). While in high school, he was actively raising and breeding Road Island Red chickens. Joe then ventured way up north to Purdue University where he graduated with a B.S. in Poultry Science in 1923. Following graduation he returned to the family farm, Chickhaven Poultry Farm and Hatchery and continued in the breeding and raising of chickens.

While operating the farm he served as Director of the Indiana State Poultry Association, and later served as its Secretary. He was also President of the Indiana Record of Performance Poultry Breeders Association for 12 years, promoting breeding lines of chickens which layed at least 200 eggs/bird/year.

In 1941 he was hired as a Poultry Extension Specialist at Purdue, sold the hatchery in Clark County, and returned to West Lafayette.

During World War 11, Joe developed a Poultry School of the Air. That's right, a true pioneer of distance education! He and L.A. "Tiny" Wilheim broadcast programs over the radio waves and customers mailed back in their assignments.

He developed county rural poultry schools, poultry economic farm management business plans, and was active in the 4-H Poultry Club, judging poultry and egg contests in both state and national programs.

Professionally Joe was recognized for many accomplishments:

  • Poultry Science Association Extension Award in 1950 and was made a Fellow of that Association in 1965;
  • Joe and another great Rotarian, Eric Holm, along with J. Carroll Bottom and Fred Hall, founded the Purdue Extension Specialists Association in 1952 and served as Vice President in 1953;
  • National Poultry Science Association recognized Joe as an outstanding extension specialist in 1955;
  • Indiana State Poultry Association Golden Egg Award in 1964; Purdue Senior Extension Specialist Award in 1966;
  • Purdue University Cooperative Extension Specialists Association Career Award in 1967;
  • Future Farmer Honorary State Farmer in 1968; and
  • Purdue Agricultural Alumni Association Certificate of Distinction in 1994.

Joe retired from Purdue in 1968 with title of Professor Emeritus.

Throughout his entire life Joe was an active member of the Episcopal Church.

He was a member of:

  • International Poultry Science Association;
  • Alpha Gamma Rho;
  • Alpha Zeta;
  • Sigma Delta Chi and Epsilon Sigma Phi Fraternities;
  • National Association of Retired Federal Employees, serving as its President for two years; and
  • Since 1972 served as the President of the Purdue Alumni Class of 1923.

Joe had been a Rotarian in Jeffersonville, IN, for 14 years where he had served as President and Secretary, before joining the Lafayette Rotary Club on January 1, 1942, which means that he was an active Rotarian for 71 years. He was a constant financial contributor to the Club (supported the many Club activities), the Lafayette Rotary Foundation (contributor at the Double Diamond level, i.e., $10,000 or more), The Rotary International Foundation (holder of three Paul Harris Fellow recognitions), and a Benefactor of the Permanent Fund of The Rotary International foundation.

As recently as Tuesday, October 6, 1998, Joe at the age of 96 was the Club's program speaker, addressing the Club on the "History Of The Poultry Industry--Plus a Few Reflections On Other Happenings That Have Affected My Life Through 96 Years."

He contributed to Rotary in many many ways over a long and fulfilling lifetime. He will be greatly missed.

Copyright © 2000 Lafayette Indiana Rotary Club.
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