Mary Kaye Merwin was born on February 27, 1942. the daughter of George and Gladys (Schnitcke) Merwin. She grew up on a farm in the Town of Linn, Walworth County. She attended Reek Elementary School and graduated from Big Foot High School. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics from UW-Stout and a
Master’s degree in Extension Education from UW-Madison. While at Stout she was active in both the Home Economics organization and Alpha Phi Sorority.
Mary Kaye was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Ernie, and nephew George.
She is survived by her sister-in-law, Becky Merwin, nephew, James Merwin, his wife, Liz and their children, Bennett and Margo.
Mary Kaye experienced 4-H at local, county, state and national levels. After 12 years as a 4-H member and following a summer 4-H Agent internship she was Waukesha 4-H Home Economist and later Rock County
4-H Agent in Wisconsin. She assisted in the creation of the UW academic Department of Youth Development.
She served as Texas 4-H Specialist and as District Supervisor for Home Economics and 4-H, assisted in the merger of staff and programs of their 1862 and 1890 Land Grant Universities.
As part of the Program Division of the National 4-H Council from 1978 – 1986 she helped move the National 4-H Service Committee from Chicago to Washington D.C. for the National 4-H Council. She provided leadership for national youth, volunteer and staff training and coordinated the National 4-H Awards programs and National 4-H Congress from 1980-1985.
From 1987-2001, Mary Kaye served as Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County, New York. There she supervised 18 Extension Agents, 25 program assistants and 10 support staff and managed a 50+ acre 4-H camp. While there, the county program and annual budget grew from $600,000 to $4.95 million. She served on the committee to establish National 4-H Urban Programs.
After retirement in 2001 she returned to Wisconsin and served on the Wisconsin 4-H Foundation Board, co-chaired the History Committee for the Wisconsin 4-H Centennial and is a citizen member of the Walworth County Board of supervisors Extension Education Committee.
She continued leadership in her community, church, alma mater, county. sorority, college roommates. state and international home economics groups.
A gathering of family and friends will be held on Friday. July 7 at the Delavan United Church of Christ, 123 E. Washington Street, visitation will begin at 9:30 AM with the Celebration of Life Service starting at 11:00 AM. Private family burial will take place at a later date at Walworth Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be given to the Delavan UCC Church or the Wisconsin 4-H Foundation, 702 Langdon Street, Madison, WI 53706.
For more information call Toynton Funeral Home at 262-275-2171.