Inducted: October 27, 1999
Her concern for the well-being of women, especially rural women, has been expressed in a wide variety of interests and programs, including educational projects to enable them to cope with a rapidly-changing, technologically-oriented world. She has been involved in Women’s Institute for more than 30 years, at Branch, District and Provincial levels.
Mrs. Eberle was a founding member of the Kent Women’s Development Day, at which speakers gave women a clearer picture of contemporary issues and problems. Her teacher training has been adapted to help farm residents of all ages.
Mrs. Eberle has led 32 4H projects; and her concern for Farm Safety not only resulted in “Looking Out for #1”, a safety unit for young people, but also in volunteer work with the Children’s Farm Safety Day Camp. She has also served as President of the Kent Farm Safety Association.
She has earned the reputation of being “a willing worker”, as well as a conscientious one. One friend explained, “If she starts something, she likes to get it done!” Family members and friends have a common theme in their praise of her: “I don’t know how she does it all!”
Mrs. Eberle was born in Chatham, the daughter of Calvin and Nancy (Campbell) Osborne. Her early schooling at S. S. 4, Howard Township (Green’s School) was followed by secondary education at Ridgetown District High School.
Determined to become a teacher, she attended Toronto Teachers’ College, staying with her aunt and uncle, Albert and Helen Campbell. That family hospitality has since been passed on to nieces and a nephew, who have lived with the Eberles, from time to time over the years.
After her graduation, Mrs. Eberle taught at S. S. 17, Harwich Township (Samson School) at Blenheim; and at S. S. 3 and 4, Orford Township, at Duart, before her marriage in 1957 to John (Jack) Eberle. Her husband and her three daughters were always her paramount interest, but she found time for a host of other projects and programs.
Mrs. Eberle held every office in the Palmyra Branch of the Women’s Institute, and was a leader in district activities. Her six years of service with the Provincial Women’s Institute as President-Elect, President and Past President coincided with a major fiscal problem, when provincial funding was withdrawn.
Mrs. Eberle has found time for other organizations. She was a founding member of Agri-Development Kent, and continued as a Director, getting satisfaction out of seeing innovative ideas translated into working projects.
Mrs. Eberle has also served as a Director of the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame, at Milton; and as a member of a Minister’s Advisory Committee during Elmer Buchanan’s stint as Ontario Minister of Agriculture and Development.
Her teaching talents have been used for adult education classes in courses like sewing, knitting and other home arts, in co-operation with St. Clair College, at Ridgetown District High School; and with Fanshawe College at Glencoe and St. Thomas.
Mrs. Eberle responded to the challenge of the International Ploughing Match in 1979 by heading the Women’s Programs. Her interest in children found expression in her work as a founding member of the Ridge KIDS Day Care Centre in Ridgetown.
An avid reader, she also worked to save the Highgate Library Branch in the wake of the restructuring of Kent and Chatham, and continues as an active and interested volunteer there. She helped organize Neighborhood Watch; and was a founding member of the Clearville Park Committee. She took the job of Chairman of COOH (Citizens of Orford and Highgate), a group determined to retain some sense of community identity in the wake of the sweeping changes resulting from restructuring.
The Eberle’s three daughters and grandchildren are: Nancy (John) Lucio, R. R. 1, Muirkirk and children Coti Lynn, Nancy Christine, Samantha Joanne and Hilary Margaret; Jacqueline (Dale) Jackson, Duart, and son, Dale Jack Stuart (D.J.); and Kathy (Bill) Smith and children Aaron William and Katharine Nicole.
Mrs. Eberle’s “outstanding achievements in contributing to farm and rural community of Kent County” were recognized with the Kent Federation of Agriculture Meritorious Service Award in February, 1997.
Friends, too, recognize her abilities. One said, “she cares, deeply for her family and the community. She is not afraid to take on anything, if she thinks it is worthwhile!”
She is, long-time associates agree, “a natural leader”.