Inducted November 13th, 2018
George and Ruth Bieber were a vital farm couple in the Palmyra area who gave generously of their time and talent to serve their community in civic and community service.
Their efforts were aimed to educate and inspire the next generation of farmers and promote agriculture in the former Orford Township.
George was born on October 17th, 1920 in Orford Township to Philip A. Bieber and Tena Anna Streib, and he died on May 5th, 2000. He graduated from S. S. #2, Orford in Palmyra and went on to farming and life long learning. On June 15th, 1946, he married Ruth Irvine, and they had six children – Merriam, Doug, Beverley, Michael, Susann and Mark. Bev passed away in March, 1985. The Biebers have 13 Grandchildren.
Ruth was born on June 28th, 1924 to Harold Irvin and Winnie Savage in Howard Township and she died on November 6th, 1996. Ruth graduated from Ridgetown High School.
George and Ruth worked together for their entire married life on their farm located on Talbot Trail in Orford Township, where George was the third generation of the Bieber family. They also extended themselves beyond their warm and loving home to the community and organizations of Kent East. They were a team.
During World War II, George served at the Royal Canadian Air Force Base at Port Hardy on Vancouver Island.
From 1951 – 1965, George served as one of the Trustees of the Palmyra Public School, S. S. #2, Orford, and was Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Orford Central School Board from 1966 – 1973.
George was a member of the Highgate District Agricultural Society, serving on the Executive for many years, and as President in 1981-82.
George was a member of the Highgate Masonic Lodge from 1947 – 2000. He also helped with the formation of the Highgate Legion Branch #335, holding various Executive positions, including President. He was a founding member of the Palmyra Community Club, and Trustee of the Community Hall from 1966 – 2000. George was also very involved with the Orford-Highgate Minor Ball Association and during his tenure with Minor Ball, the leagues were expanded to include girls' softball. He was on the Management Board for the Palmyra Baptist Church until 1983, when the building was relocated, and the site returned to farmland.
Orford Township Council benefitted from George's involvement for many years, as he served as Councillor in 1972 and as Reeve from 1973 – 1978, then as Councillor again from 1980 until 1995. In his position as Township Reeve, he served as a member of Kent County Council from 1973 – 1978. He served as a Director on the Board of Four Counties Hospital in Newbury from 1972 – 1990.
George continued his education through reading and kept current and prepared to contribute to the organizations in which he was involved. He was considered to be a hard working, productive and respected farmer who loved the renewal of life each Spring with the planting of crops and the sight of dirt fields becoming green with plants.
Ruth was a charter member of the Palmyra Women's Institute, which began in 1949 to offer members personal growth, community involvement and education. She served on all Executive positions, and convened many of the committees.
In 1969, Ruth became a 4-H Leader, leading several Homemaking Clubs, and she was also very involved with the Ladies Division of the Highgate District Agricultural Society, serving one term as President. She was an exhibitor as well as an enthusiastic worker at the annual Fair.
Ruth was also very active in the Palmyra Community Club which maintains the Palmyra schoolhouse as a community hall. Ruth had great organizational skills and generously gave her time and talent to organize social functions for the community. She also worked on various fund raisers for the community.
Ruth helped at the Highgate District Ball Park for many years, and helped with Orford's Sesquicentennial in 1977. She also helped out with the Rabies Clinics and promoted recycling at the Township Disposal Site.
She also helped to make many quilts for the needy, and for raffles. For many years, she knitted articles of clothing for the Highgate Red Cross Society.
In 1984, Ruth received an Ontario Bi-Centennial Medal in recognition of her volunteer work in the community.
George and Ruth were greatly respected in the community and were presented with the Agricultural Service Award at the Highgate Fair in 1995.
Ruth and George were a real asset to the farming community around Palmyra. At a time when communities relied on the generosity of its members, they were prepared and ready to serve their family, their neighbours, and the next generation of farmers. Truly an honourable example of the selfless dedication that helped build and support our farming area in those earlier days. On the foundation of their efforts, grow the present generation.