Inducted: November 28, 1990
Gordon H. Rodger, of Blenheim, was a successful farm-oriented businessman, but he earned the thanks of his community and agriculture for his long and close association with Kiwanis 4-H Clubs.
Mr. Rodger was born on a farm on the Bloomfield Sideroad, Raleigh Township, and started his career digging wells and installing pumping equipment for area farmers. His original equipment was built with more ingenuity than cash. The drilling rig, assembled out of material found in scrap yards, was mounted on an old World War II vintage truck.
Mr. Rodger made the transition from well drilling to milk production in 1937, servicing both Kent and Essex dairy farmers. He installed and serviced Woods can coolers and later farm freezers, for both a rural and developing urban market.
New approaches dictated new products and, in 1957, he started selling and servicing bulk milk coolers in the two counties, as dairy farmers switched from cans to bulk handling. In 1959, Mr. Rodger was a pioneer in pipeline milking systems, which took milk from cow to cooler through hoses and stainless steel pipes.
Dairy farmers, past and present, remember that he provided milking and cooling equipment at Dresden and Ridgetown fall fairs; and furnishing stop-gap equipment when a dairy producer had a fire, a service very much appreciated in a time of crisis.
His long association with Blenheim Kiwanis 4-H clubs gave him some of his most satisfying moments. Mr. Rodger was determined to bridge the gap in thinking between rural and urban people; and Kiwanis Club meetings were sometimes adjourned early to enable members to attend 4-H meetings.
On one occasion, he took a 4-H calf into the Blenheim Hotel to illustrate a point. He presented trophies to the 4-H Calf and 4-H Field Crop clubs he supervised; and enjoyed his association with the young people, many of whom have since become outstanding farmers.
Mr. Rodger promoted the Kent County Dairy Princess Competition; and was instrumental in obtaining the Memorial Trophy for the Ontario Dairy Princess Competition.
His life membership in Kiwanis International was recognition of his outstanding work for 4-H.
In his community he was eventually known as "Mr. 4-H," a title that was a source of pride.