Inducted: November 29, 1989
Prof. J.C. Steckley had the reputation for being first in many things, among them the first to recognize the need for a Western Ontario Agricultural School at Ridgetown.
Prof. Steckley graduated from the Ontario Agricultural College in 1911; and after years as an Agricultural Representative with the Ontario Department of Agriculture, he returned to the College as Head of the Animal Husbandry Branch from 1922-1934. He succeeded Dr. W.R. Reek as Director of the Western Ontario Experimental Farm at Ridgetown in 1937.
It was a time when important research and testing were being undertaken in the feeding and breeding of hogs. The information garnered from this experimental work was passed on to the farming community at Farmers' Weeks, originally held in the auditorium of Ridgetown Vocational School.
Prof. Steckley was involved in this experimental- educational program, and in the Experimental Farm's production of parent stocks for the first corn hybrids grown in Ontario. The single crosses which produced the four-way Canada hybrid seed corn varieties were distributed under his direction.
From the time he came to Ridgetown, Prof. Steckley wanted to see an agricultural school established there, to give young farmers information on a more systematic basis. It was the realization of a dream when the first class of 29 students graduated from the Western Ontario Agricultural School in 1953.
The residence facility for 130 students was named in his honour.
At a testimonial for him in 1957, Dr. C.D. Graham, Ontario Deputy Minister of Agriculture, said Prof. Steckley had been first in many things. "He was the first to see the need for Junior Farmers, the first to see the need for judging teams and the first to see the need for an agricultural school in this area. "Prof. Steckley was known as "the best judge of livestock in Ontario."
Prof. Steckley saw the Western Ontario Experimental Farm change from a demonstration experimental concept to an "applied research station for field crops and livestock and poultry conforming to southwestern Ontario conditions."