Inducted: November 1, 1995
Stan Wonnacott has quietly but effectively helped agriculture make amazing progress in Kent, through increased productivity, better protection against disaster and strong farm organizations.
He has brought to everything he has done an integrity, a dedication to the highest ethical standards and a practical application of the Golden Rule that have made him a popular farm leader and a prized friend.
One long-term associate said of him, "Stan is a born researcher. He has always wanted to find improved varieties and better farm management methods to increase farm income; and he has always been ready to share what he has learned." Another friend said: "Stan could never do anything that would harm anyone!"
Mr. Wonnacott was involved as a co-operator with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food in a five-year high-yield corn plot, its object, 200-bushel-per-acre corn. Some initially scoffed at this objective, but it has since been reached.
Mr. Wonnacott was born in 1922 in Raleigh Township, the son of Frederick and Annie Wonnacott. He received his elementary education in Raleigh Township, and attended Chatham Collegiate Institute and Chatham Vocational School.
From his youth, he manifested a keen interest in every aspect of farming, and in the organizations that put farmers in a better bargaining position. He was a Director of the Kent-Elgin Potato Co-op from 1945 to 1949; President of the Raleigh Junior Farmers in 1949, and President of the Kent Juniors Farmers a year later. He was a Provincial Director of Junior Farmers from 1950 to 1952.
Mr. Wonnacott was an active member of the Kent Soil and Crop Improvement Association, its President in 1962 and a Director of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association from 1966 to 1969. In that same busy period, he was a Director of the Ontario Burley Tobacco Growers' Marketing Board and Vice-Chairman in 1967.
Some indication of the degree of his dedication is found in the fact that he was also an active member of the Kent County Beef Improvement Association, and its President in 1967. A friend said, "No matter what he was doing, he always worked hard and conscientiously. It was impossible for him to do anything but his best."
Mr. Wonnacott was a Director of the Kent County Seed Growers' Association in 1961, and its Secretary-Treasurer in 1963. In addition to the five-year high-yield corn tests, he was a long-standing co-operator with government in corn and soybean variety trials and in hybrid corn performance trials.
Government and business often tapped his knowledge of agriculture. He was a member of the Ontario Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario from 1970 to 1982; an advisor to the Ontario Farm Family Advisory Program of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food; a fieldman for the Federal Farm Debt Review Board in 1986; and was appointed to the Bank of Montreal Agricultural Advisory Panel in 1987.
Mr. Wonnacott was named a Robertson Associate by the Canadian Seed Growers' Association in 1967. His family farm, Wonnacott Farms Ltd., was incorporated in 1965, one of the first in Kent.
Mr. Wonnacott has also been a leader and hard worker in community and municipal affairs. He served as a member of Raleigh Township Planning Board and Planning Advisory Committee from 1969 to 1987. He is a member of St. Thomas Anglican Church, Dover, and was Peoples' Warden for five years. He was a member of the Bishop's Men of the Anglican Diocese of Huron.
Mr. Wonnacott is married to the former Betty Marshall of Merlin. They have two sons, John (deceased) and Wayne, and five grandchildren.
Those who have known him speak of his unfailing kindness. Among his other qualities and talents is the ability "to think well on his feet."
"He thinks things out--he doesn't rush into things. He has a lot of common sense!"