McNelly excited about 4-H


GREENVILLE — Joy McNelly was one of the familiar faces in the Youth Building this year during the revues of 4-Hers.

The rural Pitsburg woman also judged foods at the county judging for state fair competition last month.

She herself was a 4-H member.

“I was in 4-H for nine or 10 years with the Monroe Banners 4-H Club, now non-existent,” she said. “When I got older, I became an adviser for Monroe Banners which became the Joyful Jets 4-H Club.”

The former Joy Miller, she said her projects in 4-H involved clothing

“I do food more than clothing this time in my life,” said the daughter of the late Arlene Westfall. ” I mend more than I sew.”

A 1959 graduate of Franklin Monroe High School, she studied home economics at The Ohio State University and taught a couple of years after that.”

Later on in life, she helped her husband, Dale, on the farm. He retired from farming two or three years ago.

“We had a hog farm until 20 years ago,” she said.

It was her husband who helped introduce ridge till farming in Darke County. That involves compaction, is good for fertility, costs less to do and has to be kept manageable.

“Eric Brown,who farms for us, still does ridge tilling,” she said.

The couple has two children, Steve, who has lived in South Carolina since 1988 and works at Georgetown Paper Mill, and Kathy (wife of Pastor Donnie Hale), now living in Morrow County. She is the mother of the McNellys’ three grandchildren.

McNelly enjoys gardening and canning and is treasurer at their church, Calvary Bible Church, formerly West Grove.

The farm wife, who was a dietitian at the school for a couple of years, judged at the county judging for two years in the food area.

She has a love for 4-H.

“I get so excited because the kids get excited,” she said. “I don’t know many of them and, if I do, it’s very seldom. I encourage someone who starts a project to finish the project. 4-H is so important to their training….laundry, sewing, food, frugal when it comes to clothing and engineering.”

Her children were 4-H members.

“My son like trees and now does that, and my daughter makes baby quilts and does a lot of sewing,” McNelly said. “Kathy’s children are in 4-H, and she taught Cloverbuds for years in Franklin County before they moved to Morrow County.”

McNelly’s mother was a 4-H leader and even husband Dale was in 4-H.

The couple, who will soon be married 53 years, met at a Pitsburg Lions Club event.

By Linda Moody

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Linda Moody can be reached by calling direct at 569-4315. Be her friend on Facebook by searching her name. For more features online, go to or “like” The Daily Advocate on Facebook by searching Advocate360

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