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Arlington woman named Citizen of the Year


Ellene Kearney

In a May 8 ceremony in her honor, longtime Arlington resident Ellene Kearney was named Citizen of the Year by Arlington Lodge #129 of Free and Accepted Masons.

Kearney is known and respected throughout the dairy community, and serves on the board of the Silvana and Stanwood-Camano fairs, Enumclaw Spring Dairy Show and the Puget Sound Livestock Show and Sale. She is a superintendent at the Evergreen State Fair as well.

"Ellene has done her utmost in a dedication to youth, and her outstanding leadership has been a benefit for all youth programs," said Shirley Prouty of the Masons. "She has touched many lives and has helped to train many future leaders."

The 91-year-old was born in the Methow Valley to a family that raised dairy and beef cattle as well as orchard crops. She married Ross Kearney in 1935 and the couple began raising a family while tending to a small dairy farm in Seattle.

In 1950 the Kearneys purchased the 150-acre McGrew farm near Arlington and began a dairy operation.

As the four children grew up, Ellene Kearney encouraged their participation in 4-H and FFA. The family began to show Guernsey cattle in the Lynden, Monroe and Puyallup fairs, and even qualified to show at the Cow Palace in San Francisco and the National Guernsey Show.

At the urging of local 4-H leader Velma Strand, Kearney took over the Cloverleaf Club in 1972. Through her job as a milk tester for Snohomish County, Kearney made contacts with farmers throughout the area and their families, and the 4-H Club attracted new members and volunteers as it continued to grow.

While mentoring young people through 4-H, Kearney continued to serve on countless committees supporting the efforts of local farmers. She has been recognized by many fair boards for her selfless work, receiving the Silvana Fair Community Service Award in 1998 and 2004 and being selected as the Evergreen Fair Honoree in 1993. She has also been named a Dairy Shrine Honoree, Outstanding 4-H Leader, and she received the Al Larson Distinguished Service Award for the Dairy Herd Improvement Association in 2000.

In 2010, Kearney was inducted into the Purebred Dairy Cattle Hall of Fame.

Kearney has shifted her attention to smaller animals these days, and is a member of the Cascade Canary Breeders Association.


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