Alumni Spotlights

To Be Builders of Men
Michael Howell ’61 Carries on the Values of FarmHouse Through His Work with the STAR Project

When Michael Howell ’61 was recruited to join the Washington State Chapter, he hadn’t thought about joining a fraternity, and he wasn’t familiar with FarmHouse. But, he was impressed with the general philosophy of scholarship, the quality of the men, and the focus on a small-group experience that wasn’t about throwing parties.

He lived in the chapter house for two years, which helped him academically. “The discipline of being around people who had similar concerns about doing well in school was helpful. Ultimately, though, I went to school in order to get an education, and I really just wanted to get out and be able to earn a living as an engineer, but the leadership positions and the friendships I encountered through FarmHouse were important to me as well,” he said.

Mike graduated with a bachelor’s of science in agricultural engineering, and served two years of active duty as an officer in the U.S Army. He spent 14 years in engineering-related fields before changing careers and working as a certified financial planner and at Whitman College.

Through the years, Mike has stayed involved with the chapter primarily through visits to the chapter house to help out with projects, painting, or to attend the summer conclaves. These experiences allow him to give something back to FarmHouse and to show current students the type of success they can expect from the FarmHouse experience.

Similarly, Mike has carried the FarmHouse experience, and the FarmHouse motto—to be builders of men—into his life post-retirement. He and his wife, Linda, were looking for an organization to get involved with, and Walla Walla happened to be home to the Washington State Penitentiary. “The Good Book says, when you visit them you visit me, so we decided volunteering with the prison might be a good place to start. We got involved with transition advising, and we would go and visit with young men who were scheduled to be released. Around 80%-95% of the inmates released will become our neighbors, and we realized how little support and assistance they were getting upon release,” he said.

Mike and Linda founded the STAR (Successful Transition and Reentry) project to help provide a support system to released inmates in Walla Walla and Columbia counties. “There are three critical areas in which we try and help: to provide stable, clean, sober housing; training to help them make better decisions; and job training and support. Our recidivism rate is below the state’s average, and we are helping individuals and building men for life outside prison,” he said.

Mike and his wife, Linda, live in Walla Walla, and have been together since high school. They have two sons and three grandchildren. Mike has been retired now for 16 years, and in addition to his work with the STAR project, he plays trumpet in the Walla Walla community band, is involved at church and with the local Lion’s Club, plays some golf, and customizes and restores old automobiles. You can connect with Mike at mehowell@charter.net.


Remembering John G. Reagan ’60

John G. Reagan ’60 entered Chapter Grand on May 16, 2015, after battling an aggressive form of Parkinson’s for several years. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Anne, and his son, Kevin. John and Anne had two sons, but John was predeceased by his youngest son, Brian. Kevin is a project manager for Master Millwork in Puyallup, Wash., and Brian was a bookstore manager and volunteer mountaineering ranger in Anchorage, Alaska, until he was killed in a plane crash on Denali (formerly known as Mount McKinley) in June of 2000. Brian’s name, along with two other volunteer mountaineers and a pilot who were killed in the plane crash, is on the National Parks Service Wall of Honor in Washington, D.C. Their oldest son, Kevin, was able to make monthly visits to Prescott Valley, Ariz., to visit his dad for the last eight months before his passing.

John spoke fondly of his days as a member of the Washington State Chapter of FarmHouse throughout his life. He was an active member of FarmHouse Washington State from 1960 through 1962, during which he served as vice president of the Greek and Political Action Representatives Committee. From 1963 to 1965, John was in active duty as a second lieutenant in Army Artillery and was later promoted to first lieutenant before joining the Michigan National Guard. He resigned commission as captain of the Field Artillery Division from the Michigan National Guard in 1969. John earned his bachelor’s of science in agriculture from Washington State and went on to obtain a Ph.D. in food science from Michigan State University in 1967.

After graduating from Washington State University, John kept in touch with Wayne Engstrom ’60 and George Bluhm ’59. John and Anne enjoyed wonderful trips together, often visiting Wayne and George along the way. In addition to keeping in touch with his closest FarmHouse brothers, John donated to FarmHouse Washington State a few years before his passing, and his wife pledged $10,000 and set up a memorial fund at FarmHouse Washington State, called the John G. Reagan Memorial Endowment Fund. The investment is included in the Live. Learn. Lead. initiative that was created to ensure that FarmHouse continues as a growing, progressive, and successful values-based fraternity with the mission of building the leaders of tomorrow.

The purpose of the John G. Reagan Memorial Endowment Fund is to support the educational programs and projects of the Washington State FarmHouse Chapter. The Fund will provide funding for the chapter’s attendance at FarmHouse International Fraternity leadership training programs; travel expenses associated with leadership and educational seminars; academic scholarships; computer technology; the educational portion of chapter house construction, maintenance and/or remodeling; and other educational programs and projects to the extent that tax laws permit.

“We are honored and grateful to Anne for establishing a permanent endowment fund in John’s memory,” Allison Rickels, execu-tive director of the FarmHouse Foundation, said. “It is very generous and thoughtful of her to do in recognition and remembrance of John’s FarmHouse involvement and passion for his Fraternity. John’s legacy will live on in FarmHouse forever and will make a lasting, permanent difference on the educational opportunities for members of the Washington State Chapter.”

Those wishing to make a memorial gift to the John G. Reagan Memorial Endowment Fund (gifts are tax deductible) may do so online at www.farmhouse.org/foundation/making_gift.htm or by mail at 7306 NW Tiffany Springs Pkwy, Suite 310 Kansas City, MO 64153.



Congratulations, Wayne Engstrom ’60!

2016 Master Builder Award Recipient

At the 2016 FarmHouse Conclave in Denver, Wayne Engstrom ’60 was one of six recipients of the Master Builder Award for his work with the WSU FarmHouse Chapter. The Master Builder Award is the highest honor bestowed on a FarmHouse alumnus by the International Fraternity. Wayne is only the second alumni student member of the WSU Chapter to receive this honor.

“I think it was a mistake, and I don’t know why they gave me the award,” Wayne said humbly and with a chuckle. “It was a great honor to receive the award, and I truly appreciate it.”

Although Wayne insists that there are a lot of people who are more deserving of the award and that the other recipients did more than he did, he graciously accepted the honorable award at the 49th Biennial FarmHouse Conclave in August. “It was an honor to stand up with recipients from the other chapters,” he said.

Wayne joined FarmHouse WSU as a sophomore, after Max Jensen ’58, who was an associate member at the time, a great mentor to him, and a professor in the agricultural engineering department, recruited him to meet the FarmHouse brothers. Although Wayne didn’t have any intention of joining a fraternity during college, he felt he could fit in with the men at Farm- House WSU and truly enjoyed their company. “I met some great brothers that made me want to stay a part of the brotherhood,” he said. “If I were to do it all over again, I would most certainly join FarmHouse.” Wayne was on the alumni board for the WSU Chapter for many years, serving as president and treasurer.

Since graduating from WSU more than 50 years ago, Wayne has stayed in touch with a few of his closest brothers, taking trips to visit them, as well as going on cruises with brothers and their wives. Wayne and his wife, Wilma, live in Spokane, Wash. If you would like to reconnect with Wayne, he can be reached at waengstrom@gmail.com.



FarmHouse Values, Ideals, and Friendships Flourish for a Lifetime
Lloyd Slusser ’61 Highlights Positive Experience at Washington State

FH&WSU_S16NL_LLOYDSLUSSERIn the fall of 1958, Lloyd Slusser ’61 was a freshman at Washington State College (which later became Washington State University), and he was encouraged by FarmHouse Washington State member Mike McMackin ’56 to participate in fraternity recruitment. Lloyd was impressed by the men in the Washington State Chapter, especially by their achievement of the fraternity scholarship plaque six of the eight semesters since the chapter had formed and established itself on campus. Taking Mike’s advice and following his intuition, Lloyd joined FarmHouse and is still reaping the many benefits of brotherhood after more than 50 years of membership at Washington State.

During Lloyd’s time living in the Washington State chapter house, he was greatly impacted by the presence of Orville Vogel, Nebraska ’29. Orville was a co-founder of the Washington State chapter and instrumental in the building process for the chapter house, as well as a professor, and an internationally known and highly recognize wheat breeder. “He was a humble, down-to-earth man who exemplified all of the ideals of Farmhouse,” said Lloyd. “He cared deeply about the organization as well as its individual members, and he was always available anytime to listen and help.”

The lessons learned, values established, agricultural interests explored, and FarmHouse brotherhood bonds made during Lloyd’s time as an undergraduate member played a vital role in all aspects of his life. Lloyd took time off from school for military service, and then he worked for several years in the Plant Pathology Department at Washington State University. Lloyd returned to his studies and graduated with a degree in horticulture in 1967. In 1979, Lloyd and his wife, Donna, opened a small greenhouse and nursery business, which they ran for 17 years.

Staying connected to FarmHouse Washington State has been important to Lloyd since he joined. Lloyd is still in touch regularly with several of his pledge brothers after more than 50 years. “I urge all of you to keep in contact with your friends as you become alumni, and visit your local chapter whenever possible,” he said. In addition to keeping in touch with pledge brothers, Lloyd also served as chapter advisor during the 1970s and 1980s. “It was a good experience to help them for the rest of their lives,” shared Lloyd.

An active alumni association also provided a great deal of support and guidance when Lloyd held the position of chapter advisor. “Those members were an invaluable resource, and their input was helpful and important when I needed it,” Lloyd said. “I will always be grateful to them for being a part of the alumni team at Washington State University.”

Lloyd and his wife live on part of his homestead family farm in Palouse County of eastern Washington, eight miles from Pullman, Wash. They have three children together; their son, Larry Slusser ’88, is also a member of the Washington State Chapter. Since retiring, Lloyd has been the bookkeeper for his wife’s livelihood as a quilt teacher and author. In his spare time, Lloyd enjoys golfing, gardening, and taking care of their expansive land. “FarmHouse has been an important part of my life, from my college days to the present,” said Lloyd, “and its high standards and ideals have guided me through all adventures in my life.” E-mail: quilterd@pullman.com

 



From Charter Member to Proud Alumnus

Hank Husby ’55 Reflects on the Values of FarmHouse

60th-Hank HusbyAs a charter member of FarmHouse at WSU, Hank Husby ’55 has watched the fraternity grow and flourish since 1954. The wholesome values and “good, clean farm boys” brought Hank into a fraternity that would help him become a confident gentleman and provide him with years of unforgettable memories.

College is a time of exploration and personal development, and for Hank it was a time of transformation. “I was very much a country guy, not a social butterfly,” Hank said. Through FarmHouse, he was able to cultivate the skills he needed to become more social and outgoing. FarmHouse and Washington State helped him build relationships with his peers, coworkers, and superiors throughout his life and career.

Etiquette, how to be a gentleman, and leadership are three values of the fraternity Hank acquired during his time as an undergraduate—all of which he is proud to see are still reflected in the chapter’s current membership. In returning to the chapter as an alumnus, he was delighted to see FarmHouse upholding these traditions and beliefs, saying, “I’m proud of how my brothers relate to others and the leadership traits they possess.”

Alumni offer a wealth of knowledge, not only in their experiences with the fraternity, but in life. To strengthen the already strong leadership skills of FarmHouse members, Hank urges the fraternity to capitalize on its alumni’s knowledge through mentorships with the undergraduate members. “There needs to be a relationship between the generations,” Hank said.

Hank still tries to stay connected to his brothers by returning to the chapter house for class reunions. “Being with the guys this summer at the 60th reunion was such a blessing,” Hank said, “It was a real treat to be with these young alumni.”

Hank and his wife, Joan, reside in Stanwood, Washington, where they spend time tending to their vegetable and flower garden and traveling to visit family. He has seven children, over 15 grandchildren, and over 15 great-grandchildren. E-mail: hjhusby@frontier.com


 

FarmHouse Lessons Equip Vic Stokes ’73 with the Tools for Success

As owners of Stokes & Stokes Cattle Ranch, Vic Stokes ’73 is no stranger to hard work and dedication. Vic’s commitment to the Washington State Chapter as an undergraduate equipped him with many of the skills for being a leader in the animal agriculture industry.

Vic always enjoyed the atmosphere and the camaraderie that FarmHouse offered, prompting him to proudly live in the chapter house for all of his undergraduate years. During these years, Vic not only worked hard to complete his degree in animal sciences, but he also learned lessons that would serve him professionally for years to come. “Learning how to live with men with a wide range of backgrounds helped temper me. I quickly learned that you have to be part of the solution if a problem arises.”

The lesson of getting along with people you may not always agree with has served Vic throughout his life. Much of Vic’s tactful ability to craft responses to his ranch’s natural disaster devastation has stemmed from his experience as a FarmHouse member and his role as chapter advisor after graduating. “In my professional life, I’ve had to deal with a number of agencies that manage natural resources important to our ranch. I’ve learned to listen thoughtfully before I speak. This may have not been the case when I was a FarmHouse undergraduate, but it laid the foundation for who I am today.”

Vic is proud to see that the current FarmHouse undergraduates still display great commitment to learning from their fraternal experience. In April, a group of active brothers visited the Stokes Ranch to help Vic, Blake Stokes ’00, and Kent Stokes ’06 rebuild a fence that had been destroyed due to fire damage. “Spending time with these brothers allowed me to look back to nearly 40 years ago—the faces changed, but the dedication and the antics were extremely similar,” Vic said.

Vic and his wife, Carrie, reside in Twisp, Wash., where most of his time is consumed by running his ranch. He is proud to share his FarmHouse brotherhood and his cattle ranch with his sons, Blake and Kent. E-mail: beavercreek@methownet.com



Kevin Johnston ’84 Advances FarmHouse Improvements

How Kevin’s Journey Continuously Leads Him Back to FarmHouse

Kevin Johnston 2Kevin Johnson ’84 hit the ground running as an undergraduate, holding the offices of social chairman, vice president, president, rush chairman, and pledge trainer. Kevin’s time at FarmHouse was the best of his life. He takes great pride in the quality of men at FarmHouse, their commitment to values, and their true unification as brothers. “The men of FarmHouse took the time to sit down to dinners as a group and even said grace before the meal. Values important to my family were upheld among FarmHouse members.”

Despite happy memories, Kevin and his brothers faced serious challenges at FarmHouse. As the first dry house on the WSU campus, with a membership of only 11 men, FarmHouse was ranked last in WSU fraternity grades when Kevin and Jeff Miner ’84 took on the challenge of recruitment during their senior year. Kevin and Jeff found quality men, doubled the size of FarmHouse from 11 to 22, and reached the second place ranking in fraternity grades after only one term. “We worked to find men with a vision for the future, who wanted to join a journey. We set our sights high and shared a vision of where we were going without any reservation about where we ranked.”

FarmHouse gave Kevin and many others the opportunity to develop disciplined study ethics, responsible house management skills, and strong leadership qualities. “One of my undergraduate professors at WSU used to tell us, ‘Don’t let your classes get in the way of your education.’ FarmHouse provided us with a real education: people skills, interpersonal communication, leadership and the importance of working together. Looking back now I realize how my FarmHouse experiences helped in my professional maturation.”

Following the completion of his course work from WSU, Kevin took an unpaid internship with a parks department in Clallam County. After being promoted to programs specialist, he was responsible for a multimillion-dollar recreation facility and its associated program and then after only a year in the field he was promoted to the district’s assistant director. Kevin was recruited and returned to WSU as a faulty member in 1991 after only three years working in the profession. He taught life guarding, water safety, and boating safety courses in the Department of Physical Education, Sports, and Leisure Studies. In addition to returning to WSU, Kevin also returned to FarmHouse as the live-in advisor. This opportunity provided Kevin with a second level of quality FarmHouse friendships and experiences.

After a diverse career as an instructor at Washington State University for 12 years and a faculty member and coordinator of the University of Idaho accredited recreation program for eight years, becoming the editor and first author of the Encyclopedia of Aquatic Codes and Standards, and offering his services as legal consultant for water-related injury cases and risk assessment through his consulting firm (which he still does), it was time for a new challenge.

Kevin operators a general contractor company in Pullman, IDH Builders Inc./It’s Done Honey Renovation LLC. Kevin has yet again returned to FarmHouse as the contractor for FarmHouse’s recent house renovation projects. He makes a point of hiring active FarmHouse members onto his staff, creating a third level of FarmHouse friendships. “I am proud to see the same quality men at FarmHouse as when I was an undergraduate. I couldn’t complete all of my projects without the committed FarmHouse members on my staff.”

Kevin remains close friends with Gary Stuckle ’85, Jeff Miner ’84, Trent Amonett ’87, John Semrau ’84, and Devin Dekker ’85. He sees other brothers at WSU games, but would love to see more engagement from alumni who are around his age. Kevin urges alumni brothers to connect with him on Facebook, contact him when they are in the Pullman area, and even notify him if they are interested in a reunion. “I want to show alumni the chapter house so they can see what looks great and what still needs alumni support. I understand people get busy, but with FarmHouse it’s easy to pick up where you left off.”

Above all, Kevin is a committed and quality father. He and his wife, Karen, have two children, Kurtis (11) and Karli Anna (9). Kevin devotes free time to activities like swimming, hiking, and bike rides with his kids. E-mail: aquaproklh@aol.com


A Lifetime of Loyalty
Wayne Steffen ’73 Shares His History of Dedication to FarmHouse

Wayne SteffenWayne Steffen ’73 was first introduced to the men of FarmHouse by his sisters. As a high school senior, he visited WSU in the spring and stayed at FarmHouse. That summer, Wayne was invited to a recruitment function and accepted an invitation to pledge. This decision sparked a lifetime of loyalty to FarmHouse.

As an undergraduate, Wayne took on the roles of song leader, corresponding secretary, pledge trainer, and president. He took pride in singing in the FarmHouse barbershop chorus and continuing a string of victories at Mom’s Weekend Songfest. One of Wayne’s favorite memories is converting the house into a speakeasy for a Roaring’ 20s-themed dance. He lived in the house all four years, cherishing the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live in a fraternity. He was honored to receive the Doane Award as a senior.

Wayne’s undergraduate experience provided him with skills and values that have been crucial in his career and personal success. “I learned the importance of working as a team to achieve large goals. The house showed me the value of service to others. I learned how to be less selfish and how to adapt to new living arrangements, new ideas, and new opportunities.”

After graduating from WSU, Wayne accepted a management trainee position at Safeway’s Salt Lake City milk plant. Promotions and transfers took Wayne to milk plants in Omaha, Nebraska, and Moses Lake, Washington. Wayne moved to Safeway’s manufacturing head office in Walnut Creek, California where he led teams implementing business systems and created a warehouse management system. After 36 years with the company, Wayne retired and now owns a home-based travel agency.
For brothers who are just beginning their careers, Wayne suggests getting involved in as much as you can. He urges young professionals to actively seek the new lessons that await them in the workplace. “Don’t fear the unknown but plan your actions, implore others to join you, and put in the hard work it takes to be a success.”

His talent for renewing alumni friendships led to Wayne’s two terms as Washington State Alumni Association district director for northern California, which was selected as the best alumni district two times. He was selected to serve on the newly formed FarmHouse Alumni Association relations committee in 2010 and served one term as chairman. This has afforded him the pleasure of meeting many more of the outstanding men of FarmHouse from the Washington State chapter and across our international fraternity.

Wayne has treasured the opportunity of swapping life stories with the men before his time and after at FarmHouse. “During rough times, alumni remind each other of our fraternity principles, helping us all to remember where our foundation came from.”

In addition to running Steffen Travel agency, Wayne enjoys being a private pilot and acting in community theater, commercials, and some small movie and television roles. He and his wife, Brenda, have two daughters, Jacqueline MacKusick and Michele Steffen. Wayne and Brenda provide childcare to their two grandsons two days a week. Wayne proudly shares that both his grandsons’ first sentence was, “Go, Cougs!” E-mail: stefwd@aol.com

 

 

FarmHouse at Washington State University • Copyright © 2017
WSU FarmHouse Association • 9116 E. Sprague #367 • Spokane Valley, WA 99206
Twitter Facebook