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Howard W. Nash honored for lifelong commitment to dairy


The late Howard W. Nash, a lifelong resident of Orange Township in Ionia County, MI, was recently honored by the Michigan Dairy Memorial and Scholarship Foundation (MDMSF) at Michigan State University (MSU) for his years of interest in and commitment to the dairy industry. Nash passed away in 2012 at the age of 93.

Nash, the oldest of seven children, was born in 1919 and raised on his parents’ dairy farm. As soon as he was old enough, he started showing dairy cattle at the Ionia Free Fair, selling the animal at the fair’s annual 4-H auction to save up money for his future education.

Nash’s participation in Future Farmers of American in high school influenced his decision to enter the farming profession. In 1936, he was one of eight members of his program’s dairy cattle judging team that won the state FFA contest. The victory earned the team a chance to compete at the national competition later that year in Kansas City, Kan., which they won. Nash used the partial scholarship he received from winning the judging championship to attend the Michigan State University short course starting in the fall of 1936. His studies concentrated on dairy farming.

In April 1945, Nash married Josephine Heator. The couple raised three children, Dwight, Sherry Jo and Teresa. They had eight grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren, and were lifetime members of the Levalley United Methodist Church in rural Ionia County.

Together Howard and Josephine farmed an 80-acre farm in Orange Township in Ionia County, where they raised Holstein dairy cattle, hogs and chickens, as well as hay, beans, wheat, oats, born and sorghum. Howard retired from farming in 2009 when the couple sold the farm to their grandchildren.

Nash frequently attended the Lake Odessa Livestock Auction and worked there in his later years. He was also employed by the Allis Chalmers parts warehouse in Lansing during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, and was actively involved in an artificial breeders cooperative in Ionia.

Recognizing a dairy industry leader for their service and contributions through the MDMSF requires a gift of $1,000 to the MDMSF, an 8 X 10 photo, and a one-page biography about the honoree. Honorees (or family members when an award is presented posthumously) are personally recognized by the Foundation at an industry or MDMSF event. The names of honorees are inscribed on a plaque on display in Anthony Hall at MSU, their biography and photograph are kept in permanent records in the MSU Department of Animal Science, and photographs of honorees are displayed at the MSU Pavilion.

To learn more about recognizing a dairy industry leader through the MDMSF, contact any MDMSF board member or Dr. Miriam Weber Nielsen at 517-432-5443 or  For information on supporting student scholarships, please contact the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources External Relations at 517-355-0284.