Meland wins state SPIRIT of CFEL Award
Edith Meland, Bison, is this year’s recipient of the prestigious statewide Spirit of CFEL award. The state organization for Community and Family Extension Leaders met in Huron last weekend for their annual convention. It was during that time that Meland was honored with the award.
Four years ago, in 2009, Edith received a 70-year pin during the annual State Convention. She has not only been a member for a very long time but she has been an active member, and, at the advanced age of 93, she continues to attend regular club meetings and activities. This past year, for example, she attended and helped host a “Community Coffee Break” in Bison, sponsored by Town and Country CFEL, her local club. She attended the Spring Council and the Area I meeting, held in Bison on April 27 where she visited with state president Cheryl Kleppin. She has attended a several state conventions in recent years.
Meland arrived late in life to the Town and Country Club. She was approaching her 88th birthday when she moved into the Homestead Heights complex in Bison, during the fall of 2007, to be nearer her daughter, Joyce Waddell, a 40+ year member of the same club. Prior to that, Meland belonged to the Cloverleaf Extension Club in Dupree, in Ziebach County, South Dakota.
It was shortly after her marriage to Barney Meland, on December 26, 1939, when she moved to the farm/ranch on the Moreau River, about 15 ½ miles from Dupree, that her neighbor Cora Anderson invited her to be a guest at a Cloverleaf meeting in Dupree. She not only accepted the guest invitation but became a member in April, 1940.
As a young bride, Edith had many things to learn and the lessons that she partook of during her Extension club meetings were beneficial. She remembers cooking lessons as well as sewing, gardening and canning demonstrations. She also learned about taking care of a husband and children and about estates and wills.
She and the other club ladies were an integral part of their community. They sponsored 4-H events, helped at rodeos, served funeral lunches and cared for the sick and elderly. Meland held several offices in the Cloverleaf Club and was the chairwoman when the club disbanded after more than 65 years as an organization.
She won ribbons for her baked breads, pies and cakes, jellies and garden produce at area fairs and she was well-known for her home-cooked meals and pies! Her home on the ranch was a welcoming place, as is her apartment in Bison. She always has the coffee pot ready and a table laden with goodies. She treasures each and every friendship.
She truly loves to visit and enjoys the experience of meeting new people. To Edith, a stranger is simply a friend whom she has not yet met!
Edith Carol Fuller was born on Christmas Day, 1919 on a farm five miles southwest of Dupree. She grew up at Red Elm – a little spot on the map between Dupree and Faith, South Dakota. Her mother was a homemaker who cared for her husband, a railroad man, and their five children. Edith, the youngest, completed the eighth grade in Red Elm and graduated from Dupree High School. She married Barney Meland in Mobridge one day after her 20th birthday. His parents were the wedding attendants.
The Melands raised three children: Judy, Ted and Joyce. Sadly, Barney, Ted and Judy are all deceased. Through all of the adversity, she has remained resilient and strong. She lives alone in her apartment and enjoys traveling with her daughter Joyce to visit her eight grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.
Her life is easier now than it was when, as a ranch wife and mother, she rode horseback, worked cattle, cared for livestock, gardened, canned, baked and worked in the fields, driving a tractor and other farm machinery. She’s been though cancer treatments, bucked off horses and bitten by a rattlesnake!
Now she’s content to stay in her apartment, except for an occasional outing. She still drives her own car to hair appointments and for groceries! She’s an avid reader, subscribing to The Rapid City Journal and every small town weekly newspaper within a 100-mile radius!
Stop by to see her. The coffee pot is always on!
Meland’s nomination was proudly submitted by her fellow club members at Town and Country CFEL: Aletha Adcock, Teddi Carlson, Mary Lee Drake, May Ellen Fried, Carolyn Hendricks, Margie Hershey, Linda Howey, Beth Hulm, Bernice Kari, Vera Kraemer, Diana Landis, Vi Leonard, Betty Ann Tufty, Joyce Waddell and Sara Weishaar.