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John & Lucile Lough 4-H Scholarship

Deadline: March 31

Apply for a WVU 4-H Scholarship

John and Lucile Lough are like many lifelong 4-H’ers who started out in clubs as kids, became club leaders, and eventually taught their own children the traditions of “head, heart, hands, and health.”

The Bridgeport, W.Va., couple has created the John & Lucile Lough 4-H Scholarship, which will benefit two 4-H youths from Harrison, Preston, or Monongalia counties who are studying agriculture. If no youths fit that profile, current or former 4-H’ers from the three counties are eligible for the scholarship, which was awarded for the first time in fall 2009.

Congress passed a law allowing “rollovers” of Individual Retirement Accounts to be used as charitable gifts. The Loughs took advantage of the tax program, which ended Dec. 31, 2007, to make the gift.

“I think it is wonderful that the government has given us this opportunity,” said Mr. Lough. “These are life savings we made through our IRA that were tax-exempt. It’s like an extra gift, being able to give it away through our IRA.”

The Loughs know the power of a college education.

“My wife and I worked our way through college, and if we’d have had some help, it would have been a lot easier on us,” said Mr. Lough. “I can see what a college education means.”

The Loughs were 4-H’ers as youth. Mr. Lough, a Westover native, majored in dairy production and graduated from WVU in 1949, having served in Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters in Japan between his second and third year of college.

Mr. Lough paid his way through college working for Sanitary Milk Co. The company employed him every summer, and during the winter months he worked three afternoons a week in the sales room. He delivered ice cream and dairy products on weekends.

Mrs. Lough graduated from WVU with a degree in home economics in 1947. Originally from Albright in Preston County, Mrs. Lough was the oldest of five children. She first graduated from the West Virginia Business College and went to work at the Albright National Bank, always dreaming that some day she could find a way to go to WVU and study home economics.

She worked at the bank for a little over two years, when she was approached by then president of Potomac State College Ernest E. Church. Church, along with Mrs. Lough’s younger sister Marjorie, who was already attending PSC, convinced her to attend PSC.

Church gave Mrs. Lough full tuition, room, and board in return for her serving as a proctor at the PSC dormitory. Bank officials told her that she would have a job any time she would be available.

“For four years, she worked every opportunity, including vacations,” said Lough. “She then taught for two years at Point Marion High School in Pennsylvania, which helped put me through college.”

The Loughs met at Martin Hall between classes. She was taking biology, and a cousin of hers introduced them. They married in 1947, after he came out of the service.

When he graduated in 1949 from WVU, Mr. Lough wanted nothing more than to be a WVU Extension agent in West Virginia. At the time, however, WVU Extension Service could not employ two members of the same family. His uncle was Art Lough, a Summers County agent.

Charles Hartley was serving as the interim director of WVU Extension Service at the time.

“Charlie knew there was a job open in Oakland for an assistant county agent in Garrett County, Md., and he recommended me for the position,” Mr. Lough said. He worked as an assistant agent for a little over a year, and Mrs. Lough taught home economics in Kitzmiller, Md.

Then Pete Hartley, a long-time 4-H’er and supporter of the program, went to Garrett County, Md., to work on a potato project with Mr. Lough. Three months later, Hartley, who worked for the B&O Railroad, called Mr. Lough to offer him a job. Mr. Lough said he was making $2,800 a year working for Extension, but Hartley offered him $4,800 a year. It was an offer he couldn’t refuse.

So he left the Maryland Extension Service position to become an agriculture agent with the B&O Railroad. His job was promoting agricultural freight traffic on the railroad.

“One of my responsibilities was being in charge of coming up with new programs for 4-H to help youth better understand the use of feed and fertilizer,” Mr. Lough said.

In 1960, he took a job with Hope Natural Gas. He started out organizing area development departments, and by the time he retired in 1991 he had been named vice president of Consolidated Gas Transmission Co. in charge of area development, government relations, and public relations.

The couple have four children, Janice Warder, a former Dallas assistant district attorney and district criminal judge who now lives in Gainsville, Texas; John S. Lough, a West Point graduate who spent 21 years in the military and now works as a global representative for Dell Computers; Luann Hinge, a teacher, lives near Roanoke, Va.; and Nancy McKinney, the comptroller for Dial Soap, lives in Scottsdale, Ariz. Each of their children has a master’s degree or above.

Lough said he, his wife, and his children owe much to 4-H.

“This organization has been a great instrumental tool in teaching our young people social and leadership skills. 4-H gives youth an opportunity to study their lives, to think about their future careers, and how their future might fit into society,” said Lough.

The gift was made through the WVU Foundation, a private nonprofit corporation that generates and provides support for West Virginia University.