Endowment Memorializes Local Agricultural Leader, Supports 4-H

During National 4-H Week, the Clay County 4-H Foundation celebrated T. Jesse Godbold Sr.’s lasting impact on the youth development program.

A new endowment will honor the retired UF/IFAS Extension director, supporting 4-H members’ activities for years to come.

Godbold was a champion of 4-H youth in Clay County and beyond, said Brad Burbaugh, director of UF/IFAS Extension Clay County.

“Mr. Jesse’s name is on our county’s agricultural center, and he worked to secure the grant to construct the center and fairgrounds. That’s how committed and important he was to the future of agriculture in our community. He also knew that that future depends on what our youth learn today, so this endowment is a fitting legacy,” Burbaugh said.

A 4-H and FFA member, Godbold was a graduate of the UF College of Education, majoring in agricultural education, now the agricultural education and communication major in the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS). After college, he went on to serve as the agriculture teacher at Santa Fe High School in Alachua, and then took on various county agent and director posts before becoming the director of UF/IFAS Extension Clay County, where he served for 25 years before retiring in 1996.

Godbold was a founding member of the Clay County 4-H Foundation established in 1972, serving as president and vice president. He passed away earlier this year.

“This permanent source of support for 4-H’ers will ensure Mr. Jesse’s legacy continues to inspire generations of kids to learn, lead and serve their communities,” said Robert Williams, president of the Florida 4-H Foundation.

Godbold made other notable contributions to the Florida 4-H program and the greater community. He led a team of retired UF/IFAS Extension agents to build and remodel facilities at 4-H Camp Cherry Lake, a residential summer camp serving youth from across the state. He also helped found both the Clay County Agricultural Fair and Fair Association; organized the county’s first 4-H horse program; revitalized the Clay County Cattlemen’s Association; and served the Florida Farm Bureau for more than 50 years.

If you’d like to support the Godbold Endowment in Clay County, or youth in your community through Florida 4-H, please contact Caylin Hilton at grow4h@ifas.ufl.edu or 352-392-5432.

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