Arlington Masons honor Kearney

ARLINGTON — Masonic Lodge No. 129 will soon name Arlington resident Ellene Kearney its “Citizen of the Year” for 2010.

The lodge, based in Arlington, is honoring Kearney for her involvement in the dairy community during a ceremony May 8.

Kearney, 91, has served on a number of fair boards for events in Silvana, Enumclaw, Stanwood, as well as for the Puget Sound Livestock Show and Sale and the Evergreen State Fair.

Dairying has always been a part of Kearney’s life — Ellene and her husband, Ross, purchased a 150-acre farm in Arlington in 1950 and the family started raising and showing cattle at various shows and fairs shortly after.

Kearney was known throughout the area for her involvement in 4-H. She took over the Cloverleaf Club, a local 4-H group, in 1972, and recruited a number of parents and community members to work with her in her efforts.

While her club grew, Kearney worked for 10 years as a milk tester for Snohomish County, which helped local farmers better follow breed lines.

Kearney received a number of awards for her work, including outstanding 4-H leader at the 100 years of 4-H forum in 2001, the Al Larson Distinguished Service Award for the Dairy Herd Improvement Association in 2000 and received the Purebred Dairy Cattle Hall of Fame award this year.

Shortly after the federal government began its federal buyout of dairy farmers in 1986, the family sold its dairy cattle and began a beef operation. Eventually, Kearney joined the Cascade Canary Breeders Association and began raising canaries.

“Her outstanding leadership has been a benefit for all youth programs,” said Shirley Prouty of Arlington in a release. “It is with great pleasure to present Ellene Kearney (with the award). She has touched many lives, she has helped to train many future leaders.”

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