Ann Barr, known as the "Spirit of Alabama 4-H," was recently honored during a celebration at Azalea Place in Auburn for her 43 years of service to Alabama Extension and 4-H, and her years of military service. A plaque honoring Barr was placed at the base of a new flag pole at Azalea Place.
Retired 4-H colleagues Tony Dozier, Bob Whittenburg and J. O. Conway Sr., along with family, friends and Azalea Place residents shared in the celebration and flag pole dedication for Barr, who turned 100 August 18.
After returning to the United States after serving six months in North Africa and two years in Italy with the Women's Army Corp during World War II, Barr began her Extension career as an assistant home demonstration agent assigned to 4-H in Talladega County. It was during that assignment that she realized how much she enjoyed working with young people.
In 1950, Barr was promoted to State 4-H Program Leader for Girls and served in that position for 33 years until her retirement in 1984, at age 70, which at the time was a mandatory retirement age. One week after her retirement from Alabama 4-H, Barr went to work as a consultant with the National 4-H Council in Washington, D.C. She chaired a variety of programs and committees there for four more years.
"There are thousands of Alabamians whose lives have been impacted by Alabama 4-H, but there is one single person whose life exemplifies the character, initiative and ideals of 4-H and that is Ann Barr," said Betty Gottler, a retired 4-H agent. Barr's leadership was crucial in the progress of modern Alabama 4-H, especially in the area of leadership development and citizenship. At all levels, Barr touched the lives of more than a million young people, and she did so unselfishly and with passion and compassion."
Barr also served 33 years on the 4-H Club National Council and was chairperson for the National Council six times. She was inducted into the National 4-H Club Hall of Fame in 2002, the Alabama 4-H Wall of Fame in 2008, and Alabama's Agriculture Hall of Honor in 2005.
A native of Birmingham, Barr graduated from Alabama College (now the University of Montevallo) with a degree in nutrition.
Barr with her two nephews Lindsay and Larry Barton
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