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‘Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Service’ presented to Watauga Library



Article Published: Oct. 27, 2011 | Modified: Oct. 27, 2011
‘Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Service’ presented to Watauga Library

Former extension director Sue Counts, right, presents adult services librarian Evelyn Johnson with a copy of ‘Ordinary Women, Extroardinary Service.’

Photo submitted



This summer, N.C. Cooperative Extension’s Family and Consumer Science program, first known as Home Demonstration and then Home Economics, celebrated 100 years of service to North Carolina.

More than 700 people attended a celebration in Raleigh to witness the unveiling of a book about the profession, “Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Service.”

Sue Counts, retired county extension director, presented a copy of the book to Evelyn Johnson, adult services librarian for Watauga County.

Sue spoke about her first memory of a home demonstration agent, when she was 4 years old. “My mom was a member of a home demonstration club, and there was a demonstration at a neighbor’s home,” she said. “The home demonstration agent showed the women how to make sandwich filling from pinto beans. The pinto beans were mashed up and stirred with mayonnaise and sweet pickle relish. This was an inexpensive way to get more protein.”

Sue acknowledged the extension professionals at the presentation. Lillian Danner served as home demonstration agent in Watauga County from 1958 until her retirement in 1990. Sue served as family and consumer science agent from 1996 until she was promoted to county extension director in 1998. Margie Mansure has served in the role since 1998.

When Lillian Danner was an agent, there were 16 home demonstration clubs that she delivered educational programs to, many times in private homes in rural parts of the county. During that time, proper nutrition and its importance to health were emphasized. Workshops pertaining to decorating the home were popular, such as upholstering, mattress making, furniture refinishing and curtain making. These clubs provided a way for rural women to obtain leadership roles in the county, district and state. Other than church, few leadership opportunities for women existed at that time.

“Since 1972 Watauga County has had 15 leadership state winners,” Counts said. “Nora Wilson, deceased, was the first one. Presently, there are six state leadership winners still living and involved in Watauga clubs, with five present today. They are Francis Arnold, Nancy High, Lillian Danner, Betty Steelman and Dianne Brown. Elaine Brookshire is not here today.”

Currently, there are two home demonstration clubs, which are now called Extension and Community Association clubs. Dianne Brown, who is a coordinator with Watauga Opportunities, began one of the clubs with her clients, called “Happy Hearts.” Dianne will serve as state president of the Extension and Community Association this year.

If you would like to check out “Ordinary Women Extraordinary Service,” it is available at the library, located at 140 Queen St. in downtown Boone. Copies are available for purchase at Watauga County Center of N.C. Cooperative Extension Agency, located at 971 West King St.

Here is a modern way to get more protein into your lunch with inexpensive beans. My children love this bean dip served with baked pita chips.

Black Bean Spread

1 can black beans, drained
3 tablespoons salsa
2 cloves garlic
½ cup low-fat cottage cheese
2 teaspoons ground cumin

Peel garlic and mince in food processor.
Add remaining ingredients and process until creamy.



Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. To contact her, email margie_mansure@ncsu.edu or call (828) 264-3061.

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