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Frank Graham

Athlete, Paratrooper, Agricultural Educator, Rancher, Civic leader, “Mr. 4-H”

Year Inducted: 2016

Graham grew up in Fair Grove, Missouri and would attend the University of Missouri, and study agriculture. He was a member of the Epsilon Sigma Phi National Honor Society and served as president of Gamma Sigma Delta, the National Honor Society of Agriculture. Before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1942 and a masters in extension education, he was a star pitcher on MU’s baseball team and helped lead them to two Big Six championships in 1941 and 1942. He turned down a professional baseball contract with the St. Louis Browns that same year before serving as an Army infantry officer during WWII and becoming a paratrooper instructor.

Both before and after his brief military service, he went to work for MU Extension, where he remained for 33 years. Over the last 17 years of that career he was the director of the State 4-H Youth Development Program. He would become to be known statewide as “Mr. 4-H.”  In 1949, Frank was one of eight founding members of the Missouri 4-H Foundation and continued his involvement with the foundation until his death. He also served on the National 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees. Frank was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame in 2004.  

For many years he owned Boone County’s Melody Acres Quarter Horse Ranch. Frank was a Boone County presiding commissioner from 1987 to 1991 and during his term he approved the first lease Boone Hospital signed for BJC Health Center as well as oversaw the completion of the new jail and remodeling of the courthouse. In his retirement, he would also become president of the Boone County Historical Society, serve on the Alumni Board of the University of Missouri’s Agriculture College and serve his beloved Midway Locust Grove Methodist church in several roles.