Alumni Spotlight: Ed Boutwell ’68

My name is Ed Boutwell.  I was born on January 25, 1943 at home (common in those days) near the small Wyandot County village of Wharton, Ohio.  I grew up on a general livestock & grain farm, the son of tenant farmers attending Salem High School.

I was very active in basketball, baseball and the Future Farmers of America, hunting, fishing plus “carrying my share of the farm labor”. The year I was a senior, Salem, Harpster and Marseilles annexed into the Upper Sandusky district so my diploma is through Upper.  Six weeks before graduation, Mr. John Borton, my senior agricultlure teacher, hired several FFA members to clean the manure out of his Angus cattle barn. The next Monday, I asked him what I would have to do to be an agriculture teacher. I will never forget his advice — be enthused about agriculture, rank God, family and teaching in that order and above all love kids.

When I graduated from Upper in 1961, Ohio State was the only place to get a degree to teach agriculture, so the university decision was easy.  As our farm was only 24 miles from the Marion OSU branch, I attended there for 2.5 years.  I also worked at a plastic factory, trained horses and helped dad some on the farm.

On March 21, 1964 I married my wife of 53 years, Diana Rose Kennedy. We moved to Columbus, Ohio to complete my degree. Our son, Rob, was born in January of my senior year. While at main campus, I worked at Dixie Margarine, UPS, OSU Meat Lab and the OSU horse barn.  On campus, I joined the Agricultural Education Society.

The most memorable moment as a senior was carrying the United States flag into the arena at the opening of the “Little International” livestock show — a duty awarded to the head barn boy.  At practice the mare stood rock solid for the nation anthem, BUT at night with the spot light on us, she side stepped the whole time — I could not get her to stand.

My most enjoyable class and professor was nutrition under Dr. Tizniz. He made nutrition interesting and important. He also gave the most thought provoking quiz I had ever seen. We were studying minerals and all 10 questions were answered correctly by calcium. Believe me by the 8th or 9th question, we were wondering if he could possibly ask another question about calcium.

I remember the 1967 football season was so cold, rainy and bad, Diana was pregnant with our son, so she did not want to attend, and I could not even GIVE THE TICKETS AWAY.  Then in 1968, WE WON THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP.

In the spring of 1968, I interviewed at Southeastern (Ross) and Lakota, choosing Southeastern.  Can you imagine having my name on the contract in May and not graduating until June!  It is a fact — impossible in today’s educational system!

I taught nine years at Southeastern, awaking a “sleepy” community and FFA.  During this time, we crop shared a 68 acre farm for its disabled owner, conducted the Ohio State Fair nursery for the Ag. Ed. department and developed nine state farmers.  Our second child, a girl, Dawn, was born in 1971.

Ross Landmark hired me away to sell seed, feed and fertilizer for them. Many might think this was a wasted 2 years, but I learned so much about new technology and large scale operations, that I was a better teacher because of it. Also in 1977 our 3rd child, another girl, Olivia, was born.

My general manager approached me in the spring of 1977, stating that because of donating to the Ohio FFA Foundation, he had to tickets to the state FFA banquet; would my wife and I represent the company? I remember vividly as we pulled of 71 on to 17th avenue, my wife looking in the back seat and said “it seems funny to go in here with no “blue jackets” in the back.  I was so taken back that I contacted Mr. John Watkins (district supervisor) and found that Carey and River Valley were both open.  I chose Carey and they chose me.

20 years at Carey flew by — I was back in my home county!  Carey FFA conducted the “Bob Evan’s Baby Animal Barnyard” at the Ohio State Fair for 10 years, and in 1995, I was appointed to the Ohio State Fair rabbit show committee to represent the FFA. Carey FFA won or placed well in many soil, small engine and tractor trouble shooting contests. One thing I am very proud of is the many state and american farmers that I have coached, ALL MADE THE DEGREES HONESTLY — no “paper tigers”.

I have been honored to serve on 2 fair boards — Ross County for 5 years and Wyandot County for 15 years.

I retired on July 1, 1999 with 29 years in the class room plus buying some time at OSU.  In retirement I drove bus and limo plus working in my shop.  I also expanded the kennel and rabbit operation.

Late spring of 2003 I received a call from the FFA booster’s president of Riverdale asking me to apply there, I did, and taught 5 more years.  This was my first assignment with a NEW school.  What a change of environment. We had some sharp members with two state farmers that received the American Degree the year after I re-retired. The Riverdale FFA received the State FFA “Top % Membership  Gain Award” in 2006. I re-retired on July 1, 2008.

Back home and lots of time, right — RIGHT!  We closed the kennel in 2007 — we had raised, trained and boarded Dobermans, German Shepherds and Rottweilers for over 40 years. We had sold a German Shepherd to the Air Force for a bomb dog and a Doberman puppy went to Saudi Arabia for palace security. With both knees replaced and the fences failing, it was time.  However the New Zealand rabbit business was really hopping.  Our reputation for quality meat pen rabbits grew to selling in nine or 10 counties per year, even into Michigan.

The Wyandot County Farm Bureau surprised me on August 19, 2012 with the “Distinguished Service Award”.

So much for loafing.  Three weeks before school started in 2014, a call came from the Arlington FFA Alumni president… “We don’t have any applicants! Will you please be our Agriculture teacher this year?” Another year in the classroom (a total of 35) and I am now done for real.

My advice to current students is to repeat what Mr. John Borton advised me — “be enthused about agriculture, rank God, family and teaching in that order  — and above all love kids”.

In re-re-retirement, I plan on fishing with and teaching my two grand-daughters to be responsible hunters and gun handlers, travel over Ohio with Diana visiting with my former students.

Baiting “Keesha” our school patrol dog several years ago, 1980


The younger “slimmer” days at Southeastern, 1973.


Supporting the FFA Alumni with Ag Ed 1 and FFA 1.


Supporting the FFA Alumni with Ag Ed 1 and FFA 1


Olivia, Dawn, Rob and I with our FFA jackets at the 2008 banquet at Riverdale.


Family photo on the day of graduation


Diana and I in our trailer at Christmas 1966

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