Jack Marshall Tyree, of Louisville, Kentucky, age 104, former director of Virginia 4-H, passed away peacefully in his home on May 27, 2020.

Recognized many times for his lifelong leadership and service to youth, he retired in 1975 after a career in West Virginia and Virginia that saw 4-H membership expansion and the introduction of technology. Tyree supported 4-H long after his retirement as both a consultant and donor.

Born in Nuttleburg, West Virginia, and raised in nearby Huntington and Lesage, he enrolled in 4-H at age 8 and helped manage the family dairy farm in his teens. After earning a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from West Virginia University and masters of education from Cornell University, he became a 4-H agent in Upshur County, West Virginia, and quickly established a reputation as an expert in camping.

In 1940, he married Helen Stollings, and the two enjoyed 73 years of loving marriage. They took pride in continuing to support character building through camping, and in 2017 Jack dedicated a footbridge named for both of them at Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Camp in Weston, West Virginia. During World War II, Jack Tyree won commendations from both the U.S. and Belgian government for his service with the Army 352nd Harbor Craft Company, which kept the Port of Antwerp operating during more than a year of continuous German bombardment.  

In the 1950s, the Tyrees moved to Blacksburg, where Jack was recruited to join the Virginia 4-H program staff. He eventually directed the state program and received the Virginia 4-H Diamond Leadership Award, the state foundation’s highest honor. In 2002, he was named to the National 4-H Hall of Fame. After retirement, the Tyrees moved to Louisville.

In 2016, Jack joined fellow Louisville veterans on a Bluegrass Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., to visit veteran monuments and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In all phases of his life, Jack Tyree was known for his strong character, his affable personality, and his compassion for others.

He is survived by a son, Milton Tyree, and daughter-in-law, Vicky Tingle Tyree, of Louisville; daughter, Helen Anders, and son-in-law, John Anders, of Fort Worth, Texas; granddaughters Kaylyn Tyree of Louisville, Tyree Schwager of Arlington, Texas, and Miranda Andrews (Adam) of Norman, Oklahoma; great-grandchildren Aiden Andrews, Connor Schwager, and Callie Schwager; and many nieces and nephews.