A second-generation Extension Homemaker, Eva Marie Pearson remembers going to Home Demonstration, that the forerunner of the modern Extension Homemakers Club, meetings with her mother, the late Julia Smiley Pearson, before she started to school.

A second-generation Extension Homemaker, Eva Marie Pearson remembers going to Home Demonstration, that the forerunner of the modern Extension Homemakers Club, meetings with her mother, the late Julia Smiley Pearson, before she started to school.

“And that,” she said, “was a very long time ago.” Pearson still lives in the family home in the Hardin Community near Pine Bluff, where some of those meetings were held.

Pearson is serving her fourth year as the publicity chairman for the Arkansas Extension Homemakers Council, a volunteer organization associated with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

Her role as publicity chairman, which oversees all facets of promoting the state Council’s state meeting, has taken on new meaning this year since the group is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Extension Homemakers/Home Demonstration work in Arkansas. The state meeting is June 5 through 7 at the Hot Springs Convention Center. On the evening of June 6, a Gala, including a reception and dinner, is planned. The program will feature representatives of some of the activities and organizations with which the organization has been associated during the past 100 years.

Betty Oliver, state family and consumer sciences and Extension Homemakers coordinator, recruited Pearson for this volunteer job before she retired from the “Pine Bluff Commercial.” At the time of her retirement, she was the Accent editor, a job she held for most of her 35-year tenure with the paper.

Pearson is also chairman of the oral history project, a joint venture between the state Council and the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Each county was asked to interview two Extension Homemakers and/or Extension personnel for the project.

Pearson said this has been an interesting venture.

“I have had some experience with oral history projects, but most of the folks involved in this were stepping way outside their comfort zones, and they have done a wonderful job,” she said. These interviews will be posted on the Extension Homemakers blog and on The Pryor Center website.

Although a relatively new member of Extension Homemakers, Pearson covered the activities of the group during her entire 35 years at The Commercial. “The Extension home economists, now family and consumer sciences agents, were very inclusive of me,” Pearson said. The late Novelle Clark, who was the home economist when Pearson went to work at The Commercial, asked her to do a demonstration of making potpourri early on in her career. All the other Extension personnel followed suit, Pearson said. And it wasn’t just Extension Homemakers; it was all things Extension. “I was the first chairman of the Jefferson County Extension Advisory Council, a position I held seven more times. I have been honored as both a state Friend of Extension and of 4-H.” Pearson is also a graduate of LeadAR, Extension’s leadership development program.

Pearson is the immediate past president of the Jefferson County Extension Homemakers Council and serves as the Council parliamentarian. In that position, she was chairman of the very successful Parliamentary Procedure Seminar, “Minding Your P’s and Q’s: Parliamentary Procedure for the 21st Century,” held recently as a gift to the community in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Extension Homemakers/Home Demonstration work in Arkansas. In fact, Pearson said, it was so successful that there was a waiting list and a second seminar was scheduled to accommodate those folks.

In addition to her Extension Homemakers’ activities, she also serves as secretary of the Urban Storm Water Advisory Committee, is a Master Gardener of Jefferson County and a member of the Jefferson County 4-H Foundation board.

The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.