Most people disagree
with LeQuieu, who’s lived and farmed in the Tulelake
Basin the past 53-plus years. He’s also been
involved in numerous community activities, including
24 years on the Tulelake Basin Joint Unified School
District board of directors and 28 years on the
Tulelake FFA Agricultural Advisory Board.
He also served 16 years
on the Tulelake-Butte Valley Fair Board and has been
involved with the Tulelake-Butte Valley Fair Friends
since it was created in 2001
LeQuieu, 73, and his
family moved to the Tulelake Basin in late 1962,
just in time for the that year’s fair and the
Columbus Day storm before permanently settling in
January 1963. His father, Leslie, and family had
learned about the Tulelake Basin while goose and
The LeQuieus, who
raised cotton in California’s Kern County, moved
north because his mother, LaVerne, suffered from
heat-related problems. Once in the Basin, they
switched from cotton to potatoes, grain and alfalfa.
“We can put a foot in
both states,” he says of the 200-acre farm, which is
in Modoc County, but near Malin.
Jerry, who was 20 when
the family moved, had finished two years at Fresno
State University. He delayed returning to college to
help with the cotton harvest, then was drafted in
1964. He spent three years in the Army, including a
tour in Vietnam. After his Army stint he returned to
LeQuieu worked with
Marvin Schell and, later, his father on the farm.
He’s since partnered with his nephew, Kevin Wright.
Because of changing markets, “We’re strictly into
LeQuieu missed farming
during his Army years, but he met the woman who
became his wife, Wenonah “Wendy.” An Army friend
gave him a list of women and their phone numbers.
“I picked her name out
because I thought it was an interesting one,” he
says of why he contacted Wenonah. They’ll celebrate
their 59th wedding anniversary on Veteran’s Day.
The LeQuieus have three
adult children — Michelle Jorgenson, Claudine
Schlecht and Michael LeQuieu — and give
grandchildren. During today’s parade, Jerry and
Wendy will be joined by 11 family members
Along with family, a
legion of friends will be watching and cheering
during today’s parade. They’ll be riding in the tiny
train that gives rides around the fairgrounds.
Jerry and Wendy have
cemented friendships during their years as leaders
of various clubs, including archery, woodworking and
the 4-H Cascade Swine Club. Before serving on the
fair board, he annually entered several fair
For three straight
years he won the Ruth King Award, which was given to
the person who won the most blue ribbons and was
named for a longtime Herald and News reporter and
While LeQuieu is
looking forward to today’s parade and the fair,
he’ll be back to work Monday when he and Wright
begin their fourth cutting on the family farm.
“Farming takes a back
seat during the fair,” he says, noting he has no
retirement timetable. “I enjoy farming. It’s just
something I enjoy. I’m in good health and I don’t
know when I’m going to retire. It’s more than a job.
It’s a way of life.”