Wilbur Feagan is honored with the Pioneer Dairy Leader Award for his multiple contributions to the dairy industry of Missouri and many national dairy-related organizations. The Missouri Dairy Hall of Honors Foundation is one of those organizations. Feagan established sixty-three endowments and he served on the MODHH board of directors for many years.
He also offered many years of service as a board member on the St. Louis Dairy Council. Feagan’s leadership, support and generosity to the Missouri Dairy Products Association made it possible to continue as a viable entity. A most significant contribution was made by Feagan and F & H Food Equipment Company in supporting the Missouri Dairy Hall of Honors expansion and renovation, by making a significant no-interest loan to support the renovation.
Feagan graduated in 1936 from the University of Illinois earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering, with a major in Sanitary Engineering. He began his career as a milk inspector for the St. Louis Health Department. At that time, St. Louis was one of two cities that had adopted the U. S. Public Health Service Pasteurized Milk Ordinance. He soon had the opportunity to implement that ordinance.
On completion of that objective, he became milk specialist with the Michigan State Health Department. When Kansas City adopted the U.S. Public Health Service Milk Ordinance in 1941, he returned to Missouri to assume responsibility for all ice cream and milk inspection.
During World War II, Feagan coordinated inspection by the Health Department and the Army to assure a safe and adequate milk supply to army posts and the Kansas City area. Following the war, he left public health work to assume the management of the Bonne Terre Farming and Cattle Company, a division of the St. Joseph Lead Company. He later returned to milk sanitation work with C. B. Shogren of the Klenzade Company in establishing marketing efforts for cleaning and sanitation supplies. Seeking more active equipment exposure, he joined Midwest Creamery and Dairy Supply as Sales Manager.
In 1959, he and Paul Higley formed the F & H Food Equipment Company in Springfield, Missouri. F & H focused on the safety and quality of food products. Through applications of his knowledge and experience with food equipment and processes, Feagan gained an enviable reputation in the food industry. The firm continues to improve consumer confidence and faith in our food supply as they work with manufacturers and processors. Feagan built his company on the principles he expressed as follows: “We care about the success of our business partners, the customers we serve, the manufacturers we represent, and the employee-owners who are F & H. We will continue to show strong commitment to our industry by acknowledging and promoting responsible practices.”
In 1993, Feagan and the F&H Food Equipment Company, in cooperation with the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP), created the Black Pearl Award. The award recognizes a company annually for its commitment to corporate excellence in food safety and quality. The web site of IAFP states “Historically, the ‘Black Pearl’ has been sought after from Oceania to the Orient by European Lords and Asian Emperors alike, its rarity a sign of determination, its luster a sign of quality, its acquisition a sign of excellence. Thus, it was chosen as the symbol for our industry’s most coveted award.” IAFP recognized Feagan’s contributions with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Those who knew Wilbur Feagan well were amazed at his ability and determination to continue leadership of his company and to actively support the Dairy Hall of Honors and IAFP. He did so through his 100th year of life. To celebrate that century of living, Wilbur and members of the F & H board of directors drove to Canada and boarded a float plane for a fishing expedition to a remote lake north of Winnipeg. Wilbur passed away on March 29, 2014
It is with great appreciation that the Missouri Dairy Hall of Honors, along with the support of the dairy industry of Missouri, recognizes Mr. Wilbur Feagan with the 2014 Pioneer Award.