By Jill Gosche
A New York native who has been living in Tiffin for more than four decades is to be honored for his contributions to the agriculture field.
Lyle Kneeskern, a 76-year-old rural Tiffin resident, is the first person to be inducted into Seneca County Agricultural Hall of Recognition in several years and is to be honored during the Junior Fair king and queen contest at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the education building.
Ed Lentz, agriculture educator for Ohio State University Extension, said the primary goal is to recognize people who have made a long-term commitment to agriculture by providing service and leadership in Seneca County.
The first award was given in 1980, and the recognition will be continued each year there is a nomination, he said.
Lyle called the recognition embarrassing and said he doesn't need to be put on a pedestal. It is an enjoyment to donate to community projects, he said.
"He's like, 'I don't deserve this.' ... He's just modest," said Beth Magrum, his daughter.
Lyle and his wife, Eileen, have four children, Grant (Judy) Kneeskern, Scott (Jenny) Kneeskern, Beth (Darrell) Magrum and Lori (Kevin) Abell, and eight grandchildren, Brett, Mitch, Tyler, Derek and Deker Kneeskern, Austin and Kayla Magrum and Garrett Schling.
Lyle has donated an announcer's stand, a fence around the horse ring, stalls, washracks and siding and updating of electricity at the horse barns and has given money toward the Junior Fair and Senior Fair buildings, one of the merchant's buildings and restrooms on Seneca County Fairgrounds.
Lyle has supported the Junior Fair's livestock sale and was named an outstanding fair supporter by Ohio Department of Agriculture in 2008.
"A lot of the donations were 4-H-related," he said.
Lyle also has supported Tiffin City Schools, Clinton Township Fire Department, Seneca County Park District, The Salvation Army and the former St. Francis Health Care Centre in Green Springs, now part of Elmwood Communities.
The Kneeskerns moved to Tiffin from New York in 1968.
A decade earlier, Lyle had been working in broadcasting in Syracuse. The company entered the cable television business, and he was selected out of 22 engineers to work for New Channels, a new company.
Two years later, he was called by a Tiffin man, originally from Boston, who was looking for an engineer for a cable franchise.
Lyle and Eileen, who had been born, raised in educated in Canastota, N.Y., and never had left, found themselves moving their family to Tiffin.
Lyle started working for Continental Cablevision, which had several thousand customers and 40 employees at the time.
"I became the first Kneeskern in Seneca County," he said.
Lyle became senior vice president and general manager and retired from Continental Cablevision, which now is Time Warner Cable, in 1992.
He farms about 400 acres with his oldest son, Grant, and keeps horses, dogs and a cat on his Tiffin farm.
Beth, who filled out the award application, said her dad always supported anything she and her siblings were involved in, and he did everything asked of him.
"He was just always there to help," she said.