Dr. J. Lee Majeskie

Feb. 7, 1941 - Aug. 22, 2008

Internationally known dairy cattle judge and dairy youth supporter Dr. J. Lee Majeskie of Centreville, Md., died suddenly Friday, Aug. 22, 2008, at the University of Maryland Hospital. He was the loving and devoted husband of Judy Alexander Majeskie.

Born Feb. 7, 1941, on a Holstein dairy farm in Waukesha, Lee was the son of John and Bernice Majeskie. He graduated from Waukesha South High School in 1959.

Dr. Majeskie retired from his position as professor emeritus and extension specialist in the Department of Animal & Avian Sciences at the University of Maryland in 2005. He received his bachelor of science and his master of science degrees at the University of Wisconsin and his doctoral degree in dairy cattle breeding and genetics at Kansas State University.

In 1970, Dr. Majeskie became the director of program development for the U.S. Brown Swiss Cattle Association. During his five-year tenure, he developed the Production and Type Performance Registry program, initiated a National Brown Swiss Young Sire program and directed the growth of the Identity Enrollment program for unregistered Brown Swiss.

In 1975, he accepted a position at the University of Maryland where he served as an extension dairy specialist, providing educational programs to youth and adults in the dairy industry. He taught more than 1,500 students during his 30 years of university service. He was also the faculty adviser for the Animal Husbandry Club for a number of years. The club hosts livestock shows that form the foundation of a college-wide "county-fair-like event" each April that was called Ag Day, allowing dozens of undergraduates to gain meaningful large-animal handling experience annually. Ag Day has evolved into a campus-wide event called Maryland Day, which attracts more than 50,000 people to campus each year.

Dr. Majeskieís research program included applied research in dairy cattle management, using data generated from the Dairy Herd Improvement (DHI) program. He provided the leadership and development of educational programs for dairy producers and users of dairy records generated in the DHI program. He has presented 43 international featured presentations in 21 countries covering the topics of genetic improvement of dairy cattle.

He has conducted judging clinics in six states and served as an official judge of more than 125 district, state, regional and national shows in 31 states. Dr. Majeskie has also had the opportunity to judge national shows and classify cattle in 14 countries including Brazil, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Switzerland, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Puerto Rico and Australia.

Dr. Majeskie might be most known as the coach of the highly successful Maryland 4-H dairy cattle judging program. Thousands of youth benefited from his 25 years of leadership. During that time, his state teams placed in the top three nationally 18 times and won the national contest five times.

Living in a small state with increasing urbanization, Dr. Majeskie is also known for initiating a dairy leasing program that allowed non-farm 4-H youth to lease a dairy animal and participate in dairy projects, including showing. This leasing program celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2008.

Dr. Majeskie recently received two prestigious awards. He was presented the American Dairy Science Associationís Award of Honor at their annual meeting this summer, and he was inducted to the Maryland Dairy Shrine this spring. He has also received numerous honors and awards over the years from 4-H and various dairy cattle organizations.

Upon his retirement, two scholarships were established in his honor - one in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources for students in animal sciences with a focus on dairy; and one in the Maryland 4-H Foundation in support of youth with 4-H dairy project background. This was the first time in the history of the college and foundation that scholarships were established in honor of a faculty member within the college and Maryland 4-H Foundation.

Dr. Majeskie was a member of the National Dairy Shrine board of directors, DHI-Provo, Dairy Shrine Scholarship Selection Committee, Maryland Holstein Association and Scholarship Committee, Wills Show Committee, Maryland Brown Swiss Association board of directors, National Brown Swiss Board of Directors, Maryland Dairy Shrine, Maryland Pure Bred Dairy Cattle Association, Coordinating Committee for the National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest, American Dairy Science Association, and was a frequent contributor to Hoardís Dairyman.

He was also a member of the Symphony Village Community Association, an enthusiastic Terrapin Club member, Maryland 4-H Dairy Bowl contest official, Maryland Dairy Princess Committee member and assisted in organizing and planning the Maryland Dairy Weekend. He was also an active member of Asbury United Methodist Church in Millington.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his son, Matthew Majeskie of Madison; stepson, Troy Alexander (wife Nicole) and granddaughter, Cassidy, all of Millington; and his sister and brother-in-law, Joyce and Randy Martinson of Elkhorn. He is also survived by a niece, Terri (Scott) Mill of Eagle, and nephews, Britt (Michelle) Minton of Whitewater and Scott Minton of Palmyra.

The family will receive friends from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 28, at the Fellows, Helfenbein & Newnam Funeral Home, 408 S. Liberty St., Centreville. The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 29, at the Centreville United Methodist Church on MD 213 in Centreville. Interment will be in the Crumpton Cemetery and a reception will be held at the Millington Fire Hall.

Pallbearers are Jack King, Frank Walbert, Gene Iager, Charlie Iager, Mike Iager, Tim Summers, Gene Long and Randy Martinson. Honorary pallbearers are Monty Montgomery and George Majeskie.

Memorial donations may be made to the Maryland 4-H Foundation, memo to Lee Majeskie Scholarship and mailed to Maryland 4-H Center, 8020 Greenmead Drive, College Park, MD 20742; or to the UMCP Foundation, memo to Lee Majeskie Scholarship and mailed to the University of Maryland, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 1221 Symons Hall, College Park, MD 20742, Attention: Brian Magness.