Goshen News, Goshen, IN

January 26, 2013

Herb Maust was big part of 4-H Fair's success


— For many in the Elkhart County 4-H Fair circle, this July’s festival will be tinged with sadness. That’s because Herb Maust won’t be there to enjoy it.

Maust, 84, died Monday at his Goshen home. He founded Wakarusa Farm Center and owned it for more than 40 years. He also volunteered his time to make our community a better place to call home.

Looming large in our local history is the work Maust did for the Elkhart County Fair. Maust was a member of the fair board for more than 45 years and helmed the summer showcase as fair president in 1980.

Anyone who enjoys the fair owes thanks to Herb Maust. The standout stature of the event is due in large part to the vision of this community servant.

In recent years Maust organized three of the fair’s entertainment venues, including the Park Stage and the Family Entertainment Center just east of the 4-H exhibit building. Maust also notched an enviable number of fair “firsts,” including:

• Starting the vesper concert on the grandstand stage, a highlight of the Sunday of fair week.

• Promoting the first wristband day for midway ride discounts.

• Starting the corporate picnic tradition.

His achievements aside, Maust was quick to praise the efforts of others and point out that the fair’s success is a group effort.

Maust was also a man who had his priorities straight.

“Next to God, my family is the most important part of my life,” he told The News. This newspaper extends its condolences to that family, carrying on as they now must without Herb.

Maust’s giving nature extended beyond the fair. For nearly six years, he volunteered at Switchboard Concern, answering nighttime phone calls from people going through times of distress.

“I could go there in the middle of the night and feel like I helped someone,” he recalled.

Think about that for a moment. How many of us, in the middle of the night, would sacrifice our time to help complete strangers? How much better would the world be if more people did exactly that?

We’ll miss Herb Maust. We’ll miss that big smile, that enthusiasm and good cheer.

Preparation for the 2013 Elkhart County 4-H Fair is already well under way. In keeping with tradition, this year’s event will be a success story. But this year, it just won’t be the same.