Jim Guse Show Arena dedicatedPublished 5:23pm Monday, July 29, 2013
CASSOPOLIS — Cass County Fair Association preceded Sunday evening’s parade with a dedication ceremony for the Jim Guse Memorial Show Arena.
Robert James Guse and his wife, Barb, served as grand marshals of the 25th fair in 2004.
Guse, who died in December at 75 after a bout with thyroid cancer, organized volunteers and community members who donated to the 1990-91 show arena.
He also spent 15 years in county politics and chaired the Board of Commissioners, which approved construction of the Law and Courts Building.
Guse served on the fair board from 1983 to 1988 and again in 1992 to 1993.
He was on the beef livestock committee from 1982 to 2000 and was chairman from 1984 to 1988.
For 30 years, he served on the livestock auction committee, working with auctioneers and buyers to encourage the youth selling their animal projects.
The father of five was recalled as the type of person every community needs, but few have. The building will serve as a lasting testament to his many contributions.
“John Norton (of Cassopolis, 2003 grand marshal) was president in the beginning planning stages,” said Fair Board President Gail Peterson, of Niles. “There was a grant the fair board was able to get from the state of Michigan. There was a time when Dr. Dale Purkhiser, Extension swine agent, and Richard Wooden Jr. came to one of the fair board meetings and made improvements on the design. Then Tom Florea and Ben Waldschmidt, who always did a lot of work around the fair, got together with Jim Guse and really made things happen — both in fundraising and several large donations of material. Names of people who gave even $20 are still on the show arena.”
“That’s how Jim got things done,” Peterson said. “He involved everybody all the way down. He not only donated his labor and his ideas, but his ability to get everybody else to donate.”
His son, Bob. offered a prayer, then his daughter, Linda, thanked the fair board for “choosing to dedicate the show arena in my dad’s memory. He would certainly be humbled by the gesture. He always believed that the show arena project was a coordinated effort of many people. He never wanted to be the leader or the person in charge. He knew the fair had the potential to be meaningful to every person throughout the county. He thoroughly enjoyed the fair, interacting with buyers, leaders, parents and 4-Hers. Whether he was shaking a hand or offering a hug, even when he was battling cancer last year, he made it a priority to be here and to spend time at the place he valued so much with friends he cherished the most — and to make sure that the fair would continue to be successful in his absence. We appreciate the support and love of our fair family as we all adjust to experiencing the Cass County Fair without him.”