(1908 – 1988)
Hoyett Alva Ponder, Sr., was born on September 14, 1908, and died on April 23, 1988. A native of Decatur, he grew up a farm boy in Cullman County. He attended Culhnan High School and graduated with a B.S. degree from Auburn University in 1935. He had a special love for the farm and farmers. During his career of almost 35 years, he assisted and improved the lives of many Alabama families.
Hoyett began his Extension tour in Etowah County as an assistant county agent in 1935. From there, he transferred to Jackson County and then to DeKalb County. In 1938, he was selected to be assistant superintendent of the Crossville Substation of the Alabama Experiment Station. In 1941, he returned to Extension as assistant county agent in Madison County. He was called to active military duty in 1942, serving the U.S. Army during World War II and rising to the rank of Captain. After a short tenure as assistant county agent in Colbert County in 1945, he returned to Madison County for about two years. He then accepted a position with a hybrid corn seed company for about two years before returning to the Extension Service as assistant county agent in DeKalb County for a year. He found his Extension home in 1949 as a county agent in Franklin County, where he remained until his retirement in 1974.
With his varied background experiences, his understanding of farming, and his desire for improvement for farmers and their families, Hoyett was very successful in Extension work. He was counted among the best agents in north Alabama and was respected by all of those who knew him. He was very instrumental in forming the Feeder Pig Marketing Association. He also helped train several top-notch assistant agents who later filled various positions throughout the state. Several came to the state staff in Auburn, where they had very successful careers.
Those who were fortunate to work with Mr. Ponder loved him. He had a special way of making everyone feel needed and a way to encourage people to help one another. Mr. Ponder believed in his job, his fellowman, his country, his home, and his God.
In tribute to the man and his life’s work, the name Hoyett Alva Ponder, Sr., is inscribed on the dedicatory plaque of the Extension Memorial Chapel.
Chapel Plaque Inscription Number: 70