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Many blessings contribute to pioneer family’s recognition as Fair parade Grand Marshals PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 13 August 2015 00:00

Jack and Carol Maddux, along with their children and grandchildren, will serve as Grand Marshals of the Chase County Fair parade on Saturday. Pictured here are Carol and Jack, seated, their children include, back from left, Mary (Maddux) Smith, Sandra Maddux, John Maddux and wife Julia. Grandchildren pictured include, from left, Thomas (on Carol’s lap), Eva Smith and Taylor Maddux. (Sheri Hink-Wagner | The Wauneta Breeze)


By Sheri Hink-Wagner

The Wauneta Breeze


“Shinin’ on Me” is the theme of the 2015 Chase County Fair parade, which will be held Saturday, Aug. 15. The Carol and Jack Maddux family will serve as Grand Marshals. The Madduxes expressed their appreciation for the honor and point to many blessings they have received throughout their lives as testament to the theme.

The Maddux family was chosen as Grand Marshals by the Imperial Chamber’s parade committee. According to committee member Jana Pribbeno the Madduxes were chosen because, “They are humble, simple people who have been shone on by successes in Chase County.”

Jack Maddux’s family first arrived in Chase County in 1886 when his grandparents, Taylor and Clara Maddux, homesteaded 11 miles north of Wauneta. Clara and two children, Earl and Daisy, lived and proved up the homestead full time.

Taylor spent their first few years running a livery stable in McCook and returning to the homestead on the weekends. He rode his trusty horse, “Skank,” back and forth between McCook and Wauneta. In the 1890s Taylor moved permanently to the family homestead north of Wauneta. By then the family included four more children, Helen, Glen, Wilfred and Cecil.

The Madduxes’ ties to the Chase County Fair go back to the early 1900s as well. In the 1890s there was a horse race at the Chase County Fair where Taylor’s racehorse, “Lucky Baldwin” came in second to “Fanny D,” owned by Dan Davis. The race was later reenacted during the 1960 Diamond Jubilee Pageant at the Fair.

Carol (Smith) Maddux’s family also has longtime ties to the Chase County Fair. Her father, Dr. Fay Smith, announced the afternoon grandstand events from the late 1930s until 1957 when Bill McNair took over the job.


Highly regarded in industry

The Maddux name is synonymous with the cattle business in this area and beyond. Jack has been involved with state and national cattle organizations throughout the years and has received many recognitions for his work.

He also has been active in Nebraska water legislation and range management. Jack has served as the Mayor of Wauneta and was Boy Scout Master for years.

Carol has been active in many local and state-wide organizations including the Nebraska Cow-Belles, State Historical Society Foundation, Chase County Historical Society, Nebraska Humanities Council and Nebraska Community Foundation. She has also served as president of the Wauneta United Methodist Women for many years.


History of Maddux Cattle Company

The history of the Maddux Family Operation spans 129 years in Chase County. Carol simply describes their tenure by saying, “We’ve been blessed.”

Taylor and Clara Maddux first expanded their holdings in the 1890s when there was a drought and many homesteaders panicked and moved away. Taylor traded a pair of spurs and two bronc horses for a parcel of land adjoining their homestead.

Glen (Jack’s father) took over the Maddux homestead when Taylor died in 1916. Glen and his brother, Wilfred, formed Maddux Brothers Co. in the late 1900s. Wilfred died in 1945 and Glen continued to run his share of the operation.

Jack graduated from Wauneta High School and earned a degree in Animal Science from Colorado State University in 1953. He served in the U.S. Air Force as a jet instructor, returning home in 1956. Following his father’s death in 1958 Jack took over management of the operation.

Carol graduated from Chase County High School in Imperial and went on to earn a degree in Home Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1958.

Jack and Carol were married in December 1958. Their union was blessed with three children—John, Sandra and Mary.

From very early in their marriage Carol was deeply involved in the cattle operation when she and her mother-in-law would carry meals to the hay and harvest crews. In the 1970s she began doing all the book work for the operation.

Maddux Cattle Company was formed by Jack and his brother, Gene, in 1962. They had foresight and began expanding their land holdings right away.

In 1998 Jack and Carol’s son, John, joined the management of the operation after graduating from UN-L, receiving an MBA from the University of Chicago and working on Wall Street for 10 years.

After John returned home, he purchased the ranch then owned by Basil Bentz north of Imperial. The Bentz Valley Ranch, as it is now named, is run in conjunction with Maddux Cattle Company.

Carol and Jack are quick to share their successes with their many long-time employees. “Any success we’ve had is due to wonderful help we’ve had throughout the years,” Carol expressed.

Their long-time employees included Willard Yost, who served as their foreman for 53 years. Jack says, “Yost taught me and Gene, ‘How not to sweat in the heat and how not to shiver in the cold.’”

Harlow Hill recently retired after 33 years as the Maddux Cattle Company foreman. The late Dennis Lucas served as their feed yard manager for 31 years. Bud McBride has done farming for them for 32 years. Donna Gockley has worked as the Maddux Cattle Company secretary for 33 years. George Hallett farmed for them for over 50 years until his death in 1981.



John’s wife, Julia, originally of Bogota, Columbia, is also involved with the cattle operation. She was trained as a veterinarian in Columbia before moving to the United States and marrying John. They have two children – Taylor and Thomas.

The Madduxes’ daughters live on the west coast. Sandra resides in the Portland area where she works for the Oregon Region of Providence Health and Services. She has two children—Rebecca and Luke.

Mary is Vice Superintendent of Lafayette School District in the San Francisco Bay area. Her husband, Matt, is a school administrator. The couple live in Walnut Creek, Calif., and have five children—Gabriel, who has two children, James and Madeleine, with his wife Laura; Virgil; Jacob; Jackson and Eva.

Jack and Carol’s children and grandchildren will join them Saturday as Grand Marshals of the parade.