Courtesy Dairy West
BOISE — The late John Schilder was inducted into the Idaho Dairy Hall of Fame Nov. 9 before hundreds of his peers he so willingly helped during difficult times.
Schilder died in January 2015 and his wife of 42 years, Aggie, and their four children and families were presented with an award honoring him during the annual meeting of Dairy West, formerly known as United Dairymen of Idaho.
The Schilder family owns a dairy near Buhl.
“Be proud of your profession. Love your animals and your family,” Aggie Schilder said during a brief speech, summarizing the things that were important to her husband.
She told Capital Press that her husband didn’t serve on a lot of boards but he loved his animals and was dedicated to the dairy industry.
“His cows were very important to him,” she said. “He always said, ‘When you take care of your cows, your cows will take care of you.’ He was proud of his herd. He wasn’t a board member of this and a board member of that. He was always on the dairy and physically worked with the employees on the dairy.”
Aggie Schilder said her husband didn’t care much for politics. “He wanted to provide product to the consumer and that was his love. That and having a beautiful herd.”
Following John Schilder’s death, at the age of 64, one of his sons, B.J. Schilder, took over the responsibility of running the family dairy, which has 1,750 milking cows.
John Schilder was selected for the honor by a committee of other dairymen and members of the industry.
“There’s really no greater award in life than to be honored by your peers,” said Buhl dairyman John Brubaker, a member of the selection committee who knew Schilder for more than 20 years.
Brubaker said Schilder was not one to seek the public eye, “But John had a heart of gold and he was the first one on the scene to help a neighbor or someone in the industry in need.”
Brubaker said Schilder’s involvement in his community and willingness to help neighbors or other producers was the reason he was selected, more so than for his involvement with various groups or individual professional achievements.
“There are a lot of things in life that are more important than production awards and that type of thing,” he said. “It came down to … how John gave back to the community and to the dairy industry as a whole. He’s very deserving of the award. He represents everything our industry is looking for.”
Brubaker, who recounted spending many lunch hours with Schilder cracking jokes “and solving the world’s problems,” said his friend was well liked in his community and the dairy industry.
“I don’t think John had any enemies,” he said. “Everybody loved John.”