Hope Needham, editor of the Household column in the Drovers Journal and its sister publications for over 38 years until her retirement Jan. 1, 1965, died suddenly Dec. 27.
Her son, W. N. Stevenson, reported that the long-time worman's column editor and writer died "peacefully", although she had been in failing health. She had sent a Christmas greeting to the readers of the Household for the Dec. 21 issue of Drovers Journal.
Hope Needham, who was Mrs. James V. (Lucile) Stevenson, lived on a farm near Streator, Ill., where she led a busy life as wife of a farmer, mother and editor of the Household column. She retired from active direction of the column at the end of 1964, ending 38 1/2 years at the task with a series of reflective articles which her readers prized highly.
Mrs. Stevenson became editor of the column in the mid-1920's after the death of Faith Felgar, an Iowa farm woman who had conducted the column successfully for many years. During her regime, hundreds of thousands of letters from farm readers were received and handled, many of them going into the column to provide the daily reading fare for a faithful "flock".
High-principled and firm in her beliefs, Mrs. Stevenson conducted the column on a high plane, although she let all readers "have their say" to the extent that space permitted. She was the recipient of much praise and numerous honors, although of a retiring nature in her latter years.
One of the notable expressions of appreciation for her work occurred in 1963 when secret communications among Household readers resulted in a surprise party in her honor. Culmination was the presentation of a check to Hope for a charity close to her heart, the establishment of a mission in Rio Muni in Africa. The project, named "Flowers for the Living," by Householders, drew modest contributions from thousands of Houshold readers. A recent article and picture in the Household column reported that the chapel project is now nearing completion.
Mrs. Stevenson was a gifted writer who often contributed her own thoughts and ideas as lead articles for the column. Her comments on national events were clipped and saved by readers as prime examples of good writing. The death of President John F. Kennedy stirred Mrs. Stevenson to write a tribute which showed the deep compassion for her fellow men and a clear understanding of what is in their hearts.
Mrs. Stevenson was preceded in death by her husband, in 1959, and by her only daughter, in 1962. These personal losses, she wrote in her column upon announcing her retirement, "took much of the zest out of life," although her sons and their families became her great interest in life after she gave up the column.