Lynette Calfee is one busy retiree, but the Humble ISD Foundation board has a special place in her heart, so when “they” asked her to attend a board meeting in person, Calfee dutifully said yes.
She was about to take her usual spot at the end of the conference table.
“This time, ‘they’ insisted I sit in a particular spot. You know me. I have a certain, inconspicuous spot where I like to sit but ‘they’ insisted, so I moved,” Calfee said.
Sitting in that uncommon spot, Calfee thought that this was going to be an unusual board meeting. She was spot-on.
“The presidents of each of the high school FFA clubs came in, which was unusual, because our agenda is pretty specific about what we will be talking about,” Calfee recalled. “When the board meeting began, the young people began talking about how the board decided to select the Humble Rodeo and BBQ Cook-Off 2022 Legend recipient.”
What a nice thing to do, Calfee thought to herself. A wonderful way to honor community members who contribute to the success of the rodeo.
“From what they were saying, it was obvious it was a female and I remember looking around the table, thinking that there were several who deserved to be honored,” Calfee said. “Then I heard my name. I was so surprised.”
Calfee may have been surprised, but those who know her were not.
“For more years than we can count, you could find Mrs. Calfee helping work the setup and cleanup, the rodeo ticket booth or the concession stand,” said Rodeo President Stacy Williams in announcing Calfee as the honoree. “We saw her as a mom to all or a principal to those who were a little mischievous. Even when her sons graduated, you could still find her helping the livestock show auction, keeping the record of buyers and assisting in coordinating all the activities to help the auction run smoothly.”
Calfee and her husband, Byron, became more involved as their boys, Joel and Paul, also became more involved with Humble High’s FFA club.
“The livestock show and rodeo has been a community tradition from the beginning but, for the Calfee family, it has always been a family tradition,” she said.
Her father-in-law, Allen Ross Calfee, was a founding member of the original rodeo association 75 years ago, and her father, Wilbert Treadwell, was one of a small group of local businesspeople who helped found and support the original rodeo.
Calfee was born in Houston and has spent a lifetime in Humble. Her parents, Wilbur and Lavern Treadwell, owned Treadwell’s Tailor Shop and Dry Cleaning. Her dad built the two-story red brick building before they were married and the Treadwell family lived on the second floor while, on the first floor, Calfee’s father would take measurements after a customer picked out the fabric. Her mother, a superb seamstress, did alterations.
She graduated Humble High when it was still called Charles Bender High, now the refurbished Charles Bender Performing Arts Center.
It was during her sophomore year at Sam Houston State University when Calfee grew to love education.
“It might have been divine intervention, who knows?” Calfee confessed. “Without a doubt, it was where I was meant to be. I thoroughly enjoyed working with middle schoolers. My experiences with student teachers were equally rewarding. It was inspiring to see these young adults preparing themselves and eager to have their own classrooms.”
She earned a bachelor of science degree in education from Sam Houston State University and a master’s degree in education with mid-management certification from Stephen F. Austin State University.
She began her career as a physical education and health education teacher in Aldine ISD, then moved to Humble ISD where she embarked on a 34-year career in special education, physical and health education, and eventually, assistant principal at Atascocita Middle School. She also spent nine years supervising student teachers in the College of Education at Sam Houston State University.
And while she was educating future generations, Lynette and Byron, a longtime successful insurance agent, got involved when their sons joined the FFA animal projects.
“We did it all,” Calfee said, “worked the concession stand during those high school years, served as Ag Booster Club officers, the ticket booth.”
What so many remember is Calfee ’s contributions over the years to the auction.
“I offered my help to the auction and ended up working closely with Bodie Wagener over the next 20 years organizing the paperwork, greeting the buyers, getting them registered,” Calfee said. “Many of the longtime buyers that return year after year are special people I got to know, some are second generation supporters, and they all have a sincere affection for the kids.”
Calfee also got to watch Joel, her oldest son, in action over the years and now as the lead auction spotter.
“Not only was Mrs. Calfee there to help with the auction, but you could find her helping run any and all community events during the livestock show week,” said Williams. “From the pancake breakfast to the parade, Mrs. Calfee had a helping hand in it all. She was a member of the Stampede Association, a founding member and past board member for the foundation’s rodeo and cook-off committee.”
While there are many who have inspired her, Calfee cites three — her dad who reminded her of supporting the people who supported their business; her husband, Byron, who has volunteered with her side-by-side, and served as a trustworthy sounding board; and Joyce Williams, a friend and assistant principal at Humble Middle School who taught Calfee to be consistent and always follow the rules, even if you don’t agree with them, and always, always be fair and objective.
Calfee has other passions besides education and the 4H and FFA programs.
“I have always belonged to the First Methodist Church on Main Street in Humble where I help out with their annual barbecue silent auction fundraiser,” said Calfee . “In fact, that is where I was cajoled into chairing the In the Pink of Health luncheon.”
“We were at Wilson Archer’s funeral, for goodness’ sake. I had arrived late so was seated in the very back of church when Tom Broad arrived and sat next to me. And, during a break in the funeral, he asked me to co-chair Memorial Hermann’s In the Pink of Health Luncheon for their Project Mammogram,” Calfee said. “How could I not say no?”
She accepted and continued to co-chair the fund raiser for multiple years, raising funds to provide mammograms for those who can’t afford them or have no insurance. In recognition of all her efforts, Calfee was named a co-honorees for the 2014 luncheon.
While teaching, she was a member of the Humble Professional Educators, the Secondary Principals Association of Texas, and now, the Humble Area Retired Teachers Association.
She volunteered at Mercer Arboretum, served on the Mercer Society board and chaired the March Mart plant committee.
Her many charitable and civic efforts were recognized when she was named Partnership Lake Houston’s Citizen of the Year in 2013.
“Now, however, our lifestyle has slowed down, and it needed to,” Calfee said. “I love fishing, snow skiing when I was able, and photography. I like to pretend I am really good. My photos may not be great, but the memories are.”
“Until this year,” she said. “I miss the wildlife, the flowers, especially in the spring, the strutting turkeys and the time with my children, grandchildren and some special friends.”
And, as we welcome a new year, Lynette and Byron look forward to the 75th Humble Livestock Show.
“It is difficult for me to put into words how very honored and grateful I am to be the recipient,” Lynette told The Tribune. “I am proud to note that Byron was the honoree on the 50th anniversary which makes this anniversary special for us. It also is important to remember, as our friend Joe Jones has always said, it really is all about the kids.”