Claude Pike is a prime example of why the Life Member program of ACES was created. At 93 years young, Pike is an agricultural agent and United States veteran who can tell nearly a century of amazing tales and experiences.
Before beginning his 31 year career with Extension, the Limestone County native served with brave men and women in World War II. Pike, only 18 years old, was drafted into the Navy (amphibious division), serving as a gunner on the bow of the USS LST 543. He and his crew stormed Juno Beach on June 6, 1944 during the Allied Invasion of Normandy France on D-Day. Toughness, grit and strength led this crew through the largest seaborne invasion in history. Pike was also involved in the invasion of Okinawa in the South Pacific.
After military service, Pike pursued a career in agriculture. His family grew cotton on their North Alabama farm and owned a cotton gin. Learning numerous techniques from his father helped spark Pike’s passion for agriculture.
Upon obtaining bachelors, masters and educational specialty degrees in Agricultural Science from Auburn University, Pike knew he wanted to be a county agent for Extension. In 1952 he began his career as an agent in neighboring Lauderdale and Franklin counties on a temporary assignment. On January 1, 1953 he was assigned to 4-H work in Covington County where he organized thirty 4-H clubs and held monthly meetings. In 1956 he began working with adults. He assisted farmers in all crops and livestock production through farm visits, holding special meetings, weekly radio programs, weekly newspaper columns and newsletters to communicate the latest information from Auburn University.
Looking to the future, Pike hopes today’s farmers will take advantage of the vast amount of free, current information at the local Extension offices.
After many years of serving as Covington County Coordinator, Pike retired in 1983. Pike, his wife, Nan (as well as their children William and Sylvia) call Andalusia, Covington County home where he enjoys hunting, fishing, and traveling. The Pikes are members of the First Baptist Church of Andalusia.