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A Daughter's Gift

In Memory of Elizabeth McCabe

Teton County grew up through the lens of Elizabeth McCabe. Every year you could find the avid photographer capturing special moments of children with their animals at the Teton County Fair. For decades, McCabe contributed an annual segment to the Jackson Hole News & Guide devoted to local 4-H participation. Over the years, she developed friendships with participants, and everyone looked forward to seeing her with her camera and her iconic smile. In 2011, she photographed—at the age of 100—her last Teton County Fair.

The University of Wyoming has received a gift of $1.8 million from Ann Ramsay in honor of her late mother, Elizabeth McCabe. The gift will create the Elizabeth McCabe Memorial Excellence Fund for Teton County 4-H: Extension Staff and will be used to support 4-H and UW Extension employees located in Teton County. The Teton County 4-H Building in Jackson will be named in McCabe’s honor.

Ramsay was inspired by her mother’s life and her love of community. McCabe was a big supporter of UW Extension programs in Teton County. The endowment will support UW Extension employees through housing support for staff to offset the cost of living in Jackson. The program is hopeful that the extra funding will provide enough support to decrease staff turnover.

“My mother was totally devoted to the 4-H mission and all the children and families who participated in it,” says Ramsay.

McCabe was a true believer in the power of young people. With her camera, she encouraged children within the community to realize their potential and become leaders. Her images serve as a time capsule for Jackson Hole, capturing county stories and sharing them for generations to come.

“Elizabeth was a community businesswoman who encouraged youth to give their best,” says UW Extension Community Development Educator Mary Martin. “She spent days attending 4-H activities to capture photographically those who competed. Her pictures captured moments that would have been lost to our youth.”

With her husband, McCabe co-owned the Jackson Hole Guide newspaper, which later became Jackson Hole News & Guide. She dedicated her life to serving others. She felt a deep affinity for the Jackson Hole area—a sentiment that developed during her news career that spanned over five decades. Her weekly full-page photo, This is Jackson Hole, garnered her Wyoming Press Association awards. McCabe photographed people, wildlife, and the scenic Teton valley.

“She became a treasured friend to the community, and her pictures are now carefully included in hundreds of 4-H record books,” says Martin. “I have a vivid remembrance of Elizabeth, cameras around her neck, asking our 4-H members to explain what they learned with their projects. Her smiling presence, gentle encouragement, and genuineness were a gift.”   

Knowing how much the 4-H program meant to her mother, Ramsay wanted to help make a difference in the lives of those who make the program possible. She wanted her mother’s legacy to be remembered by those she cared about the most.

In December 2020, Ramsay gifted a property located in Teton County to the University of Wyoming for the support of 4-H and UW Extension activities. The property was sold in March 2021, with the proceeds going toward establishing the endowment in McCabe’s honor.

Ramsay inherited her love of community from McCabe, who is remembered for her ability to bring people together. McCabe passed away in 2012 at the age of 101. Today, Teton County remembers her caring disposition, her big heart, and her inspiring photographs. In the absence of McCabe and her camera, the Teton County Fair will never be the same, but her presence lives on through her daughter’s gift.

“She loved taking pictures and congratulating the winners and participants,” says Ramsay. “I miss her every single day. She was the most wonderful mother and friend.”

Photo credit: Bradly J. Boner, Jackson Hole News & Guide

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