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Thurl Metzger, 90; Ex-Leader of Charity Heifer International

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Thurl Metzger, 90, a former farmer who went on to lead the charity Heifer International for three decades, died Wednesday of heart failure in Little Rock, Ark.

Metzger, who farmed and worked as a high school teacher in Indiana, began his work with Heifer as an unpaid volunteer in 1946. Five years later, he became the nonprofit’s executive director, a post he held until 1981.

Little Rock-based Heifer aims to end world hunger and poverty and has provided livestock and agricultural training to 128 countries. Recipients of livestock are asked to give the animal’s first female offspring to another family, who in turn are asked to do the same.

As Heifer’s first executive director, Metzger visited 70 countries and worked in South Korea, India, Europe and Asia. He raised money, trained volunteers and personally delivered livestock to countries in need of help.

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