Gelbke Brothers and Princess Breezewood R. A. Patsy, Butterfat Champion

Princess Breezewood R. A. [Rag Apple] Patsy, a Holstein born in 1953 and owned by brothers Herman and Henry Gelbke of Vienna Township, was the nation's leader in butterfat production in 1959. She would hold a national title for the next thirteen years, as would her daughter and granddaughter, all raised on the 72-acre Breezewood Farm located on King-Graves Road. (Pictured at right are the Gelbke Brothers and their prize Holstein, Cleveland Plain Dealer, January 20, 1960, p. 13).

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Patsy, a "six-year-old white-faced Holstein shattered all records last year by producing 1,866 pounds of butterfat, or 5.1% of her 36,821 pounds of milk on official test." The previous record had been set in 1958 by a New Jersey Brown Swiss cow who had produced 1,733 pounds of butterfat. In comparison, the average Ohio cow produces around 7,000 pounds of milk a year.

The Gelbke Brothers initially wished to sell the calf. Two stories appear in the nation's newspapers: The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that Patsy was sold for $65 to a Pennsylvania dairyman. The man returned the calf "because of her predominantly white color." The Sheboygan Press reported to Wisconsin readers that Patsy remained "in the herd because of a five dollar 'dickering difference' with a neighbor who wanted her for a club project."

The Gelbkes kept Patsy, and when she turned four she began producing prodigious amounts of milk and butterfat. Then, with the possibility of a world’s record, the brothers began to feed her in stanchion. According to the Plain Dealer, Patsy’s “daily fare included up to three bushels of brewers’ grain, about 100 pounds of hay, thrice-daily scoops of grain mix and occasional beet pulp substituted for the brewers’ grain.”[1] Patsy weighed 1,600 pounds.

Cleveland Plain Dealer, January 20, 1960, page 46.

More National Records for Breezewood Farm

By 1964, the Gelbke Brothers could boast 13 national records for Holstein milk and butterfat production. In the small herd of 38 milkers, Patsy was still setting records, as was her daughter Barbara, who in 1963 won a fifth national record with her production of 26,404 pounds of 4.2% butterfat.[2]

Local newspaper coverage made sure to mention that local milk drinkers may have benefited from these cows' production. "Out of the thousands of gallons of milk drank in this valley daily," the Hubbard News Reporter observed, "you might get just get lucky and purchase the milk of a six-time national champ. So if for some unknown reason you suddenly feel stronger after you finish your next glass of milk, you owe it to a cow named 'Patsy' who makes her home on Breezewood Farm."[3]

In 1977 another Patsy--Breezewood Patsy Bar Pontiac--was the world champion butterfat producer: 47,500 pounds of milk and 2,230 pounds of butterfat in 365 days. This was nearly five times the production of an average cow.

As the Plain Dealer observed, “Patsy’s mom held two national butterfat records and her grandma held the national title for 13 years. But Patsy is the best of them all.”[4]

The Gelbke Brothers

Henry C. Gelbke was born on January 10, 1919, in Tyrrell, Ohio, to Friedrich and Ida Emma Miller Gelbke. He graduated Fowler High School in 1936 and attended Youngstown College (now Youngstown State University). He died on July 24, 2000. (Find a Grave memorial)

Herman R. Gelbke was born in 1921. (Find a Grave memorial)

According to the Hubbard News Reporter in 1964, the Gelbke brothers originally planned to raise turkeys.[5]

Herman and Henry Gelbke with their World Champion Holstein Dairy Cow, Breezewood Patsy Bar Pontiac, in 1974.Source: 1998 Fowler Historical Calendar published by the Fowler Bicentennial Committee


The Henry C. Gelbke Learning Center, located at Ohio State University's Agricultural Technical Institute and featuring the latest innovations in educational technology, is named in honor of one of the dairy industry's leader. Henry C. Gelbke's name is also on an endowed scholarship fund of $25,000, established in 2001 by Herman Gelbke in honor of his brother. Winners of the scholarship are persons who wish to study dairy science or dairy cattle production.

The Herman Gelbke Scholarship is administered by the Buckeye Dairy Club.

Contributor: Shirley T. Wajda

Updated 8/13/2020
[1] Robert J. Drake, "Trumbull Holstein Is Queen of U.S. Butterfat Producers," Cleveland Plain Dealer, January 20, 1960, p. 13; Sheboygan Press, January 29, 1960, p. 10.
[2] Robert J. Drake, "Warren Area Herd Cream of the Crop," Plain Dealer, March 12, 1964, p. 54.
[3] Don Gubany, "Vienna Brothers Raise Eyebrows In Nation With Holstein Champs," Hubbard News Reporter [Ohio], April 2, 1964, p. 16.
[4] "Cow Wows: Champ Butterfat Producer," Plain Dealer, March 31 1977, p. 2-B.
[5] Don Gubany, "Vienna Brothers Raise Eyebrows In Nation With Holstein Champs," Hubbard News Reporter [Ohio], April 2, 1964, p. 16.