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Milferd J. Smith, age 86, peacefully passed away October 19, 2022, surrounded by family.
Milferd was born April 18, 1936 at the Litchfield Hospital to Leo and Gertrude (Schroeder) Smith. He was baptized and confirmed at St. Peter's Lutheran of Ellsworth Township. He attended Greenleaf School District #14 grades 1-6, 7-12 at Litchfield High School graduating in 1955. In 1954 Milferd bought 120-acres of land with help from his father. When he graduated from school he continued working with his father on the home farm. In 1958 he joined the Minnesota National Guard where he was a member for 6 years. In 1959 he took basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO where on a weekend pass to Springfield he met the love of his life, Barbara Sue Brixey. They were married on April 21, 1963. To this union two children were born, Suzanne and Daniel.
They started renting the family farm in 1966 and in April 1976 purchased the farm from his father and mother. Barbara worked side by side feeding livestock, milking cows, doing field work, running the combine and hauling grain with the trucks. Wherever she was needed she was there.
In 1986, the dairy cows were sold and Milferd began working off the farm and farming his own farm along with rented land with the help of Barbara and son Dan and later with grandson, Mike. He worked various jobs: Sparboe Farms as a barn manager, Victorian Inn as a maintenance man and then started a 26 year career with Ag Systems; first part-time and later full-time. He also worked for Green Giant and Top Farm Hybryds in the summer and fall. In 2002 he cut back to 40 acres for the beef cows. In 2012 he quit farming, renting out all the farmland. In 2013 he retired from Ag Systems.
While in school Milferd was active in 4H showing beef steers and dairy heifers along with field crops and electrical items he made. While in High School, he became interested in politics and this remained a passion for the rest of his life. He was active in Farm Bureau being a township president, county vice president, president and served on the Legislative Committee. He grew and sold certified seed for 20 years. In the early 1980's, Milferd became interested in wild turkey's and worked with the DNR for years to get them released in Meeker County. The first release was on his farm. He also worked hard in the effort to preserve Greenleaf Lake, becoming Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area for future generations to enjoy.
In his later years, Milferd took to buying and restoring old tractors, implements and farm primitives. Allis Chalmers being his brand as his grandfather had the first rubber tired AC tractor in Meeker County in 1932. He continued to farm with some AC tractors the rest of his life and was a member of the Upper Midwest A-C Club. Milferd enjoyed attending antique machinery and threshing shows. He was also interested in sharing his farm memories with others and wrote stories and articles in various antique machinery collector magazines. In the past few years, he put together a dairy milking exhibit with the help of Forest City Threshers, on the show grounds, to display the many dairy items he collected and share his knowledge. Milferd also enjoyed watching his grandson Mike pull Mini Rods. He helped build Mike's first garden tractor puller and drove him to all the pulls starting out.
Milferd is survived by his daughter Suzanne (Dean) Major, his son Daniel (Randi) Smith, grandchildren: Mike Smith (special friend Julia Carter), Krissy Major, Carly Major, Sadie Jayne Smith and Kessa Ann Smith Milferd was preceded in death by his wife of nearly 60 years Barbara Smith and his parents Leo and Gertrude Smith.
Visitation Wednesday 10/26 from 4-7 at Johnson-Hagglund Funeral & Cremation Service in Litchfield, Minnesota. A funeral service to be held at St Paul's Lutheran Church 10/27 at 1pm with visitation 1 hour prior at the church. Interment to be held at Ellsworth Cemetery.
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