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home : obituaries : obituaries November 20, 2014

4/10/2013 11:39:00 AM
Clarence Elton Smith
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Clarence Elton Smith, 85, took his final earthly journey on April 8, 2013, at Susie's Place in Hayfield, MN, where he had resided the last year.

Clarence was born on February 29, 1928 in Wasioja, MN to Elton and Nellie (Hindal) Smith. Clarence grew up on the Smith family farm on the east edge of Wasioja with his three brothers and three sisters. Clarence attended Wasioja and Mantorville schools and graduated with the Mantorville High School Class of 1946.

Clarence joined the United States Army and proudly served during the Korean conflict.

Clarence returned to Wasioja, and farmed with his father and his brother, Ellwyn. The Smith brothers had a world renowned herd of Holstein cattle, and they won the Progressive Breeders Award given by the National Holstein Friesian Association a record 17 times. They sold the farm and cattle in 1975.

Clarence married Berenice A. (Libby) Kleeberger on October 11, 1974. They moved to a "retirement farm" soon after. Clarence worked as a road grader operator for Wasioja Township as well as for the Dodge Center Canning Company.

Clarence had the great privilege and honor to be chosen as the official Minnesota Teamster for the 1976 Bicentennial Wagon Train Pilgrimage. Clarence and Berenice traveled from Minnesota, joining wagons from each of the states, as well as President Gerald Ford, in celebration in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania on July 4, 1976.

Clarence was a longtime member and officer of the Dodge County Historical Society and the Dodge Center American Legion Wells-Peterson Post 384, as well as a longtime member of the United Methodist Church, Kasson-Mantorville Masonic Lodge No. 11 and the Dodge County Sheriff's Posse.

Clarence will be especially remembered for his warm and generous manner. A frequent saying was "Every day's a good day". He enjoyed visiting with so many of us about farming, the wagon train, and the way things used to be. He was very proud of these things. Clarence enjoyed a trip in the county to check out the crops.

Clarence was preceded in death by his wife, Berenice; his parents, Elton and Nellie Smith; brothers, Lawrence Smith, Stanley (Stick) Smith, and Ellwyn (Ellie) Smith; sisters, Valera Kuster and Roberta Andrist; a great grandson; brothers-in-law, Lawrence Andrist and Sam Kuster; nephew Brett Andrist and his grandparents.

Clarence is survived by his sister Barbara (Doug) Leth of Kasson; step-children, Brenda Kleeberger of Rosemount, Bonnie (John) Sontag of Farmington, Blair (Kathy) Kleeberger of Dodge Center, and Trudie West of Spring Valley; nine step-grandchildren; ten step-great-grandchildren; nephews, Brian Andrist of Blaine, Dan Andrist of Hayfield, Greg Leth of Byron, Jim Leth of Rochester, Jeff Smith of Mantorville, Sam Kuster of Houston; nieces, Jo Marie Morris of Rochester, Jo Ann Holderness of Pequot Lakes, Suzanne Nelson of Mazeppa, Merri Jo Ziebell of Kasson, Christina Smith of Hayfield, Belinda Andrist of West Concord, Bernita Redding of Mantorville, Kirsten Cadwell of Westminster, CO, Kim Berge of Mantorville and Mary Beesecker of Houston, MN; sisters-in-law, Jan Smith of Mantorville, Mary Alice Trapp of Dodge Center and Roberta Smith of Boulder, CO; his great and great-great nieces and nephews, as well as many cousins and countless friends.

The family would like to express their deep gratitude to all of the wonderful people at Susie's Place, Seasons Hospice and to Mary Alice Trapp for all of their care and support.

Funeral services will be held at 10:00 am on Saturday, April 13, 2013 at St. John's Lutheran Church, 301 8th Ave NW, Kasson, MN with Pastor Marie A. K. Anderson of St. John's Lutheran Church and Season's Hospice Chaplain, Carol Shaffer officiating. Visitation will be at the church on Friday, April 12, 2013, 5:00-7:00 pm, and one hour prior to the service on Saturday.

Burial will be at Wildwood Cemetery, Wasioja, MN. Military graveside services will be conducted by member of the Dodge Center American Legion.

Memorials are preferred to the Dodge County Historical Society or the Shriner's Children's Hospital.

Claremont Service

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