GIBBON - Merlon Lagerstedt, age 96, of Gibbon, passed away Wednesday, April 24, 2013 surrounded by family members at his home.
A celebration of his life will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, April 27 at Augustana Lutheran Church in Gibbon.
A visitation will be held Friday evening, April 26 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Minnesota Valley Funeral Home in Gibbon and again from 10: a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday at Augustana.
To sign the guest book or leave an online condolence for his family go to www.mvfh.org.
Merlon was born April 18, 1917 in Severance Township, Sibley County, to John and Emma (Nelson) Lagerstedt. He was only 6 years old when his mother, Emma, died. This delayed his school entry for a year, along with the fact that he spoke only Swedish and needed to learn English. Merlon was baptized in Clear Lake near the Clear Lake Baptist Church. He attended Gibbon High School and graduated in 1936. While still in high school he played trumpet with the Grewe Band. On June 18, 1938, he married Jennie Maxwell, the Severance District 8 school teacher, of Amboy, Minnesota in a ceremony at the Methodist parsonage in Vernon Center, Minnesota.
He and Jennie were the parents of six children. They made sure their children participated in 4-H and school activities and they encouraged them to pursue advanced education.
Merlon was always a conservation-minded farmer. In 1969 he was named the "conservation farmer of the year" for Sibley County for planting 1,024 trees and shrubs for a complete farmstead windbreak and for constructing a system of grassed backslope field terraces. He was also an early adopter of the use of the chisel plow to reduce soil runoff and erosion in times of heavy rain. In 2003 his farm was recognized as a Century Farm at the Sibley County Fair.
He loved the Minnesota State Fair, especially "machinery hill." In August, 2012 his children purchased a park bench for the fair in his honor with the Lagerstedt name perforated into the back rest.
Merlon farmed for 75 consecutive years and was active on the farm until he was diagnosed with cancer in November, 2012.
He is survived by his children, all of whom live in Minnesota, Lila (Cliff) Sillerud, of Canby; Lynn (Carol) of Adams; Eileen (Fred) Knudsen of Owatonna; Gary (Carla) of Spicer; Jon of Gibbon; Mark of Woodbury; and special niece Carol (Denny) Fuller of Amboy. Merlon has ten grandchildren and eighteen great-grandchildren.
Merlon was preceded in death by his parents; his two brothers, Raymond and Avery; his wife Jennie in 1995 and a great-grandson Tyler Poshusta.
Memorials may be made in Merlon's memory to Augustana Lutheran Church in Gibbon.