Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Eulogy for Dad’s Funeral


Eulogy at St. Michael's Church, Cartwright

March 5, 2011

Dad was a great and trustworthy human being who served his family, friends, community, state and nation, exceedingly well. He was a mighty pillar of character, integrity, and commitment to the larger good, characteristics that richly served all who knew him and felt his influence.

As you can imagine, he was an enormously helpful example to me during my youth, and ever since, as I attempted to follow in his footsteps—despite choosing an academic career instead of farming and ranching. He would have preferred that I return to the farm and carry on the family tradition. Fortunately, Ron and Mavis, and their family, chose to stay on the farm, and have done an exceptional job of assuming the farming and ranching responsibilities—while caring for, and helping, Dad during his final years. My hearty thanks to them for their dedication and contribution to Dad's well-being.

I have huge respect for Dad's accomplishments over his long life-span. Although his basic occupation was farming, he did a number of other jobs to help support his family. For example, He got a job with the Government Land Utilization Program (part of President Roosevelt's New Deal) in 1935 helping develop water supplies for the government pastures all around McKenzie County. He quickly became foreman of a crew. He also worked part-time as a Farmers Union Insurance Agent over several years.

He served on the Farmers Union Oil Company (now Cenex) Board of Directors for 28 years, including several years as President. He was Inspector in charge of elections for 35 years, was Director and Executive Director of the McKenzie County Grazing Association for 30 years, and was appointed by North Dakota Governor, Arthur Link, to the Regional Advisory Board for the Trails West Committee. Later, he served on the State Advisory Board of the North Dakota Rangeland Resource Program.


He served many years as vestryman and warden for the St. Michael's Episcopal Church here in Cartwright, and was on the Governing Board and President of Sioux Farmers Union local. He helped organize the Cartwright Irrigation District with neighboring farmers.


He was Conservation Achievement winner from the Lower Yellowstone Soil Conservation District in 1976, and was honored at the state Soil Conservation Convention in Fargo. Several magazine and newspaper articles were written about his farming and ranching achievements. He and mother made hundreds of friends from all over the country, who widely respected him for his wonderful character and good humor. He was clearly and deeply trusted by his neighbors, friends, and family. What greater honor could he have wished for?


Because of his leadership at the local, county, and state levels he and Mother were delegates to several national Farmers Union Conventions around the country, and were local representatives to several state political conventions. As their prosperity increased, they traveled extensively, to many parts of the continental United States, as well as Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean Islands, and Europe.


During his long lifetime, Dad was faced with innumerable huge challenges, but he always managed, with Mother, to create a happy and productive household, from which we have all benefited greatly. The family has always been the center of their universe. Dad's extended family now includes 14 grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren, and 11 great great grandchildren—all of whom held Dad in very high regard.


It is a great honor to be his son.



William R. Lassey


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