Obituary: Elmer SchaferElmer Welker Schafer, 77, of Lakefield, passed away Monday, March 23, 2009, at Colonial Manor Nursing Home, Lakefield. A funeral service will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 28, 2009, at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Hunter
Elmer Welker Schafer, 77, of Lakefield, passed away Monday, March 23, 2009, at Colonial Manor Nursing Home, Lakefield. A funeral service will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 28, 2009, at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Hunter
Township, with Pastor Bart Mueller officiating. Burial will immediately follow the service in Holy Trinity Lutheran Cemetery, Minneota Township, Jackson County.
Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Fri-day, March 27, 2009, at Hansen-Osterberg Funeral Home, Lakefield, and one hour prior to the service Saturday at the church.
Elmer was born to Will and Emma (Welker) Schafer on August 7, 1931. Elmer loved to farm and spent his entire life in Jackson County farming, except for two years spent in military service. Elmer attended seven years at St. Paul's Lutheran Church School in Rost Township and was confirmed at St. Paul's Lutheran in 1945.
The Depression of the '30s brought new goals to the Schafer farming family. Horses were the mode of power to do the farming until then but the first tractor, an Allis Chalmers was purchased by the family. It had no rubber tires, lugs instead on the wheels, but Elmer was delighted to drive this tractor. So began his long love of farming. In 1946, Elmer's parents purchased their first farm, located in Minneota Township.
Elmer graduated from Lakefield High School in 1949. Elmer was drafted in 1954 and spent two years in the army, mainly at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Elmer and Florence Kanuch were married at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church on December 26, 1954. Elmer was discharged from the Army in 1956, and the young family settled in at the Schafer family farm.
So the Jackson county citizen, farmer, husband, and parent that Elmer was, settled into service of his community by being a member of the DAV, serving on the Minneota Township board for over 30 years, and through his church by serving many years and offices on the church council. The mainly Slovak community had the German ancestry of Elmer to aid in lay leadership of the congregation. The original farm of 120 acres increased as eventually son Ron joined Elmer in farming. When Elmer and Florence retired in the early '90s, they moved a half mile from the family farm to the home in which they have lived since.
Elmer suffered pain in his back for many years and beginning in 1990, started the series of 10-plus orthopedic surgeries he endured to repair/replace/ fix knees, hips, spine. The harvest season in 2007 was an arduous one for Elmer because he insisted that he was driving the combine for Ron even though Elmer was in much pain. Only when he finished this giant task of 1000 acres did he go to seek medical help.
So it was on June 10, 2008, that Elmer entered the Minneapolis VA Medical Center and had total right hip replacement surgery when something went awry and doctors battled for his life until late that night. He was sedated and in ICU for the next three weeks; then the progression of the next nine months began. Elmer was in the Minneapolis VA hospital until September 25, 2008, when he was moved to Colonial Manor nursing home in Lakefield, to be closer to his family and home.
Colonial Manor was nine miles from the family farm, but Elmer viewed it again only from a van as Ron was harvesting the 2008 crops. Elmer spent part of February and March in the Spirit Lake Hospital and returned to Colonial Manor March 18. Elmer entered eternal life March 23, 2009.
Elmer is survived by Florence, his wife of 54 years; four children, Bev (Schafer) and Dan Miller, Spirit Lake, Ron and Lisa Schafer, Jackson, Betty (Schafer) and Chuck Bettin, Jackson, Lori (Schafer) and Steve Berg of Lakeville; and one sister, Marie and Stan Benson, of St. Peter. Elmer is survived by 13 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. He was a devoted and loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather to his family.
Elmer was preceded in death by his parents, Will and Emma Schafer and his grandson, Joshua Schafer.
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