Virgil Lester Smith, 93 of Dent, MN died at Perham Health on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. Visitation will be 10:00-11:00 a.m. followed by the memorial service at 11:00 on Saturday, October 24 at the Dent United Methodist Church. Burial will be in Pleasant Hill Cemetery near Dent. Masks and social distancing are required during Virgil's services. The memorial service will be live-streamed at the bottom of this page.
Virgil was born on May 16, 1927, in the hospital in Perham, MN, to Herbert and Jennetta “Jennie” (Jamieson) Smith. He grew up on the family farm near Dent on Reames Lake and graduated from Perham High School in 1945.
Following graduation, Virgil farmed with his father on the family farm. During this time, he enjoyed riding his Indian motorcycle with his friend, Archie, whose Harley they rebuilt using a Ford piston and John Deere valves.
Virgil was introduced to his future wife, Marge, by his cousin, Marcia. Virge and Marge were married on June 26, 1954. They lived on Star Lake until buying their own farm on County Highway 41 near Dent where they lived the rest of their lives. They were married 64 years. They raised three children on the farm: Greg, David, and Linda. He was a father who quietly supported his children in any activity they chose.
Virgil raised pigs, sheep, chickens, and Holstein milk cows in the early years choosing later to only milk cows. He farmed for 45 years with his son, David. Virge excelled at anything mechanical. He often welded parts for neighborhood farmers. He was incredibly innovative. He figured, why buy new if you could fix it or create something better? There was nothing he could not repair, build, or make a new part for including a sawmill, post hole digger, and endless tools to help with farm work and woodworking. He went so far as to create a four-wheel-drive vehicle by hooking two tractors together, one of which had a Ford Mustang engine, with all the controls run from the front tractor. He also figured out you could double your tractor’s road speed by pushing it with a trailer made from a truck axle hooked to the PTO.
Virgil enjoyed music of all sorts including country and gospel and spent several years square dancing with Marge in the Underwood, MN area. He could sing a line of a song to match every situation. He demonstrated this often right up to his last days. Virgil’s wit was quick yet understated. He always had a joke to add as he sat at the head of the table at family dinners. Often only those seated close to him could hear it, which was done intentionally.
Virgil and Marge enjoyed traveling to Banff, NY and Norway among other places. Another of his loves was woodworking, with his biggest project being the design and construction of the family cabin on Clitherall Lake. He also enjoyed riding his Ranger four-wheeler and mowing grass up to and including this last summer and fall at age 93.
Virgil loved his family including four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was a lifelong member of the Dent United Methodist Church.
Virgil is survived by his sons Greg of Sabin, MN and David of Dent; his daughter Linda (Shannon) Snell of Alexandria, MN; granddaughters Brittany (Logan Shoup) Smith of Pratt, KS, Carly Snell of Ithaca, NY, and Kimberly Snell of Iowa City, IA; grandson Andrew (Jana) Smith of West Fargo, ND, and their children Jack and Sophie; brother-in-law Bill Wacek of Albuquerque, NM; sister-in-law Lucille Eckhardt of Fergus Falls, MN; along with several nieces and nephews.
Virgil was preceded in death by his wife, Marge in 2018; his brothers Lyle Smith and Dwight Smith; and his sisters Madge Wacek and Cecil Novak.
Schoeneberger Funeral & Cremation Service, Perham, MN (218) 346-5175 www.schoenebergerfh.com
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