John Smerud

John Francis ‘Chick’ Smerud, 90, of New Albin passed away peacefully in his sleep at Thorton Manor in Lansing August 29, 2015. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Joseph Catholic Church in New Albin Wednesday, September 9, with visitation from 9:30 a.m. until services begin at 11 a.m. The Rev. Fr. John Moser will officiate. Inurnment will be in the St. Joseph Cemetery.
John was born to Oscar and Clara (Wilde) Smerud and raised on a farm outside of New Albin. He was one of 11 children that included Sara, Edmund, Rosemary, Evangeline, Margaretta, Rita, George, Donald, Alfred and Clara-Louise. John attended country school and New Albin High School. It was at a friend’s gathering that he met a young woman named Rita Lyons. They married November 29, 1947.
John and Rita farmed for 10 years on English Bench in rural Allamakee County. They moved to Jefferson Ridge in Houston County, MN, where they farmed successfully for 37 years while raising their family. They were honored to be Houston County Conservation Farmers of the Year. As they took a picture of them in the field, John quipped, "Looks like we are outstanding in our field."
John was honored to be a part of the Freedom Flight to Washington D.C. He was a member of the VFW and American Legion and was proud of his time in service of this country in the Army during WWII.
He was a quiet man, deferential and unassuming. His accomplishments made no headlines. He was the man who left space for you to change lanes in traffic. He was the man who added generously to the tip jar when no one was looking. He was the man who made your job a little easier or your day a little brighter but never took credit for it.
In retirement, John and Rita cherished traveling to see their children and grandchildren. They enjoyed their penny and nickel slots during their several trips to Las Vegas, euchre tournaments they had during family visits, and socializing with their many friends. As a remarkably devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, John was active in church and community, and a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church. He will be deeply missed by all.
John lives on in the hearts, minds and bodies of his five children: Thomas (Ann) Smerud of Greeley, CO, Michael (Randi) Smerud of Dallas, TX, Scott (Theresa) Smerud of La Crosse, WI, Mary (Greg) Hejlik of Bonita Springs, FL and Kara Smerud of Caledonia, MN; his grandchildren: Brian (Jennifer) Smerud, Patrick (Megan) Smerud, Kevin and Alison Smerud, Katie and Matthew Smerud, Anna (Smerud) and Michael Taylor, Aidan, Quinlan, Kristian and Emma Smerud; Melissa (Hejlik) and Stacy Kodani , Nicole (Hejlik) and Carlos Gomez and Eric Hejlik, his great-grandchildren: Braden, Adelyn and Raymond Smerud, Amelia Kodani, and Ian and Ayla Gomez; and a very dear friend, Belva Becker. He is further survived by two brothers, Alfred (Lorna) Smerud of La Crosse, WI and Donald Smerud of Waukon; a brother-in-law, Francis (Joyce) Lyons of Waukon; and two sisters-in-law, Theresa Lyons of Waukon and Betty Zischke of La Crosse, WI; plus numerous nieces and nephews.
John was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Rita; a son, Francis John; a grandson, Greg Hejlik, Jr.; two brothers, Edmund Smerud and George Smerud; and six sisters, Sara, Rosemary, Evangeline, Margaretta, Rita and Clara-Louise.
McCormick Funeral Home of Caledonia, MN is assisting the family with arrangements.