Alfred Smerud

Alfred J. Smerud, 93, of Onalaska, WI, formerly of New Albin, died Saturday, January 28, 2023 at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse, WI. Memorial services will be held Friday, February 10 at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in New Albin with Fr. Joseph Sevcik officiating. Burial will be in the church cemetery.

Friends may greet the family from 9:30 a.m. until the time of services Friday at the church. Thornburg-Grau Funeral Home in Lansing is handling arrangements.

Alfred Joseph Smerud was born March 6, 1929, one of 11 children, to Oscar and Clara (Wild) Smerud in Houston County, MN. He was educated in a one-room rural school and graduated from the New Albin high school, where he played baseball and basketball. It was there that he met Lorna Darling; they married shortly after graduation. They were lovingly together for 76 years and had four children: Trudy, Susan, Sam and Jane.

As a very young child, Al and his sister, Clara Louise, took piano lessons. An accomplished pianist, he loved playing and everyone loved hearing him play. He entertained his children with his talent for whistling while they guessed the song and composer, making it a game.

Al was employed by Trane Company in La Crosse, WI for 40 years as a tool and die maker and thoroughly enjoyed his work. He was a proud union member, serving on the bargaining committee for many years.

His leisure time was spent fishing, playing catch, golfing and walking, and he was always a lover of nature. Family vacations were always taken, many to California. After retirement, Al and Lorna continued their travels and enjoyed many winters snow birding in Arizona.

Family and faith were the most important things to Al as evidenced by his love for and influence on his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. An altar boy his whole youth, Lorna first saw him on the altar. Fr. Lawrence Hayes was a mentor and influenced his life in many ways; Al was honored to be a pallbearer at his funeral in Dubuque. It is prophetic that at the end of his life the last two things he said were “thank you” to the priest, Fr. Dan Sedlacek, after receiving the blessing of the sick and “I love you” to Lorna on their 76th wedding anniversary five days before his death.

A special thank you to Eagle Crest North in Onalaska, WI, where Al and Lorna have lived these last five years. Your excellent care and friendship will never be forgotten. Also, a special thank you to the sixth floor staff at Gundersen Lutheran Hospital in La Crosse for their care and comfort.

Al is survived by his wife, Lorna, of Onalaska, WI, three daughters: Trudy Infelise of Minneapolis, MN, Susan (Carl) Salek of Westby, WI and Jane (Frederick) Beseler of Houston, MN; nine grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his son, Sam; his son-in-law, Tom Infelise; his granddaughter-in-law, April Salek; and his siblings: Sara, Edmund, Rose Mary, Margaretta, Evangeline, Rita, John, George, Donald and Clara Louise.

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