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Pete Smith, Iowa Farmer

Updated on June 19, 2014

A Tribute to My Father on Father's Day

He thought of himself as "just an Iowa farmer" but he was much more than that. He died far too young. Come along on this little journey to look back on an interesting and productive life in this tribute lens for this Father's Day.

I took this photo on his 49th birthday, in the summer of 1965.

Squirrel - named Pete?
Squirrel - named Pete?

Was Pete his real name?

Not until the pet squirrel named Pete

My Dad was named Delbert Leverne Smith by his parents. As a boy, he thought he had a pet squirrel that he named Pete. Of course, it was a wild animal and ran away. But, from those days on, everyone called him Pete.

As an adult, he used Leverne D. Smith on written communications, but everyone who knew him, called him Pete. ;-)

Pop and Mom
Pop and Mom

His mother died when Pete was 8 years old

He was raised by his older sisters - and Pop, of course

This photo was apparently taken shortly before Pete's Mom went to the hospital for a minor operation and died there. He was just 8 years old, with an older brother, three older sisters, and two younger sisters.

They were a close family, on the family farm they always referred to as "The Homeplace" - each eventually married and had families of their own.

They all called their father, "Pop."

Amazon Spotlight Personal Review - "Back to the Homeplace"

Back to the Homeplace
Back to the Homeplace

This book, my debut novel, was largely inspired by stories I heard at home in my youth about my Dad's "Homeplace!"

This is a family saga. I think your will enjoy reading it. It is available from Amazon in both print and kindle editions! ;-)

 
1931 Ford Model A
1931 Ford Model A

Why did Dad have a Model A in High School?

He had to milk the cows, morning and night

My Dad was always proud of the fact that he had a car - a Model A Ford - while he was in High School, in 1930-33. He wasn't rich, but was one of the few students that did have a car.

He had to milk all the cows every morning and every night, so Pop got him a car. He would get up early, milk the cows on the farm, clean up, rush to drive into town for school. He said he parked near the back furnace entrance where the janitor was about to ring the Tardy Bell. Sometimes, the janitor would wait for him, for a minute or two, so he wouldn't be Late for school.

This image, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, is likely newer than Pete's car, but this was the style.

Amazon Spotlight Personal Review - Man's Watch - Dad always wore a gold colored watch as an adult

Dad had to get to school on time, so he did always wear a wrist watch, even when he worked the fields.

This one is very similar to the one he wore, and it is very reasonable priced.

Invicta Men's 6693 II Gold-Plated Stainless Steel White Dial Watch
Invicta Men's 6693 II Gold-Plated Stainless Steel White Dial Watch

This is a watch I could wear. Maybe I should order it, as well. I haven't worn a watch since the one Mom and Dad got me for college graduation quit working. This one looks pretty neat. What do you think?

 
Smith Family 1938
Smith Family 1938

Smith family in 1938 - Pop died in 1939 (the year I was born)

You can see my one older cousin, Gary, as a baby

Here is the family, in front of The Homeplace, in 1938. This is likely Thanksgiving Day, given Gary's age.

Photo Gallery of Pete in younger years

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Dad, Pete, my Mom, and me - about 1941.Pete out working the combine on his Iowa farmPete on tailgate of the pickup loaded with milk cans on a Saturday night. We took the milk to town to sell as a cash crop.A Smith family gathering in 1940
Dad, Pete, my Mom, and me - about 1941.
Dad, Pete, my Mom, and me - about 1941.
Pete out working the combine on his Iowa farm
Pete out working the combine on his Iowa farm
Pete on tailgate of the pickup loaded with milk cans on a Saturday night. We took the milk to town to sell as a cash crop.
Pete on tailgate of the pickup loaded with milk cans on a Saturday night. We took the milk to town to sell as a cash crop.
A Smith family gathering in 1940
A Smith family gathering in 1940
My Dad, Pete, at a School Board Meeting
My Dad, Pete, at a School Board Meeting

Pete served on School Board

Also, rural telephone board and REC Board

Once he had established himself as a successful small farmer, my Dad, Pete, became very active in the community. He served on the committee to consolidate our rural one-room schools with the nearby town school. He later served as President of the Consolidated School System. He was President the year I graduated from High School, and handed me my diploma.

Earlier, he had served on the local telephone exchange board. Later, he served many years as a Director of the regional REC Board.

Home Town Centennial Celebration
Home Town Centennial Celebration

Hometown Centennial Celebration

The only time he ever wore a mustache

I was already off to college, but Mom, Dad, and two of my younger brothers actively participated in the 1963 Centennial Celebration in our home town of Coon Rapids, Iowa. Here they are in costume of the period.

Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Photo of the Iowa Farm - Garage on left; Corn crib on hill. Brother on bicycle.Five sons of Pete and Eileen - 1998Pete walking in front of rural Star Methodist Church building.Pete and Eileen with first three childrenPete with other community men at a church gatheringPete, standing between two sons, shortly before he died of cancer, in 1977, short of his 62nd birthday.
Photo of the Iowa Farm - Garage on left; Corn crib on hill. Brother on bicycle.
Photo of the Iowa Farm - Garage on left; Corn crib on hill. Brother on bicycle.
Five sons of Pete and Eileen - 1998
Five sons of Pete and Eileen - 1998
Pete walking in front of rural Star Methodist Church building.
Pete walking in front of rural Star Methodist Church building.
Pete and Eileen with first three children
Pete and Eileen with first three children
Pete with other community men at a church gathering
Pete with other community men at a church gathering
Pete, standing between two sons, shortly before he died of cancer, in 1977, short of his 62nd birthday.
Pete, standing between two sons, shortly before he died of cancer, in 1977, short of his 62nd birthday.

Your Comments Are Appreciated

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    • PapaKork profile image

      PapaKork 5 years ago

      What a wonderful lens!

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @mizrae: Thank you. Bringing back memories is always good! ;-)

    • profile image

      mizrae 5 years ago

      What a wonderful way to pay tribute to "Pete". I really enjoyed the photo's as looking at them brought back memories for me of my family's farm in Michigan.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @Country-Sunshine: Living on the farm has lots in common to share... thanks for stopping by, and the blessing, as well! ;-) Love the moniker "CountrySunshine" ... ;-)

    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 5 years ago from Texas

      I enjoyed getting to know Pete, and really like all the photos! Thanks for sharing!

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @anonymous: Thank you, John. Really enjoy having you share and comment on my writings about our family. I really appreciate it! ;-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I haven't been too active on face book, Bill, but these photos brought back great memories of our holidays on your farm...Ford's, Kinnicks, etc. I feel like I missed so much when we moved to Calif. in 1948. Oh, well, che sera, sera! Cousin John Brideson

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @AllisonsAttic: Thank you. Nice to see your photo up. Always opportunities to update, for sure. ;-)

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @anonymous: Thank you. It was fun! ;-)

    • profile image

      AllisonsAttic 5 years ago

      Really enjoying this so far..guessing you will add more! Really like seeing the older black and white photos!!

      Miss you Grandpa!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wonderful page!