Pete Smith, Iowa Farmer
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.
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. ;-)
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"
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.
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 yearsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Masonic Rings Amazon - Dad was a life-long Mason
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.
REC on Amazon
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.