Walter M. Sowers, 84, Leader, MN, died Wednesday, November 13th at the Sanford Bemidji Medical Center with his loving family at his side. Walt’s service will be held at 11 AM, Tuesday, November 19th at Faith Lutheran Church, Staples. Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 PM, Monday, November 18th at the Brenny Family Funeral Chapel, Staples and on Tuesday for one hour prior to the service. Interment will be at the Poplar Cemetery, Leader, MN.
Walt was born on April 12, 1935 in Wadena, son of Richard and Louise (Wiebesick) Sowers. He was raised on the 3rd generation family farm in Poplar Township, Cass County, near Leader, MN. He attended Crescent Country School and graduated from Staples High School in 1953. He was united in marriage with Lucille Johnson on October 26, 1954 in Wadena. He served apprenticeships as a machinist and as an electrician. He worked construction for Bechtel Corporation both on the Iron Range and in Monticello. He returned to the Leader Area, when he bought the family farm in 1962, making it a 4th generation family farm, and began working as a machinist with 3M in Staples as one of three “first hires” at the new plant. He retired from 3M at age 58 and continued farming into his early 70’s. They primarily raised beef and were known for their Polled Herefords. Walt and Lucille were named University of Minnesota’s Cass County Farm Family of the Year in 2011. Lucille died on March 7, 2018.
Walt and Lucille loved woodworking in their outdoor workshop. He and Lucille were also very active in their community. Walt was a Poplar 4-H Club Adult Leader. He was the Charter President of the Leader Area Lions Club, served as a Zone Chair, Zone Chair Advisor, Environmental Co-Chair and earned the Melvin Jones Fellow award. Walt served as a Minnesota State DNR Fire Warden for over 50 years, on the Poplar Township Board for over 42 years, and as a gun safety instructor for over 30 years. He initiated and was also involved with building the addition on the Leader Community Hall and helped organize the Crow Wing County River Basin Forage Council.
Walt is survived by his children: Charles (Carol) Sowers of Baxter, MN, Robert (Candyce) Sowers of Benson, MN, David (Kathy) Sowers of Minneapolis, MN, Lynda (Alfred) Gavlovsky of Bemidji, MN, Philip (Karol) Sowers of Duluth, MN, Allen (Barbara) Sowers of Minneapolis, MN; 17 grandchildren; 28 great grandchildren; 4 great great grandchildren; three sisters: Phyllis Neitzert of Grand Junction, CO, Edith (Dwight) Dobson of Bluffton, MN, Anita (Reuben) Schultz of Frazee, MN; and a brother: Richard (Joyce) Sowers of Becker, MN. He was preceded in death by his parents: Richard and Louise; his stepmom: Evelyn; a half-brother: Steven and his loving wife of 63 years: Lucille.
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