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Nancy Jean Humboldt Femrite died on Feb. 27, 2023 at the age of 81 and George Ardell Femrite Jr. died on Aug. 2, 2023 at the age of 88 at the Johnson Memorial Care Center in Dawson, MN.
Memorial services will be held on Sunday, October 22, 2023 at 4:00 PM at Grace Lutheran Church in Dawson with visitation for one hour before the service at the church. Arrangements are with Hanson & Dahl Funeral Home in Dawson.
Nancy Jean Humboldt was one of three daughters (Penny Mae, Nancy Jean and Debra Lynn) born to Cliff and Marie Humboldt of Edina, MN on March 18, 1941 in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from Edina High School in 1959 and attended William Woods College (now University) in Fulton, MO, graduating with an associate degree in 1961. After being employed in her father’s Standard Oil Stations in the cities, Nancy married George Jr. on March 2, 1963 at the Grace Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, MN. The reception was held at the Minneapolis Athletic Club. They moved to rural Dawson, living on the family farm until health concerns required George Jr. and Nancy to move into Johnson Memorial Assisted Living in April 2021 and then into the Johnson Memorial Care Center in August and September of 2021.
Nancy adjusted from a city girl (whose horses were boarded at a stable) to a farm wife enjoying her horses living on the farm with her. Nancy’s love of animals became a business of dog grooming, and she raised miniature poodles and miniature schnauzers for many years. Some of her puppies traveled around the world to their new homes and many families sent yearly Christmas letters and photos to keep in touch. Nancy taught dog obedience classes to the neighborhood “kids” through 4-H and to area adults and students through Community Education. In the late 1980s and the 1990s, Nancy and George decided to use their love of raising and training dogs to help others. They became puppy raisers for Canine Companions for Independence and developed life-long friendships with the people whose lives were transformed with the help of their canine companions. These puppies got their start on a small farm in Minnesota, but went on to live in big cities like Minneapolis, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., assisting their humans navigate life working as a team. Nancy’s passion for animals brought not only horses and miniature horses, but sheep, cattle, pigs, a goat, wild turkeys, peacocks, guinea hens, ducks, and turtle doves to their farm. Nancy also enjoyed shopping in person and online for her family and friends, collecting Precious Moments figurines, antique furniture, vintage clothing, dolls, and dishes. Her other interests included crafting, indoor and outdoor plants, and many types of needlework. As with many, age and health made it more difficult to enjoy doing some of these activities later in life. She still loved to see other people’s beautiful flowers and share stories about all of the animals.
Nancy fell in love with George Jr. when she was in high school. They meet via mutual friends in the cities and were married 5 years later. Together they built a beautiful life and raised a family surrounded by love. They taught life lessons by example. Show up for others and be there for them, always do your best and work hard at whatever you do, and never leave the words “I Love You” unsaid. Nancy passed away 3 days before their 60th wedding anniversary.
George Ardell Femrite, Jr. was born April 12, 1935 to George and Gladys Femrite, one of seven children. He was baptized and confirmed at Riverside (Grace) Lutheran Church in Dawson, MN. He graduated from Dawson Public School in 1953, and continued his education at the University of Minnesota School of Agriculture, graduating in 1955. George Jr. also was part of the Marine Corp Reserve in active duty from March 7, 1958 to March 6, 1964. He completed his basic training in Jacksonville, FL on January 24, 1959. His MOS or assignment was a marshaller: a person responsible for directing aircraft in the right position. Gestures and body signals help to communicate with the pilot visually without saying a word. This position was at the Wold-Chamberlain Airport in St. Paul. His Reserve time and college happened during the winter months because of farming.
George Jr. farmed north of Dawson for his entire life, some of the time with his brother Arvid in the early years and later with his son Chris. It was mostly a grain farm, but with Nancy’s love of animals, a wide variety of four-footed creatures and sometimes two-footed creatures made the farm a busy, fun place for all the nieces and nephews. The pony cart was hitched up many weekends and summer days for a ride around the yard and down the driveway at a fast clip. Western riding became George and Nancy’s sport right after they were married. George raised and trained many foals born on the farm through the years. Many of the nieces and nephews have memories riding the horses around the farm, deer hunting with Jr., and “helping” at the farm. A favorite winter activity for the neighborhood was skating on the river and sliding down the hill and onto the river over at George and Nancy’s with a bonfire for warmth, potluck dinner, and sipping hot cocoa or apple cider. George Jr. held a variety of jobs while also farming to help make ends meet. He worked on the line at Ford Motor Company in California for a year, he drove semi-truck when he was not in the field for many years, he worked maintenance at Moduline Homes in Montevideo, and he helped build the Felco Feed Mills in Dawson. Jr. (to his family) was a member of the Dawson Trail Riders Saddle Club, enjoying the Lake Benton Ride and participating in parades and other events. Later, he enjoyed participating in the Oellien Memorial St. Jude’s Trail Ride on Labor Day weekend at LqP County Park. Jr. loved spending time at the LqP County Park just enjoying the day and talking as we rode our horses on the many trails. He assisted in keeping the trails safe for the horses and riders and helped with the annual Haunted Hayride in the fall when he could. George Jr. learned a lot from his dad George Sr. Jr. could repair items most people couldn’t. He would build a part, retrofit it, and be back at work in the field. These skills were evident in the Care Center as any kind of tool couldn’t be left where he could reach it….something would be taken apart! He was always busy doing something, but he would stop everything he was doing to help others. George Jr. always had a kind word and a smile on his face for everyone he met.
Nancy and George, Jr. are survived by a daughter, Tanya Marie and a granddaughter, Tasia (Howard) and her daughters: Brooklynn and Valkyrie. Nancy is survived by a sister, Penny Keuther of Tryon, NC. George Jr. is survived by brothers: Arvid (Jan) of Baxter, MN, Loren (Carole) of Dawson MN, Jerry (Jeanne) of Bloomington MN; and a sister, Joan (Jerry) Weber of St. Cloud, MN. Both are survived by many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Nancy & George, Jr. were preceded in death by a son, Chris Ardell and by their parents, Cliff and Marie Humboldt and George, Sr. and Gladys Femrite. Nancy was preceded in death by her sister Debra Lynn Hyde and her brother-in-law Ralph Kuether. George Jr. was preceded in death by sisters LaVonne (Harold) Mebust and Vernice (Jack) Anderson, and brother-in-law Merlyn Mork.