Clesta Mabel Willhite Smith


Clesta SmithClesta Mabel Willhite Smith age 101 of Tracy passed away Saturday, November 2, 2013 at Prairie View Healthcare Center in Tracy. Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, November 5 at the Methodist Church in Walnut Grove. Visitation is 4:00-7:00 p.m. Monday at the Walnut Grove Funeral Home with a prayer service at 6:30 p.m.  Visitation will continue one hour prior to services at the church on Tuesday.  Interment is in the Walnut Grove Cemetery.  Stephens Funeral Service – Walnut Grove Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

Clesta was born on October 7, 1912 to Senator and Susie Anna (Cartwright) Willhite in Palo Alto County, Iowa. When she was a small child the family moved to a farm south of Lucan, MN where she grew up and she attended Country School District #79 through the eighth grade.  She was baptized and confirmed in the Trinity Lutheran Free Church on June 10, 1928 in Lucan. Clesta married Clinton Smith on August 23, 1933 at the Lutheran church parsonage in Lamberton. They lived in Wabasso and Marshall, and in 1944 moved to Walnut Grove where they made their home.

Clesta worked various jobs and became the head cook at the Walnut Grove School for 18 years. She also owned and operated The Village Drive-In in Walnut Grove for a number of years. She was very active in her church where she was involved in Circle, taught Sunday school, was a youth leader, and President of U.M.W.  Clesta was also a lifetime member of the Tracy VFW, Walnut Grove Legion Auxiliary, Birthday Club, and Bible Study Group.  She did a lot of sewing and embroidery work.  Clesta loved to bake and cook, sharing her baked goods with family and friends when they stopped in for coffee.  When she entertained the first thing she did was put out one of her famous tablecloths without a wrinkle in it. Her table was not fancy but very neat with lots of good food.

She is survived by her three daughters: Bonnie (Vernal) Wahl of Westbrook, Beverly Padgett of Fairmont, and Darlene Brandt of North Mankato; 10 grandchildren; 23 great grandchildren; 34 great-great grandchildren; six step grandchildren; 15 step great grandchildren; and 31 step great-great grandchildren.  She is preceded in death by  her parents, husband Clinton, son-in-law Bud Padgett, siblings Everett and George Willhite, Verna Benedict, Iva Arends, and Martha Sluss, many nieces and nephews, two step grandsons, and one step great-great granddaughter.


  1. Kris Sathoff says

    So sorry for your loss. What a blessing to have so much love and happy memories of such a beautiful lady.

  2. Jackson Family says

    Please accept our deepest sympathy. May those precious memories be foremost in your hearts and minds during this difficult time.
    ( Isaiah 25:8)

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