Charlotte Blanche (DeRider) Smith of Walnut Grove passed away Tuesday, December 6, 2011 in hospice near her winter home in Apache Junction, AZ after a protracted battle with COPD, complicated recently by pneumonia, 24 days before her eightieth birthday.
Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 13 at St. Paul Catholic 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 on Tuesday at the church. Interment is in Calvary Catholic Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred. Stephens Funeral Service – Walnut Grove Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
Charlotte was born on her family’s farm site near Russell MN December 30, 1931, graduated high school as valedictorian, then enrolled in Mankato State Teacher’s College. After nearly two years of college, she worked for an insurance company in Minneapolis for about a year. She had met her future husband Duane while still in high school in Russell, where Duane was working on an area farm. Charlotte and Duane were married November 18, 1950 and from that date began a remarkable 50+ year farming career together at the home place south of Walnut Grove. Charlotte’s keen intellect and bookkeeping skills made her a natural for managing the complex financial interests of the farming business, and she carried out that role with great aplomb. She was an accomplished seamstress, cook, baker, canner, singer… essentially a ‘jill-of-all-trades’, which made her an indispensable partner with Duane in building their farming legacy. That intellect also served her well when enjoying one of her passions: card games. Poker, uchre, whist, 500…whatever the game, Charlotte’s bid-making and pot-winning abilities were admired by all her competition…and feared by many. And when harvest season came around, Charlotte was there to help the family with the demanding task of bringing in the crop. Duane is still proud of saying, “Charlotte could handle a thirty-foot bean head as good as anyone, and she never put even one scratch on that combine.” She imbued her seven children with her own character attributes of a strong work ethic, self-reliance, motivation, and confidence, encouraging their unique talents and abilities, and enabling them to achieve their various life successes. For 61 years, Charlotte and Duane lived their wedding vows: “for richer, for poorer”, “in sickness and in health”, and now has come the fulfillment of the final vow. Eternal good health and happiness are yours, Charlotte. We’ll miss you for now, but we’ll see you again soon.
Charlotte is survived by husband Duane Smith; daughters Kathy (Michael) Fiala and Belinda (John) Henle; sons: Blair (Tania) Smith, Guy (Elizabeth) Smith, Steven (Anne) Smith, David Smith, and Jeffrey Smith; many grandchildren and great grandchildren; sisters: Bonnie Thooft, Shirley Buechner, and Joan (Ray) VanLerberge; and many nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by parents Alice and Charles DeRider, sisters Betty Moat and Carol Lang and brothers Merlin DeRider, Charles (Jr.) DeRider, Donald DeRider, and James DeRider.