Francis Neil Sherman, 88

Published 8:16 am Thursday, March 28, 2019

Francis Neil Sherman, 88, of Austin, Minnesota, entered God’s Kingdom on Friday, March 8, 2019.

Francis Neil Sherman, 88

Francis was born to Melvin and Violet (Whitney) Sherman on April 2, 1930, in Perham, Minnesota. He attended country school through eighth grade, after which he worked for several farmers, breaking horses, and driving a school bus until he purchased the family farm in the 1960s. Farm life proved to be an arduous one, tending his Jersey herd (plus a couple stray Guernseys) while raising the crops to feed them, but it was a gratifying life that he loved. In 1965, he was united in marriage to Beverly Fletcher. They farmed together and had two daughters, Cindy and, two year later, Candy. He later married June Knopp and from this union, his third daughter, Rachel, was born. His poor eyesight forced him to retire, sell his farm, and move to a home in Basswood, where he loved until relocating to Austin with his wife, Elaine. Francis was passionate about many things, but family, faith, music and tractors topped the list. He was a virtuoso with nearly any string instrument, largely self-taught, with his favorites being the banjo, mandolin and his beloved fiddle. His aptitude for restoring old tractors, especially Ford 9Ns, was incredible. He could rebuild one from the frame up despite his sight deficit. His greatest source of pride, however, was his love for the Lord, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, whom he cherished.

He leaves as his legacy three daughters, Cindy Sperl (Stephen) of Audubon, Minnesota, Candy Lachowitzer (Don) of Ottertail, Minnesota, and Rachel Johnson (Peter) of Lawrence, Kansas. He also leaves to cherish his memory four siblings, Marion Swearingen of Tucson, Arizona, Merle Sherman of Frazee, Minnesota, Vance Sherman (Arlene) of Richville, Minnesota, and Charlotte Pyles (Jerry) of Anthem, Arizona; his treasured grandchildren, April Leitch (Mick) of Moorhead, Minnesota, MacKenzie Barry of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, Ben Stavaas, Heather Schmid (Tyler) of Vergas, Minnesota, Tyler Gigstead (Laura) of Fargo, North Dakota, Dan Gigstead of Detroit Lake, Minnesota, Brittany Schanandore (James) or Fargo, Madison Guler (Marc) of Fargo, Jenna Schmitz (Charlie) of Fargo and Kate Lachowitzer of Ottertail; step-grandchildren, Evan Lachowitzer (Sam) of Perham and Michael Hendrickx (Alida) of Sebeka, Minnesota; and was further blessed with 21 great-grandchildren, with another due to greet us in May. His legacy of love and kindness will live on through them for generations to come. He was preceded in death by his parents, Melvin and Violet; brother, Paul Sherman; sister-in-law, Joyce Sherman; and brother-in-law, John Swearingen.

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A memorial service was held on Friday, March 22, 2019, at the Basswood Baptist Church in Richville. The family has many to thank for providing comfort during this most difficult time, including the Clasen-Jordan Mortuary in Austin for their kindness, friends for encouraging words and timely hugs, Pastor and Mrs. Holmquist, and lastly, to Elaine for caring for and being Francis’ devoted companion he last years of his life. May God bless the memory of Francis Neil Sherman.