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Ferne Mae Toft was born in the Sioux Rapids vicinity on September 6, 1927. She was the youngest child born to Fred and Anna Tielbur Lohof. She had two older siblings, Ray Frederick Lohof and Ruth Ina Brugger.
Ferne grew up in Clay and Palo Alto counties. After graduation from Cornell, she attended NBT business school in Sioux City. She worked for a short time at the Primghar Farm Bureau office before her marriage to a farmer, Ralph Christian Toft on December 22, 1946. There was always much work to do on the farm. There was no running water or plumbing. The water was pumped by the horses for the chicken house, for which Ferne was responsible. She carried two five-gallon pails of water, one in each arm, to a 60-gallon barrel for the laying hens. There were always eggs to clean and pack in 30 dozen cases.
Fern was a wonderful seamstress. When her second son was born, Ralph brought home a new Pfaff sewing machine. She made a lot of her family’s clothes. She even got a college credit in tailoring from Emmetsburg Junior College. As her family grew, she used her talents to make beautiful quilts for her children and grandchildren, which will forever be treasured. She was also active in making quilts at church for missions.
Summertime on the farm meant gardening. Ferne always had a large garden and canned or froze many vegetables and fruits. Ferne loved flowers! She had many beautiful flower beds to care for and enjoy.
Along with family, the Bethlehem Lutheran church in Royal was an important part of her life. She held offices on Church Council, Circle, Ladies Aid, Alter Guild, Jr. Missionary leader, and sang in the church choir for over 40 years.
Ferne was preceded in death by her parents; her loving husband, Ralph in 2012; brother, Ray Lohof of Germany; sister and brother-in-law, Ruth and Bill Brugger of Torrance, CA; sister-in-law and brother-in-law Mildred and Myron “Turp” Swanson of Royal; sister-in-law and brother-in-law Marion and Ralph Dumkrieger of Linn Grove.
Ferne is survived by her sister-in-law Marianne Lohof of Germany; son Gary (Mary Kay Lux) of Arnolds Park; son Greg (Renee) Toft of Spencer; daughter Diana (Jim) Mingus of Spencer; grandchildren Gabe Toft of Spirit Lake, Nathan Toft of CA, Mariah Toft of CA, Lathe (Nicole) Toft of Papillion, NE, Lexi Toft of Elkhorn, NE, Sara Johnson of Chandler, AZ, Mara Seversen of Spencer, Christa (Ryan) Opheim of Bloomington, IN, Carolyn Lux of Denver, CO and David (Kori) Lux of Everly; great grandchildren Emelynn Ferne Toft, Ruth and Wyatt Lohof Tackett, Lauren and Owen Toft, Davin, Dakoda, and Dixon Lux, Carson Wendel and Kaleigh Toft, Madeline and Marlee Johnson, Aiden, Braden and Macie Seversen, and Violet Mae, Emery and Ruby Opheim; and many other relatives and friends.
Visitation will take place Sunday, December 26, starting at 2:00 P.M., with family present from 2-4:00 P.M., at Warner Funeral Home in Spencer.
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