90-year-old farmer's wish granted in visit
Fond du Lac — Edsel Wiegert, 90, of Brookdale Fond du Lac, was born into a farming family. He has been working on a farm ever since he could walk. Edsel’s parents ran a small, 160-acre dairy farm, and by the age of 7, Wiegert was hand milking the cows. When Wiegert’s father fell ill during The Depression, Wiegert stayed home from school to ensure the farm continued to run smoothly.
He was so dedicated to farming that he never graduated high school. He made it through eighth grade before he became a full-time farmer. Wiegert wished he could visit a large farm to reminisce about his time on the farm, and see the advances in farming.
As an adult, Wiegert bought the neighbors farm right next door to his parents. When his parents got old and could no longer care for their farm, Wiegert bought their farm as well. Leasa Lefeber, Wiegert’s daughter, said “with me, mom, dad and my grandparents, we were able to work the farm.” The farm consisted of cows, sheep, pigs, green fields and cornfields.
In 2009, Wiegert was diagnosed with kidney failure and could no longer care for his land or animals. As a result, he was forced to sell his farm. Unfortunately Wiegert’s farm has since been torn down.
Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale Senior Living recently took Wiegert, Lefeber and Brookdale associate Angela Bledsoe, to Vir-Clar Farms on Jan. 3. Bledsoe said this wish "lit up a world that Edsel had been missing.”
After seven years, Wiegert not only had the opportunity to get back out on a farm and do what he loves most, but also reminisce with Vir-Clar Farms owners Katie Grindstead and Gary Boyke. Wiegert knew Grindstead's grandparents, and enjoyed sharing his fond memories with them on their farms.
“Farming is where his heart lays — with the land, animals and fieldwork," said Lefeber. "Being a farmer, it’s in his heart.”