Farm Horizons, February 2012
Dassel Co-op driver retires at 75
By Kristen Miller
Wilton Munson remembers the April day in 1970 when Lars Pankake asked him to come work at Dassel Co-op Dairy Association.
Munson had been grinding feed there from his own 60-acre farm west of Dassel when Pankake talked him into delivering feed for a living.
“It fit in with the farming,” he said. “There wasn’t enough money in farming so you had to do something else,” he added.
On one of his first deliveries, he remembers riding with Gary Mortenson. When he started up the truck, the auger was making a strange noise and quit working after the truck was already loaded.
Though he ended up shoveling all the feed out by hand, he also learned how to fix it and did so from then on.
“Oh, he could fix anything in his day,” said Munson’s son Andy.
Forty-one years and three delivery trucks later, Munson retired at the age of 75 the only thing stopping him from continuing was arthritis.
“I couldn’t get up on the truck any more,” Munson said, explaining that he tried climbing up to see how full the truck was with oats and lost his strength to do so.
“I enjoyed the work as long as I could do it,” Munson said, who retired in April. A retirement open house took place in December in conjunction with his 76th birthday celebration.
“He was a dependable, hard-working guy,” said his manager for 27 years, Dennis Danielson.
He liked that the job took him around to various farms around the area and was able to meet a lot of different people. “I didn’t do the same thing every day,” he said. When he wasn’t driving the bulk truck, he was working in the feed mill.
In those 41 years, Munson also witnessed the industry change. He noted the size of farms have grown considerably from when he first started the job.
How milk was hauled has also changed going from 10-gallon jugs to bulk milk trucks.
As a farmer, Munson started out at age 20; taking over the farm after his father, Sture, died.
He remembers the days of pulling a plow behind horses. At age 13, Munson’s dad bought his first tractor a 1948 International C with 20 horsepower. Now he has a International 1066 with 146 horsepower.
Munson has even cheated death a few times, having tipped over two tractors, Munson said with a laugh.
His son Andy told of the story when his father rolled the skid loader upside down with no roll cage attached. He ended up having surgery for a dislocated elbow. This was also the only time Munson ever missed work, as far as Danielson could remember. “He was here like clockwork.”
Munson remains in the same farmhouse he was born in 76 years ago, which also became a Century Farm in 1984.