William Neil

William “Bill” Neil, age 85 of Northfield, passed away Wednesday, January 11, 2017 at the Reflections Care Suites in Northfield. Funeral Services will be 10:30 am Saturday, January 21st at the Northfield United Methodist Church with burial at Oaklawn Cemetery. Visitation will be 3-7:00 pm Friday, January 20th at the Northfield United Methodist Church and on Saturday 1 hour prior to Services at the Church.

William Thornton Neil was born on December 31, 1931 in Castle Rock Township to Fred and Ruth (Cleland) Neil. He grew up on his family’s farm, as the youngest of seven children. Bill attended country school, Randolph Elementary School, and graduated from Northfield High School in 1950. During high school, he was involved in FFA and worked at Enfield Motors.

He started hauling milk as a relief driver in 1950 and bought his own milk route on June 15, 1956. He continued his bulk milk route until 2006; enjoying the conversation with his customers and watching their families grow. Bill also farmed with his family in Dakota County, raising livestock and crops his entire life.

On May 1, 1956, Bill married Dorothy Lyman at the Northfield United Methodist Church. They lived in Greenvale Township before moving to their farm near Castle Rock in 1964. Together, they raised their children, David, Garry, Nancy Jane, and Steven. Dorothy passed away on November 28, 1985. He married Arlene Fossum on October 1, 2005 at Bethel Lutheran Church, Northfield.

Bill was very proud to be a member and adult leader in the Dakota County 4-H program, with his involvement spanning from age nine until he was 77. He started the Bright Stars 4-H Club, served as county Federation treasurer, and served as a beef project leader. As a young adult, he was involved in the Rural Youth Association and was awarded the State Outstanding Member award in 1955. Bill served on the Federal Land Bank Board of Directors, Dakota County Farm Bureau Board, and the Castle Rock Township Board of Supervisors. The Neil’s were recognized as the Dakota County Farm Family of the Year in 1993. Bill was a member of the Northfield United Methodist Church.

Throughout his life, Bill enjoyed finding the right piece of farm equipment by checking the Sunday paper want ads and going to auctions in his younger days and having Arlene check the internet after they were married. He purchased many tractors, all of them RED, but always had green trucks, including his 1949 Chevrolet pickup. Bill enjoyed coffee and good conversation at several locations, including The Quarterback Club, Castle Rock Mini-Mall, and Roehl’s. He liked playing cards, especially 500 with neighborhood friends and at the senior center. Bill followed the Northfield Raiders basketball teams closely and loved watching his grandchildren play for the Randolph Rockets. His trademark uniform was bib overalls, which he wore until his final days.

Bill’s focus was his family and always appreciated that his career allowed him to spend time with them, as he took his kids and most of his grandchildren on the milk route. He enjoyed working together on their diversified farm. Bill was a dependable babysitter and driver for his grandchildren over the years. His smile, caring attitude, and gentle teasing will be missed.

Bill is survived by his wife Arlene; daughter Nancy (Darin) Hegland of Northfield; sons David (Ann) Neil of Pine Island, Garry Neil of Northfield, Steven (Keely) Neil of Northfield; grandchildren Ruth (Tim) Greenslade, Elizabeth and Bradley Neil, Jeffrey (Carrie) Neil, A.J. (Cortney) Neil, Amelia (Ryan) Kappers, Ryan, Ella Jane, and Maria Hegland, Jackson and Hannah Neil; 6 great grandchildren; step children Julie (Dale) Walston, Kevin (Vicki) Fossum, and Craig (Sandra) Fossum; brother and sisters-in-law Gene (Betty) Berge, Marilyn (Glenn) Lueaders, and Judy Berge; 6 step grandchildren, 5 step great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife Dorothy; sisters Beth and Mary Neil; brothers Fred, Ralph, Paul, and John Neil; twin grandchildren Katherine and Daniel Hegland; and brother-in-law Kenneth Berge.

Memorials to Northfield Hospice or the Minnesota 4-H Foundation.

Craig Gary Ludwig

Craig Gary Ludwig, husband, father, grandfather, passed away Sunday, January 8, one day before his 76th birthday. He was born in Denison, Iowa on January 9th, 1941. Craig attended a one-room schoolhouse, drove a tractor at a young age, and worked on neighbors’ farms in his teen years to earn money to keep his family’s farm going. He always felt a close connection to his western Iowa origins and friends and family in the area.

Craig attended Iowa State University for his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees – where het met his wife Nancy on a blind date on Valentine’s Day, 1965 – and Oklahoma State University for his PhD in Animal Science. He and Nancy married on May 27, 1967, and moved to the Kansas City area in 1969.

Craig worked for the American Hereford Association for 29 years, travelling throughout the U.S. and the world, including Hungary, Australia, southern Africa and South America, and making many lifelong friends. Following his work for the AHA, he was the CEO for several other cattle associations.

At home Craig was a skilled builder and remodeler, finishing his basement and building a bedroom and bathroom, and building a beautiful deck in his backyard, which subsequently provided years of quality family and grilling time. He loved caring for his yard, planting and tending his extensive garden – especially the tomato plants and flowers – feeding the birds, playing fantasy football with his longtime league, and participating in his Bible study group.

When his sons were young, Craig coached their softball and 3&2 Baseball league teams, leading them to division championships on a couple of occasions to his great delight. As a sports fan, he was also for many years a keen tailgater at Chiefs games with close friends.

His grandchildren were his pride and joy and he went to many baseball, football, soccer, and basketball games played by his grandchildren living in the Kansas City area. He and Nancy were also able to visit their two granddaughters on several occasions when they lived in England and Germany.

Craig is survived by his wife of 49 years, Nancy, his son Chad (Tracy Moran), his daughter Laura Butler (Marvin), his son Scott (fiancée Bri), brothers Arnold (Marilynn) and Jon (Barb), grandchildren Elrica and Gabriella Ludwig and Remi, Brody, and Hadley Butler. Preceding him in death were his parents, Arnold and Marjorie Ludwig, his sister Suzan and brother-in-law Ronnie.

The family would like to thank the wonderful staff at St. Luke’s Hospital, Kansas City MO, that provided care for Craig through his many health problems, to his internist of many years, Dr. Frank Titterington, and to the staff of the various other facilities who cared for him in the last several months. Donations in Craig’s name can be made to the Trinity Lutheran Church, 5601 W. 62nd Street, Shawnee Mission, KS, 66202, or to the City Union Mission, 1100 E 11th St, Kansas City, MO 64106.

Vernon W. Sanders

Vernon W. Sanders, 94, passed away on Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, following a series of health issues.

He is survived by his nephew Duke Herrero (wife Jill), nephew Mark Herrero and an extended family of cattle breeders and friends worldwide.

He was born in San Francisco in 1922 and graduated from Stanford University in 1947 with a B.A. in psychology. In 1948, Vern was married to Jane Prakel of San Francisco for 10 years. They had no children. During World War II, he served four years in the U.S. Army, retiring as field artillery captain, followed by five years in the Army Reserve.

His business career included vice president of Thompson Aircraft Tire Corp. for 10 years, and ultimately president for another 10 years. Thompson was a large military supplier following WWII with factories in California, Florida, New York and Belgium.

In 1960, Vern Sanders bought the first Polled Hereford cattle for his Oak Hill Ranch near Santa Rosa, CA. Oak Hill was successful with numerous championships in the early ‘60s, and in 1967, he bought property in South Central Montana he named Beartooth Hereford Ranch, where he began acquisition of Registered Polled Hereford livestock. After a reorganization dispersal sale in 1979, Vern became partners with manager George Ellis, and they continued the unprecedented success with numerous Superior Sire awards, Gold Trophy Dam awards and National Show Championships. Over the years, Beartooth became a force in the show ring with Premier Breeder awards in 13 of 16 consecutive National Polled Hereford Shows.

Vern Sanders was an innovator in record keeping and performance testing in an era when little or no records existed. He pioneered and created computer programs and systems that measured and tracked every stage of development of every animal he owned. Many of his innovations have become standards in Breed Association records and Purebred breeding programs around the world. He created some of the early Artificial Insemination protocols, and Beartooth was site of the first on-farm embryo transfer in North America in 1977.

Vern Sanders was a member of Big Brothers, past president of the Tire Industry Association, a member of President Eisenhower’s Highway Safety Committee, past president of the Montana Polled Hereford Association, past chairman of the American Polled Hereford Association, and a director of the National Cattlemen’s Association. He was a lifetime member of the American Legion and VFW, and a selfless supporter of Honor Flight. Following retirement he focused much of his time on Veteran activities and travel.

He was a downhill skier into his 70s throughout the Rockies and the European Alps, was an avid motorcycle rider while living in Marin County and enjoyed international travel while promoting his cattle.

Vern was the consummate gentleman, in every sense of the word. He was the kind of man that sent a personal thank you note. Well into his 90s he would still open the door and pull out a chair for a lady. He would go out of his way to ask how you were doing. He made you feel as though your life was the most important thing to him, and he loved to catch up over a glass on the rocks, no water.

We will miss his gentle, caring and polite demeanor. We will miss his guidance and steadfast hold on manners, integrity and dignity. He will live on with the lives he touched, and the global effect his cattle and innovations have had on the livestock industry.

Per his request, there will be no funeral service and his ashes will be scattered on the ranch he built and loved. Memorials may be made to your local VFW or charity of your choice. Vern would want us to remember him with a “remember the time he ..." story, and honor him with a kind and respectful gesture to someone you meet.

Robert Milligan

Robert J. Milligan, 93 yrs., of Kings, IL, passed away Thursday, December 29, 2016 in Fort Pierce, FL. Bob was born January 8, 1923 to Harry and Kathryn (Oakes) Milligan on the family farm in White Rock Township, IL. He married Ann Marie Miller on September 2, 1949.

Bob loved life and lived it to the fullest. He deeply loved his family and friends. Bob is survived by his wife of 68 years, Ann, four children: Jim Milligan, Mac (Grace) Milligan both of Kings, Jacque (Bill) Rowland and Martha (Terry) Ashcraft both of Albuquerque, NM; four grandchildren: Breanne Rowland, Lynzie Rowland (Nic Argibay), Robert and Andrew Ashcraft. He was preceded in death by granddaughter, Kathryn “Katie” Nicole Milligan.

He was a legend in his own time. He spent most of his life farming and raising one of the oldest herds of Registered Hereford Cattle in the U.S. started by his father in 1918. He was a trick rider on the Iowa State team called the Cosacks doing tricks involved with horses. He was a member of the Lions Club for more than fifty years. He was supporter of 4-H as a member, leader and judge of many county fairs. He raised an internationally known herd of Hereford cattle exhibiting them over 40 years at The International Show in Chicago and over 60 years at the National Western Show in Denver. In early years hauling them by railroad. He was also a member of the former Kings Presbyterian Church.

In Celebration of a life well lived, there will be a visitation from 4:00 - 7:00 P.M., Wednesday, January 4, 2017 at the Unger-Horner Funeral Home, 400 N. 6th St., Rochelle. The funeral service will be held at 10:00 A.M., Thursday, January 5 at the First Presbyterian Church, 1100 Calvin Road, Rochelle with Pastor James Tilley officiating. Burial will follow the service at White Rock Cemetery in Kings. Memorial donations may be made to Rochelle Lions Club or Ogle County 4-H visit www.ungerhorner.com to sign the online guest book.

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