Darwin Wilson, 95, of rural Morton died Thursday, October 27, 2011 at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, November 3, 2011 from First United Methodist Church in Redwood Falls with burial to follow at the Morton City Cemetery. Visitation will be held Wednesday, November 2, 2011, from 4 until 7 p.m., at the Nelson-Martin Funeral Home in Redwood Falls and will continue on Thursday at the church for one hour prior to services.
Arrangements are with Nelson-Martin Funeral Service of Redwood Falls. E-mail condolences may be sent via
Darwin Ernest Wilson, the son of Edward E. And Laura (Smith) Wilson, was born March 4, 1916 on a farm in Highland Township, Greene County – near Jefferson, Iowa. The family lived on that farm until the early 1920s when they moved – by train – to Morton, Minnesota. The family lived north of Singer’s Blacksmith shop in Morton, then moved to the Scheffler place north of Morton. They moved to North Redwood for a short time, then to the Henry Cook farm west of Redwood Falls before moving again to a farm north of Redwood Falls. This was where Darwin’s youngest sister was born and where their mother died five days later. Their mother’s death, when Darwin was just nine years old, necessitated looking for a new home for the children. During this first year Darwin stayed with two different families before being sent to Iowa to live with relatives. In the meantime, his aunt talked to her neighbors, William and Lydia Blume, about taking Darwin on a trial basis. Darwin was nearly 10 years old when he returned to Minnesota to live with the Blume family. They soon decided to adopt him and gave Darwin the choice of keeping his last name or taking theirs. The final adoption paperwork was signed in September 1928, when Darwin was 12 years old.
Darwin began his formal education at country schools west and north of Redwood Falls. He enrolled in Morton Public School in the third grade and graduated from Morton High School in 1935.
On November 21, 1940, Darwin married Joyce Manthei at the John and Hattie Kuester residence – in a wedding ceremony that was postponed 10 days due to the Armistice Day Blizzard. They set up housekeeping on the Scheffler farm, then moved to the Blume “North Place,” before settling on the Blume farm three miles north of Morton in 1954. The couple lived there for 55 years, moving to Redwood Falls in 2009 and to Gil-Mor Manor in Morgan in 2010.
Darwin was a member of First United Methodist Church in Redwood Falls where he served as chairman of the church board for three years, as an usher, and as a greeter with Joyce. Darwin loved to dance, as did Joyce. On their first date they went to a dance in Morton; this was followed by decades of dancing together. Darwin and Joyce were a graceful couple as they glided across the dance floor, often causing others to pause and watch. In his last months, Darwin “danced” with the nurses in the nursing home and hospital.
Darwin’s other passion was fueled by his sense of adventure – he loved to drive and enjoyed taking roadtrips. To him, the journey was as pleasurable as the destination. Having been to all 50 states, the couple’s favorite destination was Alaska, which they drove to twice, camping along the way in their VW Van-a-gon. They also travelled extensively internationally and visited the countries of Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, the Philippines, Germany, Italy, England, Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand and Israel. The only organized tour the couple took was to celebrate their 50th anniversary in Mexico.
Darwin loved to fish; he also enjoyed playing cards, reading, riding horses in his younger years and gardening in his retirement years. Darwin loved farming and never wanted any other profession. During his last days in the hospital he told the chaplain he never wanted to do anything else. He loved to visit, be it with an old friend, via letter to someone from his school days or with someone he just met. His main love, however, was his beloved Joyce whom he dearly missed. Exactly six months to the date of her death, Darwin joined her as he died peacefully in his sleep, with his family at his bedside.
He is survived by his daughter Carol Pagac and husband Robert of Apple Valley. He was preceded in death by his wife Joyce on April 27, 2011; his son William “Billy” Wilson; his brothers Merle and Robert; and his sisters Doris and Leota.
Blessed be his memory.