To The Daily Sun,
On Feb. 1, 2015, we lost our town icon and agricultural superhero, Mr. Bert Southwick. We feel very privileged that we were able to get to know this dear sweet man, and work alongside him this past summer at his farm. He sure was hard to keep up with.
We organized three very successful workdays at his farm, and many, many thanks to those who came and worked hard. Some of the jobs were dusty, dirty, and often times were done in the sweltering heat and humidity of summer. Looking back, it was meant to be, that we were able to rally and organize the community to come and give a helping hand to this dear man who had helped so many, before he passed away. It meant so much to Bert to know that the community hadn't forgotten him.
We convinced him to be in the T-N Old Home Day Parade, what a beautiful day that was. He was met with so many cheers and love and applause along the parade route as he pulled the big old decorated hay wagon with his old Massey-Ferguson tractor. All of us who were on that float got choked up as we saw the reception that Bert got along the way. And who would have known that it would end up being his last time in the parade.
He was very blessed by each and every one of you who came to the workdays to help, you all made him smile, especially all you teenagers who took the time to come to the farm and work hard, unloading the hay wagons and stacking those bales in the hay barn, stacking 10 cords of wood in his basement, and working with him out back on that old PTO wood splitter of his.
Bert was as strong as an ox, and as sharp as a tack, at 91 years old. He was one hard working man, right up until the time he fell ill and passed. His work ethic was second to none. We are very thankful that we had the opportunity to learn many wonderful life lessons from Bert at the farm ... listen more, talk less, work hard, help those in need, have a good sense of humor, be generous — not selfish, enjoy your favorite foods, share what you have, live simply, spend time in nature, and pay attention to nature, to name a few.
Being the private man that he was, he did not want an obituary or a funeral. There are plans in the works to honor him with a beautiful celebration of life at his beloved Southwick School this summer. Details will be announced when plans are confirmed. There are also wonderful opportunities that have come about to honor his legacy of agriculture and caring for his community.
There is a Bert Southwick Memorial Scholarship fund being established at Franklin Savings Bank. We have had an anonymous donor come forward and offer to match contributions for this, up to $10,000 to honor Bert's legacy. That is wonderful.
We are deeply grateful for the times we spent with this dear humble kind old farmer, and we are proud to continue to honor his legacy with these efforts.
Carolee & Cheyenne Longley
Neighbors and Friends of Bert