Myron Anton Blank died peacefully May 19, 2020, of natural causes at age 95 at St. Michael’s Assisted in Fountain City, Wis.
Born August 1, 1924, in the Town of Waumandee, Buffalo County, Wis., Myron was the third of Oscar and Lenora (Lettner) Blank’s four children. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Gerald Blank and his wife Louise (Netz) Blank, his brother Orville Blank, his sister Alethea (Blank) Keller, and his niece Mary Louise (Blank) Barnes, wife of Stephen Barnes.
He is survived by his brother-in-law David Keller, nephew David Blank and first wife Laura (Wheeler) Blank Van Sickle and second wife Arlene (Frisell) Parnofiello, niece Katherine Keller, and nephew Daniel Keller. He is also survived by his great nephews and nieces: Justin Barnes and wife Julie (Nellessen) Arnes, Paul Barnes and former wife Maria (Chambers) Barnes and partner Mason DeJonge, Robert Barnes, Heather (Blank) Cohen and husband Adam Cohen, Colin Blank and wife Michele Fischer Blank, and Brian Blank and wife Jaja Alsami.
Myron and Orville purchased the hilltop dairy farm in the Town of Belvidere from their parents in 1955. The following year they lost the barn to fire and rebuilt it shortly afterwards. The farm was homesteaded
by Oscar Blank’s parents Henry and Emma (Schwartz) Blank. In the early years, Oscar grew alfalfa, oats, and corn on 110 acres of the 320 acre farm. The brothers remained on the farm and living in the farm’s
home after the death of their parents. They operated the dairy with a herd of 30 Holsteins. Orville and Myron began raising turkeys in 1958.
They upgraded the dairy to produce Grade A milk and were proud of the reputation they enjoyed for the fine quality of their milk. They retired from milking cows in 1988. In 1998, Orville and Myron sold the farm to Anne (Lettner) Kramer and Joseph Kramer.
Orville died in 1999 of Parkinson’s Disease. During his retirement, Myron delivered parts for Scheidegger Tractor & Farm Equipment in Waumandee, Wis. Myron stayed on the farm, where he and his siblings were born, until 2018 when he moved to St. Michael’s Assisted Living in Fountain City, Wis.
Myron, known to many as Mike, attended elementary school in the one-room wood-framed Anchorage schoolhouse near the intersection of Highway 88 and the exit of the dugway (now named Blank Hill Road)that runs between the farm and the highway. He survived childhood polio, diagnosed when he was
learning to crawl, that left him with a lifelong limp. None of his siblings were stricken with the disease.
Myron graduated from Cochrane High School in 1942. He talked about riding his bicycle to and from school, a nine mile ride each direction on a gravel road that included the long, steep descent into Rose Valley. He played third base on the baseball team coached by Ralph Leahy. He and Orville were avid bowlers and members of teams for several decades in Cochrane and Winona, Minn. Myron enjoyed photography, especially capturing pictures of sunsets, fog in Cream Valley, and an albino white-tailed deer. He purchased and learned how to use a Macintosh computer when he was 76.
Because he had an inquiring mind, he typed the names and numbers of everyone listed in his local phone book in a searchable document, so he could discover who placed classified ads in the town’s newspaper.
Myron was known for his humble, gentle demeanor, twinkling eyes, and the hundreds of pun-jokes that he relished sharing with friends and family members. His great-nephews Justin, Paul and Robert Barnes recall childhood summers visiting Myron and Orville on the farm. They hold fond memories of Myron’s quick wit, big smile, and mischievous eyes. They remember running around the barns, riding on tractors with him, visiting the cows and turkey chicks, and enjoying a hearty breakfast with him, while overlooking the early morning fog in the valley below his front door.
Myron solved thousands of crossword puzzles, attested to by his well-worn dictionary. He was fond of broasted chicken, Schwann’s ice cream, and good lager. He liked ketchup but otherwise would not get near a tomato, raw or cooked. He loved and was deeply proud of the farm and the land it encompassed. The walls of his own and his extended family’s homes were adorned with aerial photographs of the farm that he acquired from a commercial photographer. He was deeply honored when the township named the
road that travels past the family farm, Blank Hill Road.
His family wishes to thank the staff at St. Michael’s Assisted Living for their kindness toward and care of their Uncle Myron.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions limiting gathers, a memorial service will be held at a future date.
Memorials may be directed to the Talbot Family Funeral Home in Alma, Wis.