Allen Esche, 79 of Bristol died on Sunday, February 2, 2014 at his home in Bristol.
Memorial services will be at 11:00 AM Tuesday February 11, 2014 at Fiksdal Chapel in Webster, Rev. Janet Miller will officiate. Inurnment will be at Bristol Cemetery.
The third of nine children, Allen was born at home in Butler Township on December 8, 1934 to Floyd and Alice (Goff) Esche. He was five when the family moved to his grandparents’ farm one mile south of Bristol in Valley Township. Allen grew to adulthood on that farm.
Allen was baptized and confirmed at Bethesda Lutheran Church in Bristol. He attended kindergarten through 11th grade at Bristol school. He honed his good work ethic on the family farm and has said that a shovel and a pitchfork were his best friends. He fed hogs and milked cows, cleaned the barns, carried water for drinking and washing clothes, and ran his own team at threshing time, working from sun up to sundown.
Allen married Cleo Joan Gill on December 29, 1956 at Bristol. They raised five children together.
Allen entered Army military service in January 1957 and was honorably discharged in January 1959. He spent time at Ft. Ord, CA and Ft. Lewis, WA during his time in service. He also attained his GED certificate while in the Army.
Following his military discharge, Allen moved the family to Hecla where he worked as a hired farm hand for two years.
The family then moved to a dairy farm near Turton in July 1961. In September Allen had a farm accident while mowing prairie hay. His left pant leg got caught in the tractor's power-takeoff and chewed up his work boot and ankle. During the next few years, Allen was in and out of Sioux Valley Hospital in Sioux Falls for several operations on his left ankle, infections and healing complications. Allen was determined to provide for his growing family, however, so he was up working as much as possible. He fashioned an elevated leg-rest and mounted it to his tractor to keep his casted ankle elevated while he drove. Many times during the winter he froze his toes while feeding the cows and clearing snow in the driveway so the Land o' Lakes milk truck could get to the barn. Allen wore a cast for many years and used a crutch for walking for twenty-five years. He eventually developed diabetes and symptoms of paranoia from the stress and strain of dealing with his injury.
Allen was the lucky winner of a car in the Readers' Digest Sweepstakes in 1963. The family was featured in the "Aberdeen American News" newspaper.
In June 1974, Allen and Cleo purchased a dairy farm west of Clear Lake. Allen had a final operation on his ankle to remove a piece of anklebone and fuse the bones together in 1976. He was off his feet all winter while Cleo and the boys ran the farm, but when he was fully healed he no longer needed to use crutches to walk.
In 1989 a severe recession caused them to lose the farm, and Allen again sought work as a hired man. The family moved to a farmhouse northwest of Clear Lake. Allen and Cleo eventually purchased a house in Clear Lake and lived there together until they divorced in 1998. Allen purchased his parents’ house in Bristol in October 2003.
Allen would like to be remembered for his good work ethic and his honesty. He enjoyed fishing, gardening, reading Western novels, and tinkering on cars. He had a special relationship with his grandson, Connor, and visited him often.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Bill, and two sisters, Joanne and Sandra.
Survivors include his former wife, Cleo Esche, Watertown and children, Cheryl Herrig-Ness (Curt Ness), Brookings; Jim (Kim) Esche, Clear Lake; Jerry Esche, Wahpeton, ND; Calvin (Karen) Esche, Clear Lake; Sandra Esche, Watertown; sister, Artis Walton, Brookings; sister, Rose (Jim) Henze, Vermillion; brother, Roger Esche, Washington; sister, Barbara (Jim) Timms, Oklahoma; sister, Diane Drobny, Aberdeen; nine grandchildren, John Herrig, Liza Esche, Mark Herrig, Dustin Esche, Kelly Herrig Chandler, Alex Esche, Danielle Esche, Kristen Esche, Connor Esche; three great-grandchildren, Nathan Esche, Zachary Esche, and Ella Herrig.
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