Marvin Curtis LaGrange

— Zachary LaGrange

Marvin LaGrange, in a photo taken by his grandson Zachary a few months ago, sits in a skid loader while working at his dairy farm.

FEURA BUSH — Marvin Curtis LaGrange died on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, doing what he loved — working at his dairy farm. He was 85.

Born on May 18, 1931, Mr. LaGrange was the seventh generation of his family to live and work on their farm in Feura Bush. Growing up, he attended the one-room schoolhouse in Clarksville that is now owned by the Clarksville Historical Society. He went on to graduate from Bethlehem High School and then graduated from Morrisville State College in 1950.

After finishing his education, Mr. LaGrange, went back to work on his family’s farm. What is now a dairy farm called the LaGrange Brothers Farm, the farm originally had laying hens, sheep, and swine. His son, Douglas, recalls how Mr. LaGrange, along with his brother and grandfather, built a barn to fit 56 cows, eventually expanding the farm to shelter 240. The farm was also upgraded with one of the state’s first milking parlors, a separate area to milk the cows.

“His focus was always to stay in dairy,” said his son.

Marvin LaGrange met his wife, Marion, shortly after he graduated from college. They married in 1956. Devoted to the farm and its 18-hour days, Mr. LaGrange would work the farm all day while his wife did the farm’s books and bookkeeping. His son said their busy schedule kept them from going out much, but, when they did get a Sunday off, they enjoyed square dancing or going on trips together, sometimes taking their children to the Catskill Game Farm.

His son says that, when Mr. LaGrange did take an extended vacation, it was to tour farms. When he traveled to the Canadian Rockies, he took in the sites, but also took in the farms there. When he toured Holland, Switzerland, Germany, and France, he did so on a tour of European dairy farms.

“Most of us want to get away from our job,” said his son, but Mr. LaGrange was different. “It was really his whole life,” Douglas LaGrange said of his father’s work.

Despite an all-consuming workload, his son says that Mr. LaGrange was a good father who taught his three sons to work hard.

“He taught us a work ethic that a lot of us folks don’t have today,” said his son. “My father led by example in that regard.”

Never retiring from work, Mr. LaGrange was devoted to his job right until the end. He died feeding calves with his grandson Zachary — a chore he would do two times a day.

“You couldn’t have asked for a better scenario to finish a life on the farm,” said his son. “It was probably a perfect ending to his life.”

A lover of farmers’ gossip and the animals he took care of, Mr. LaGrange was part of a generation his son describes as hard-working “old-school dairy farmers.”

“His type are dying off,” said his son. “It’s a generation that I think we’ll sorely miss.”

Mr. LaGrange disliked wakes, funerals, and all matters of ceremony, and so his family will scatter his ashes on a hill overlooking the family farm.

****

Marvin Curtis LaGrange is survived by his children, Douglas E. LaGrange and his wife Anita, Dennis A. LaGrange, and David M. LaGrange; his grandchildren, Kristy B. Kaloyanides, Amy E. Roehr, Zachary M. LaGrange, Nicholas A. LaGrange, and Amanda N. LaGrange; and his great-grandchildren, Cameron W. Roehr, and Reagan H. Roehr.

His wife, Marion LaGrange, died before him.

Following Mr. LaGrange’s wishes there will be no services. Arrangements are by the Applebee Funeral Home in Delmar. Memorial contributions may be made in his memory to the Unionville Reformed Church, 1134 Delaware Turnpike, Delmar, NY 12054.

— H. Rose Schneider

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