By Lori Gottula
Sometimes, actually too often, when a man has passed his prime and has been absent from the business and volunteer community for years or even decades, we forget about the many contributions that he made. Then, years later, we remember him fondly as he’s carried out of a church or chapel by six of his closest relatives and friends. Not this time. This time, the committee that selected the Grand Marshal of the Falls City Cobblestone Parade made sure that one of Falls City’s past leaders received the recognition that he deserves. And when presented with the honor, Francis Seid—a man’s man, a farmer and former owner of a John Deere dealership here in town—cried. He thought that people had forgotten him long ago. Now, he knows they haven’t. (And he is thrilled that the woman who rode beside him on all of his endeavors will ride beside him in the Cobblestone parade, too. His wife, Bev, was a huge part of his success.) The nomination form, submitted by his children and grandchildren, states that “Francis is proud to say that he has been a farmer for the past 84 years, farming in Nemaha and Richardson Counties.” And that’s just scratching the surface!
“Francis became a Falls City businessman in 1963 when he purchased the failing John Deere Implement store, which was located where the current Hullman Ford dealership is today,” the nomination form said. “He ran the store for more than 30 years. He hosted the notorious John Deere Day each year, also, feeling more than 500 local patrons at the store. In the early 1970s, he also purchased the GM auto business located at the current warehouse for Harmon’s OK Tire store. He later built a new location on the north edge of town, a building that is now home to Home Lumber. Francis employed local high school students, and guaranteed jobs to area students when they returned to Falls City with degrees from trade schools such as Milford.” But Francis is possibly most noted for his community involvement and contributions. He was a member of the local Elks chapter, an active member and former president of the Chamber of Commerce, and a former director of the very parade for which he will serve as grand marshal (although it was called “Horse Play Days” at the time). His children fondly remember him telling people where to go, while strolling around with his cane. Francis also served on the boards of American National Bank and also the Richardson Foundation. He was a 4-H leader for many years, and most notably was the director of the Farmer-Merchant Banquet (a.k.a Farmer’s Appreciation Banquet) for decades. He brought in outside entertainment, and fed more than 1000 farmers and community members each fall. The late Rod Vandeberg often told Francis’ family that Francis was a man of his word, and that he (Rod) was proud to call him a friend. So were countless others.
Today, Francis is 92 years old and still goes to the post office every day, then travels to a well-known establishment on the north side of town to shoot the breeze with long-time friends, friends who will never forget the contributions that Francis and Bev Seid made to this community.
Francis and Bev, thank you. We’ll see you at the Cobblestone parade!
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