Every generation has amazing stories to tell and every person’s story is wonderfully unique. I had the great opportunity to listen to the stories of Jon Ronnfeldt, who moved to this community when he was twenty years old. He is a great example of what hard work can do for your life, after creating Ronnfeldt Farms. He is one of the many members of the community in his generation.
Jon Ronnfeldt was born on a small farm in Emerson, Nebraska on August 29, 1935. He grew up in a very small house with his two brothers, one of which was his twin, Don. They did not have very much money or very many toys growing up. “We used old roller skates for our tractors,” Jon said.
They moved from Emerson to Wakefield in 1952. In Wakefield they started a very small farm. Jon says that moving from Emerson to Wakefield and starting his farm were the major turning points in his life. All he knew growing up was farming and he knew he was destined to be a farmer. “All you knew was farming, it wasn’t like now a days when you think about what you are going to do,” said Jon.
He graduated from Wayne High School in 1953 and went directly into the workforce. When asked about his jobs throughout his life, he mentioned working at John Deere for two to three years. He also helped dredge and reroute the Missouri River and put water under the bridge by Decatur.
Some of the many lessons he learned in his work was that you should always work hard and learn from the mistakes you are bound to make even if it seems like you always repeat them.
He met his wife, Marlene, at a dance in Pender, Nebraska. He says some of his biggest accomplishments are getting married to Marlene, having his son Scott and daughter Lisa, and being a Christian. Another highlight in his life was enlisting in the national guard and his six months of active duty.
When asked why he moved to Lyons, Jon said that they needed more land. “The folks wanted us all to be farmers and we didn’t have enough land.” He said that a lot has changed since he moved to Lyons. Many businesses have closed. “There used to be 3 filling stations and a car dealership.” He also said that the population has gone down a lot since he moved here. His family has stayed in the community and he doesn’t see them leaving anytime soon due to the fact that Ronnfeldt Farms is an established business in the swine industry.
Jon has lived an amazing and interesting life, from being born in small town Nebraska, working at many interesting jobs, and building his farm. He is just one story in a generation full of different stories. I would encourage everyone to learn from the stories of the older generations and to keep their stories around forever.