Wallace Tharp, age 91, of St. Francis died December 10, 2020 at M Health Fairview U of M Medical Center. Memorial services will be held at a later date.
Wally Tharp was born on July 12, 1929 at home in Oak Grove, MN to Florence and Albert Tharp. Wally grew up on a dairy farm. He was a big brother to Jack (who was 6 years younger than Wally) and little sister Donna (who was 16 years younger than Wally). Life on the family farm near St. Francis, MN was spent milking cows and harvesting crops. Wally grew up during the Great Depression, World War II and the Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940. But as Wally said “We were pretty self sufficient on the farm.” Wally graduated from St. Francis High School in 1948 (back then all 12 grades were in one building). After graduation Wally started driving school bus for St. Francis school district. He did this for 17 years and it worked out well with running the family’s dairy farm. One of the Tharp family’s neighbors was Mona Westlund and her husband and kids. Mona introduced Wally to her sister Joyce Andersen and Wally and Joyce begun dating. Wally and Joyce were married on April 30, 1965. Wally and Joyce moved to their own small farm east of St. Francis where Wally raised soy beans, rye, alfalfa and corn. In 1965, Wally also stopped driving school bus and started working for Anoka County Highway Department as a Sign Technician and also plowed snow for Anoka County. Wally and Joyce’s first child was Linda born in 1966 and son Steve was born in 1968. Wally taught his children to work hard and save for a rainy day. Both children graduated from St. Francis like their dad and also both followed in their dad’s footsteps by working in public service jobs, Steve at the St. Francis bus garage and Linda at Anoka County. Wally retired from Anoka County in 1990 after 25 years of service. Wally continued to farm after retiring from his day job. Wally’s favorite tractors were Oliver tractors. Wally had several Oliver tractors but his favorite one is shown in the photo with him. During retirement Wally enjoyed collecting Oliver tractors and memorabilia, mowing the lawn on his riding mower, watching westerns, doing wordfinds, walking around the farm and spending time with wife Joyce watching the many birds and wildlife in their yard. Son Steve inherited a love of farming from his dad and took over the family farm after Wally retired from farming. Daughter Linda inherited a love of nature and animals from her dad and recalls her dad nursing animals back to health. Sadly, Wally’s heart grew too weak and he left this world on December 10, 2020 at the age of 91. He will be missed by many.