Richard L. Boniface, age 92, of Oak Grove died April 19, 2022 at home. A visitation will be held from 4 – 8 PM, with a sharing time/prayer service at 7:15 PM, Tuesday, April 26th at Strike Life Tributes in Isanti. A memorial service will be held at 11 AM Saturday, April 30th at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Ave, Minneapolis with a time for visiting one hour prior. To view the live stream service click here:
Memorials may be directed to Richard Boniface and Juanita Reed-Boniface 4-H Endowment (2961), c/o U of MN Foundation, PO Box 860266, Mpls., MN 55486-02 or to the family.
Richard (Dick) Lee Boniface was born January 26, 1930 in Rockford Illinois to Harry and Hulda (Olsen) Boniface. The family later moved near Darien, Wisconsin where he attended grade school at Allens Grove and high school at Darien High School, graduating in 1947. Following high school he took a “skip year” and worked at Getzen Music and Thiele Construction before beginning his college education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Dick began as a music major, and played in the University of Wisconsin Marching Band, but discovered his interests were more agriculture/business related. After completing his Bachelors Degree in Agricultural Economics in 1952, he began a 38-year career in marketing with North Central Wool Marketing a regional cooperative in Minneapolis. He began on the grading crew, and then moved to wool buyer and supervisor of field staff. Later he was appointed Public Relations Director, editor for the Wool Sack, the company’s membership paper, and Director of Field Service. At one point The Wool Sack reached 17,000 readers in all 50 states and a number of libraries in 15 foreign countries. Under his direction the buying operation in the fleece wool area east of Missiouri River included 175 buyers, seven area supervisors, acquiring 6-9 million pounds of wool a year, representing 5-15% of the U.S. production at that time.
Dick traveled to all parts of the North Central United States recruiting, training and supervising field staff, organizing and speaking at meetings of sheep producers and association leaders.. He originated the grade and yield method of marketing wool making it possible to sell wool on the current market on a quality basis, and selling ahead on a historic profile of grades.
In implementing and operating the wool testing lab, still a first for any marketing organization in the United States, North Central literally became a world leader in getting the U.S. wool trade to accept micron and scoured yield results in establishing wool prices. North Central was credited in a newspaper article by Australian Commonwealth Scientific Information Research Organizations officials with taking a leading role in getting the international trade to accept lab tests for micron and yields as a basis for selling. The Wool-N-Shop, a retail wool operation at the Minneapolis warehouse was initiated and named by Dick during his tenure at North Central.
Dick gave “extra mile service support” to the industry. The Make It Yourself with Wool Contest, the Minnesota Lamb and Wool Queen contests and the Miss Wool of American contest benefited from his assistence with contest organization, awards, and in judging.
He helped organize the Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers and continued to support the organization with their booth at the Minnesota State Fair for many years. He along with Dr. Bob Jordan, University of Minnesota Sheep Specialist established the Silver Bell award .He served for a number of years on the advisory committee of the Pipestone Sheep Project and often presented at University of Minnesota Sheep Days at the Morris Experiement Station , the Greenbush, MN Sheep Days and University of Wisconsin Spooner Sheep Research Events, the National Lamb Show and South Dakota State University Sheep Day Events.
Dick was an active teacher of youth, college students and adults on all aspects of the wool industry at the Universities of Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and Iowa. He judged state, regional and national fleece wool shows and shearing contests and helped start the Minnesota State Fair 4-H Fleece Show. The Juanita Reed-Boniface and Richard Boniface 4-H Endowment currently provide awards for this event.
He served for a number of years on the advisory committee of the Pipestone Sheep Project and was a repeat presentor at University of Minnesota Sheep Days at the Morris Experiement Station , Greenbush, MN Sheep Days and University of Wisconsin Spooner Sheep Research Events, National Lamb Show and South Dakota State University Sheep Day Events.
Through the matchmaking skills of mutual friend, Dr. Robert Jordan, Dick was introduced to Juanita (Boeckenhauer) Reed, who was to become his wife of 33 years. They were married April 26, 1989, at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church bringing together their blended family of seven children: Rick, Jack, Toby, Jill, Carrie, Kent and Kelly.
Although Dick’s primary work was in the sheep and wool industries, he gave his time and talent generously to many other aspects of agriculture. Dick and his wife, Juanita formed an agriculture education consulting firm in 1992. From 1997-2008 they were Program Coordinators for Minnesota Foundation for Responsible Animal Care (MnFRAC) and gave leadership to designing and implementing Minnesota’s 4-H Livestock Quality Assurance and Ethics program for young producers.
Together Dick and Juanita continued to provide resources on sheep and wool and taught hands-on activities to hundreds of students for Ag-In-The Classroom, Ag Adventures Day Camps , 4-H Family Farm Fests, and County and State Fair educational exhibits. He identified and secured wool, and wool products and provided coaching on wool facts and information to the State Fair staff in the development of the Little Farm Hands Center at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.In 2008 Dick and Juanita were instrumental in reestablishing the Anoka County Farm Bureau organization. With their leadership, the organization conducted award winning educational programs in agriculture literacy including presentation of Children’s Literature Book Bundles to elementary schools, conducting learning activities at the Anoka County Fair and sponsoring a water quality seminar.
Dick served as a District Director and Chair of the Minnesota FFA Foundation, was a longtime donor to the Minnesota State Fair 4-H sheep programs and Purple Ribbon 4-H Auction auction buyer. and donated special awards awards in the Minnesota State Fair Creative Activities Department. Additional community service included fifteen years as a director and four years as President of the Board of Directors of SPIRE Credit Union, 30 year board member of the Metropolitian Boys Choir,and hospitality committees at Hennpin Avenue United Methodist Church. He received numerous awards for both his professinal and volunteer work including American Sheep Industry Camptender, Minnesota Livestock Hall of Fame, WCCO Good Neighbor, Minnesota FFA Honorary State Farmer, Friend of 4-H, Great Lakes Wool Growers Association Outstanding Service to Agriculture and the Sheep Industry, and Wisconsin Sheep Barn Hall of Fame.
Dick’s leisure time was filled with his numerous interests—fishing on the Missouri River, Lake of theWoods, or home on Lake George. His vegetable gardens flourished with his gifts of soil preparation, planting, weeding and harvesting. Summertime found him picking wild berries, making jams and jellies, and experimenting with wine-making. Always the “people person” Dick enjoyed meeting and visiting with extended family at reunions and welcomed friends and family. All the grandchildren and great-grandchildren have happy lake memories with Grandpa learning to fish,swimming and building sand castles. His woodworking skills created puzzles for grandchildren and useful accessories for his home. The Jim Beam bottle collection grew with every stop to an antique store, and a trip to New Mexico had to include a trip to Tsinne’s Gallery and another piece of turquoise jewelry for Juanita. Ole and Lena jokes were his trademark which he regularly shared with anyone who would listen but espeially with his medical profesionals. His doctors soon learned to expect a joke when Dick came for an appointment.His love of music continued throughout his life as he enjoyed grandchildren’s school concerts, performances by his children’s performing group”The Castle Family Singers”, and church and community musical groups.
He is lovingly remembered by wife, Juanita, and their blended family: children Jill Glass, Carrie (Craig) Ludetke, Tobin (Ginger) Castle, Kent (Peggy) Reed, Kelly (Kevin) Willis, grandchildren Dean (Emili), Derek (Brittany), Dustin (Megan), Dylan Boniface, Sabrina, Tyler, Gabby Castle, Nicolas, Remy, and Max Glass. Kirsten (Jeff) Schoelch and Kaitlin (Nic)Smith, Heather Willis (Galen)Papaconstandinou, Bryce Willis, Arron (Trista) Willis, Great- grandchildren Elijiah ,Eian, Hayden, Gideon,Dakota Boniface, Ainsley and Austin Schoelch, James, Henry, Sage, Savannah Jo Smith., Payton, Fletcher Willis.
Sisters Mary Weis and Elizabeth Peterson and many neices and nephews. He was pre-deceased by his parents, brother Robert, Sister-in-law Ruby, brother-in-laws Gavin Weis, Charles Peterson, and Maurice Boeckenhauer, sons Rick and Jack and former wife Faye Ann Tetzloff.