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Published October 31, 2011, 05:23 AM

Rosholt, SD, sheep shearer Simonson quits wool buying at age 88

ROSHOLT, S.D. — O’Donald Simonson, 88, of Rosholt, S.D., tells Agweek that he shipped his last load of wool to the warehouse in August.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

ROSHOLT, S.D. — O’Donald Simonson, 88, of Rosholt, S.D., tells Agweek that he shipped his last load of wool to the warehouse in August.

“It was kind of hard for me to handle it,” Simonson says. “So many of our sheep have disappeared in this area. They’ve sold them all. Besides, it took too long to get a load. I sent out loads based on grade and yield, and consequently, it took a long time for (customers) to get their checks. Also, since I can’t see, I can’t write. I can’t read. It was really time.”

Long career

Simonson started shearing sheep in 1940 with a Model T Ford. The Roberts County (S.D.) Extension Service agent kept him out of the World War II draft because the country needed wool and the county already had lost several sheep shearers. In addition to shearing, Simonson started buying wool for another buyer in the 1950s and started buying wool on his own in 1985.

Simonson and his wife, Maureen, were married in 1948. They raised 10 children at the farm. He’s not hanging up his shears entirely.

“I go out with the guys and shear a few,” Simonson says. “I sheared 41 in one day about a month ago now.”

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