Delbert and Donald, in their mid-teens and wearing bib overalls, just like their Grandpa Goff, got a ride to the Ralph Garland farm just west of Dexter to shock oats. Several other men also helped.
Grandpa Sherd, Leora’s father, got the boys the job and went along to demonstrate how to cut and bundle the stalks.
After an hour or so, while Leora and some of the younger kids were picking green beans in their big garden, a black Model T drove up. Delbert and Donald got out. Delbert wiped tears as they walked up to the garden.
“Oh my, boys, what’s wrong? Did something happen to Pa?” Leora left her pail of beans.
“Yes, it’s Grandpa. We took a break for water.” Oat hulls dusted Donald’s shirt and overalls.
Delbert’s dark hair was chalky with field debris. “Oh Mom,” he said, “he took off his hat to wipe his head, not saying a word, ‘n’ just collapsed on the ground.”
“Boys, where is he now? I must be with Grandmother. Shake your pant legs and take these beans in the house for me, will you? I’ll be at Grandmother’s.”
Wiping sweat from her forehead with the hem of her apron, Leora hurried to her folks’ home nearby. She called for her mother as the back screen door to the kitchen creaked. She heard voices in the distance, through the house.
The eyes of Leora’s ancestors seemed to follow her through the living room from the large oval portraits on the wall.
Grandmother was at the front door, talking to a man in overalls on the porch. She turned, her hand to her mouth, with stricken eyes. “Oh, Leorie, Pa had a heart attack.”
Leora wrapped her mother in her arms, asking the man what he knew. He twisted his hat in his hands. “We were taking a break and Mr. Goff just collapsed.”
“Where is he now?”
“They took him to the doctor, Mrs. Wilson. That’s all I know. I’m so sorry, Mrs. Goff, Mrs. Wilson.”
Sherd Goff always worked a full day, although he’d felt poorly for several weeks. He’d even spanked his youngest grandchild, Junior, for picking and eating strawberries from the patch along the sidewalk. Leora had chided her father for scolding a four-year-old. Thirteen year old Doris asked her mother why Grandpa was so mean. “He’s just getting old and crotchety,” she said.
Leora’s brothers, Jennings and Merl, had been hauling gravel but someone took the news to them that their father had died of a heart attack. They got to town in time to help the undertaker bring the body into the Goff home along the highway in Dexter, where the funeral would be held.
“Oh Pa, Pa!” moaned Grandmother.
M.S. Goff Obituary
M.S. Goff Died Sunday From Heart Failure –
Had Not Been In Good Health For Many Weeks, But Death Was Sad Surprise
Sherd Goff died very suddenly last Sunday morning, following a heart attack which came upon him at the Ralph Garland farm just west of Dexter. Mr. Goff had gone to the Garland place to assist in shocking oats. He had labored but a short time when the attack came which caused his death. Mr. Garland discovered him unconscious in the field, placed him in an automobile and hurried him to Dexter, but life was extinct before the doctor’s office was reached.
Mr. Goff had enjoyed rugged health until a few months ago. Then an attack of flu with complications enfeebled his heart. For several weeks past he had not been so rugged in health as previously. He was an untiring worker, always engaged in some useful task. It was his natural industry which contributed to his untimely demise.
Mr. Goff was highly respected here, and enjoyed the fellowship of a host of friends. He was a kindly, considerate man, honest and upright. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
Milton Sheridan Goff, son of John B. and Florence [I.] Goff, was born July 26, 1865, in Madison County, Iowa. When seven years of age he went with his parents to Cass county near Atlantic where the family resided until he was sixteen years old. His parents next moved to a farm six miles south of Guthrie Center where he grew to manhood.
John Broderick and Florence Ione (Shepherd) Goff
On February 25, 1890, he was united in marriage to Miss Laura A. Jordan. To this union eleven children were born: Mrs. Leora Wilson of Dexter, Emery [Merl]of Dexter, Wayne of Pasadena, Calif., Georgia (deceased), Jennings of Dexter, Rolla of New York City, Mrs. Ruby B. Blockley of field Beach, Calif., Willis of Kansas City, Mo., Perry of New York City, Clarence of Omaha, Nebr., and Vernon (deceased).
Leora Goff Wilson, Emery Merl Goff, Wayne Sheridan Goff
Georgia Laurayne Goff, Jennings Bryan Goff, Rolla Jordan Goff
Ruby Belle (Goff) Blockley, Willis Walter Goff, Perry Alfred Goff, Clarence Zenas Goff
With the exception of four years residence in Nebraska and two years in Minnesota, Mr. Goff’s entire life had been spent in Iowa. For many years he lived on a farm near Guthrie Center. Leaving the farm he moved to Guthrie Center where he resided, with his family, until 1924, when they moved to Dexter, and here had been the family residence ever since.
For twenty-seven years Mr. Goff had been a member of the I.O.O.F. lodge at Guthrie Center.
He leaves to mourn his death his wife, nine children, eleven grandchildren, an aged mother and a brother, Ed, both of whom reside at Miles City, Mont., and a great company of friends.
Funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon, July 22, from the home in Dexter, conducted by the Rev. W. Youtsler of the Dexter Presbyterian church. Interment was made in the Guthrie Center cemetery, the Guthrie Center I.O.O.F. having charge of the graveside committal service.
The Dexter Sentinel, July 1930.
Sherd Goff was known as the “Popcorn King of Guthrie County,” selling loads of it by train. He also had a commercial popcorn machine in Guthrie Center. When he moved to Dexter, he sold popcorn when the stores were open along Marshall Street on Saturday nights. Grandsons Delbert and Donald Wilson helped sack the popcorn. One summer when Sherd was selling popcorn at the Penn Center picnic, the machine caught fire and burned up.
The story of the day Sherd Goff died is from Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression.