Elmer Junior Hagerty 7/20/1922 – 7/22/2013
Elmer died of a lingering illness at his home in Twin Falls Monday, July 22, 2013. He was 91. He was born to Elmer C. and Carrie (Johnson) Hagerty in the Lafayette (Indiana) Home Hospital on his father's birthday. He grew up on the family farm northwest of Brookston, Indiana. He enjoyed being a country boy. He belonged to a 4-H Club, the Rural Youth, and the Future Farmers of America. (He was awarded the FFA American
Farmer's degree in 1943.)
When he was fifteen, he was invited to attend the Indiana State 4-H Leader's camp. There he met
thirteen year old Dorothy Bridge. They were married eight years later in the Pike Creek (Indiana) Church
of the Brethren, a marriage that lasted sixty-six years.
In the fall of 1940, he entered the Purdue University College of Agriculture. At Purdue, he was an ROTC
Cadet Colonel, and belonged to the CERES, Alpha Zeta and Kappa Delta Pi honor societies. After a war
interruption, he returned to Purdue and resumed his studies, graduating in 1947 with degrees in
Chemistry and Agricultural Education.
As a member of Purdue ROTC, his Army career started when the United States entered World War II. He spent a total of 37 years in the Army, five years during WWII, three years during the Korean Conflict, and the remainder in the active Army Reserve. He graduated from the Army's OCS, flight training school,
artillery school, Adjutant General school, and Command and General Staff College. Serving in the Pacific theater in WWII, he was among the first troops sent into Japan for the occupation. While there, he
made many flights into Hiroshima and Nagasaki to allow visiting Military and political personnel to see
the damage done by the atomic bombs dropped over those cities.
After graduating from Purdue, Elmer entered a Management Training program with Swift and Company
in Marion, Indiana. While there, he rose to Manager of the dairy and poultry division plant.
In 1951, he was suddenly called back into service, and was sent to Germany to spend three years flying
border patrol between East and West Germany. He finished his Army career by teaching the five year
C&GS course to officers from southern Idaho. He retired from the Army with the rank of Lt. Colonel.
Elmer was transferred to Twin Falls in 1962, to manage the Twin Falls plant. While there, he persuaded
corporate headquarters to build a new plant. It opened on South Washington Street in 1972, and he
managed it for ten years before retiring in 1982. (The plant is now the Glanbia Twin Falls cheese plant.)
For his part in coordinating the planning and construction of the plant. Swift and Company sponsored
Elmer on a 1982 two-week agricultural tour of China (organized and led by the University of Idaho).
During his years at Swift, he belonged to the Idaho Dairy Processors Association and served a year as
After retiring from Swift and Company in 1982, he enjoyed his many years of retirement. He rarely
missed any sports event, drama production, or musical event at CSI. He followed the CSI Men's
Basketball team eight times to the NJCAA tournament in Kansas. He enjoyed fishing and often made his
own lures. His hunting trips were really just camping trips! He liked to garden, play cards, and work
Throughout his life, Elmer was involved in volunteer activities. He was an active member of the Kiwanis
Club for over 45 years, and was heavily involved in their Paint Magic and Recycling projects. He served
on the Twin Falls Salvation Army Advisory Board for over 30 years, earning him a lifetime membership.
(He received the Salvation Army's "Others" award in 1994 for his years of service.) He was a charter
member of the Salvation Army-Idaho Power Project Share, and served on their board for many years.
Other of his volunteer activities included: two-term membership on the Twin Falls Airport board,
Republican Precinct committeeman, two-campaign organizer of the local Republican Headquarters,
three-time organizer of the Western Day's Parade, and two-year President of the CSI Boosters Club. He
helped his wife with their Church youth group for nearly ten years, and led a 4-H club while in Indiana.
And he was just one pint shy of two gallons of blood donated to the local Red Cross!
For these and other activities, he received the Twin Falls Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement
Award in 1990.
For much of his life Elmer was bothered by health problems, starting with pneumonia as an infant. He
survived two cancers and two open heart surgeries. But he had a strong recovery instinct, and was
faithful about walking daily for his health (usually cleaning the streets of trash and picking up cans as he
Elmer was a happy person, and a good father, husband and employer. He simply liked to meet and help
people, and felt he gained more than he gave.
He is survived by his wife Dorothy, two sons Stephen and Kevin, daughter-in-law Liliane, grandson Dylan, and sister-in-law Bessie. He was preceded in death by two sisters, Viola and Elizabeth, and two brothers, Robert and Carl.
A viewing for family and friends will take place 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, July 29, at Reynolds Funeral Chapel, 2466 Addison Ave East, Twin Falls, Idaho. A graveside service will take place at 3 p.m. Tuesday, July 30, at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in Boise, Idaho. Services are under the direction of Trent Stimpson and staff at Reynolds Funeral Chapel
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Salvation Army in Twin Falls.
Messages of support can be left at www.reynoldschapel.com.