Derald Wayne Morfitt

Published 2:36 pm Friday, February 17, 2023

Derald Wayne Morfitt, 96, passed away on February 14, 2023 at St. John’s Lutheran Community in Albert Lea, Minnesota.

Derald Wayne Morfitt

Derald was born on April 7, 1926 to Henry and Sadie Morfitt of Sheldon, Iowa. One of five children; he was the second eldest. The Morfitt family resided in Sheldon and moved to Worthington, Minnesota in 1938 where Henry was involved in construction. Derald began his work career by delivering papers and completing odd jobs while attending Worthington school.

At the age of 17, Derald joined the U.S. Navy. Basic training was in Farragut, Idaho, then advancing to Radio School becoming a high-speed telegrapher. In 1943, he was assigned to the U.S.S. Barnwell, a troop transport, in San Diego, California, which was deployed to the South Pacific. From the U.S.S. Barnwell he was transferred to the U.S.S. Princeton aircraft carrier. After the war concluded, he was assigned to the U.S.S. Sumter for his remaining enlistment.

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While in the Navy, Derald met Bonnie Irene White in 1945 in San Francisco. Following dates with Bonnie, he returned to the South Pacific and then to Seattle, Washington. During a thirty-day leave, he returned to San Francisco. Derald and Bonnie were married on November 22, 1945 in Reno, Nevada. He returned to the sea while Bonnie was working at the Crawley Barge and Tug on Pier 7 in San Francisco. Derald was discharged from the Navy in 1946 and they moved to Worthington, Minnesota. Derald worked in the construction field until purchasing a hardware store in Hartley, Iowa. To Derald and Bonnie three children, Wayne, Greg, and Nancy were born in Worthington, Minnesota. After three years, the family moved to Albert Lea, MN in 1951. Then, Derald bought a small floor covering store (Floorcrafters) on Worthington Street; later, a larger store on Washington Street. In 1979 a new warehouse was built on East Main Street. Derald retired in 1988 and the business was then operated by his sons, Wayne and Greg, until closing in 2012.

During working and retirement years, he enjoyed many annual fishing trips to Canada with friends. Derald and Bonnie were charter members of Ascension Lutheran Church in Albert Lea. He was involved in the Board and was President for several terms and involved in numerous building projects. One of the notable projects was the addition that needed to be completed for the new pipe organ installation.

Derald was involved in a number of community activities. He joined the Masons and Shriners in the early 1960s, which evoked a strong interest in the Shriner Hospitals for Children. Summer months include many social Masonic and Shrine activities, along with numerous parades that he and Bonnie enjoyed. In the 1980’s, Derald was an Albert Lea City Councilman.

Post retirement Derald became involved with Habitat for Humanity Organization and assisted with building a number of homes in the Albert Lea area. During retirement, Bonnie and Derald enjoyed years of traveling and camping with the Monitor Caravan Club and going to Arizona for the winter months. They enjoyed Arizona for a number of years until residing in Minnesota full-time.

After Bonnie’s passing in 2005, Derald resumed wintering in Arizona.

Derald is survived by his three children, Wayne (Barbara) Morfitt of Albert Lea, Minnesota, Greg Morfitt and special friend Carli of Albert Lea, MN, and Nancy Hudson of Phoenix, Arizona; grandchildren, Melanie, Matthew, Marc, Becci, Alison, Amanda, Sadie, and Natalie; great-grandchildren, Brandon, Brooklyn, Max, Harrison, Makayla, Carli, Blake, Trent, Anna, Grant, Jackson, Olivia, Benjamin, Xavier, and Sydney.

Many very special times were enjoyed with all of these wonderful kids with holidays, birthdays, camping, and get togethers!

Blessed be his memory to all those who loved him.

Derald is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Bonnie Irene Morfitt; parents, Henry and Sadie Morfitt; and his four sisters Mildred Morfitt, Joyce Schlarbaum, Betty Herfindahl, and Maryanne Ponto.

A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, February 21, 2023, 11:00 AM, at Ascension Lutheran Church, in Albert Lea, MN. A visitation will be held one hour prior to service at the church. Inurnment will be at a later date.