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Tholes are partners for life

Managing editor

Farm wives are often the unsung workers in agricultural operations.

They not only help to plant and harvest the crop that feeds the livestock, they also are the ones who cook and serve the meat on the family dinner table, maintain the home, and care for the children.

For most, it’s all in a day’s work. They don’t expect special attention for what they do.

Jon and Suzanne Thole of Marion have been married for more than 45 years.

When they met, Jon was a vocational-agriculture teacher at Marion High School. She was Suzanne Carmichael from Lindsborg, teaching at Hillsboro Elementary School.

They married in 1965. At that time, Jon was farming with his father, Sam, while teaching school full-time until 1970 when he decided to devote all his time to farming.

“I grew up on a farm,” Suzanne Thole said, so this was nothing new to her.

Her mother, who is 99 years old, lived on the family farm until she was 96.

Thole said she helped Jon with the farm when she could while maintaining the home and caring for their children when they were young.

Father and son farmed together until about 1995 when Sam retired and Suzanne started helping more.

It’s a common sight to see Thole working with her husband. They’re a team. If you see one, you’ll probably see the other not far behind.

“I enjoy helping,” she said Monday. “I do something (farm-related) every day.”

And Thole has done a little bit of everything — driving trucks during harvest, helping to plant, putting seed into field, and getting the combine and other equipment ready.

Thole holds a non-commercial class A driver’s license, which allows her to drive the family semi to haul grain.

The Tholes’ schedule is different these days because of the heat. Jon often doesn’t begin fieldwork until evening.

“The tractor runs better at night,” Thole said.

The extremely high temperatures make it a challenge to get the work done but they take it in stride.

It’s not easy to find time for everything.

“It’s sometimes a challenge to balance everything,” Thole said, especially during the summer when there’s so much to do.

Besides fieldwork, there’s work to be done around the home — indoors and out. The couple is trying to get trees cleaned up from a June windstorm.

The Tholes grow wheat, corn, and soybeans. They also rent pasture. They used to raise cattle but are no longer in the business.

The couple is past retirement age but see no reason to stop what they love doing.

“As long as Jon’s health is good, he’ll keep on doing it as long as possible,” Thole said, and she’ll be right there by his side, helping him.

Last modified July 20, 2011

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