Published: Thursday, September 20th, 2012
Matthew James “Matt”â��Canfield was born Sept. 30, 1940, at home in Downing, Wis., the fifth of five siblings, to Ted and Anna (Schmidt) Canfield. He lived in Downing, for 15 years. His father left home when he was very young, leaving his mother to raise five children on her own. Just before his 16th birthday the family moved to Baldwin, Wis., where his mother got a job as a nursing home administrator.
By this time Wes, his oldest brother, was in the U.S. Air Force. Al, the next oldest, was working in Minneapolis, Minn. Marlene, his sister, was working in St. Paul, Minn. Denver and Matt were still in high school. They both attended Baldwin High School with Denver graduating in 1957 and Matt graduating in 1958 from Woodville High School.
Just after his junior year in high school, Matt hitchhiked to Timber Lake, S.D., and worked on a cattle ranch. This would become his main home until 1963. From 1958 until 1961, Matt served in the U.S. Army. In 1963 he went to Alaska for a short period of time, returning to Timber Lake to manage the ranch he had worked at for so many years.
From 1966 until 1993 he worked at many different occupations, including trucking, butcher-meat cutter, ranching, livestock sales yard, building construction, sawmill, logger, millwright, mechanic, welder, heavy equipment operator, mining, body shop, pyro-technic, owner-operator of Canfield Trucking in Livingston, machinist-welder at BNRR in Livingston, Mont., and owner of Bandera Mining in Custer, S.D., until a back injury forced him into retirement in 1993. Matt hated retirement because he knew nothing but hard work and building things since he was 8 years old.
Matt was a volunteer firefighter from 1970 until 1978 at Cleghorn Volunteer Fire Department in Rapid City, S.D.. While there he was training captain, assistant chief at which time the greatest honor-recognition was bestowed upon him. In the 1972 flood in Rapid City he was nominated for “National Firefighter of the Year” for service above and beyond the call of duty for his rescue and organization skills.
Matt died Sept. 15, 2012, at his home in Edgemont, S.D. He was 71.
He is survived by his wife, Judy Marzolf Canfield of Edgemont; daughters, Vickie (Jim) Sheffers of Michigan, Kimberly (Jerry) Traphagen of Rapid City; step-son, Tobbie Mountain of Rapid City; step-daughters, Jenny (Pedro) Duarte of Custer, Paula Marzolf of Rapid City; brother, Denver (Diane) Canfield of Rochford, S.D.; sister, Marlene Stratton of Sheridan, Wyo.; 10 grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life will be held at 10 a.m., Friday, Sept. 21, at the Edgemont Senior Center.
Written condolences may be made at www.mccolleyschapels.com.
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