Terry McDonald Diffley, 80, of Bemidji passed away on May 16, 2023, at Neilson Place in Bemidji from Parkinson’s Disease.
Memorial services will be held at 11:00 am on Monday, June 12, 2023, at Calvary Lutheran Church in Bemidji. Visitation will be from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, June 11, 2023 at Olson Schwartz Funeral Home, Bemidji and one hour prior to the service at the church. Inurnment will be in Calvary Cemetery, Bemidji.
Terry was born on August 28, 1942 in Bemidji, MN to Henry (Jack) and Marian (Knudson) Diffley, the sixth of seven children. He attended a one room country school in Becida, MN through eighth grade and graduated from Bemidji High School in 1960. Terry joined the National Guard in the spring of 1961 and was honorably discharged in October of 1968. After the death of his father in 1963, Terry took over running the family farm helping to provide for his mother and younger sister all the while putting himself through college. He earned a degree in History and Special Education graduating from Bemidji State in 1973.
On December 18, 1971, Terry married his college sweetheart, Jean Olson, the girl next door. They are parents to two daughters, Rebecca and Susan. In 1973, they purchased the family farm from his mother and together raised Limousin/Angus beef for several decades. Terry was employed and worked for the City of Bemidji for 34 years, retiring in 2001. After his retirement he worked part-time for Noel’s Bottle Shop and served as a director on the Beltrami Electric Cooperative Board for twelve years and the Minnkota Power Board for seven. As a resident of Rockwood Township, he was a dedicated town board supervisor for more than fifty years and treasurer for the Bemidji Rural Fire Association for over twenty.
Although working two full time jobs, Terry was an avid sports fan, supporting both the high school and BSU teams and enjoyed an array of professional sports. He attended and was a faithful member of Calvary Lutheran Church in Bemidji.
Over the decades as the family generations have grown, the Diffley farm has always remained the gathering place for celebrations of all kinds making special memories with a joyous noise level to raise the roof.
Terry is loved and deeply missed by his wife Jean of 51 years and daughters Rebecca Diffley and Susan (Nathan) Haasken; cherished grandchildren Julia, Dylan, and Owen Haasken; sisters Nina Anderson and Patricia (Duane) Kluzak; sisters-in-law Judy Diffley and Beth Diffley; and many special nieces and nephews.
Preceding him in death are his parents; sister Ila Olson; brothers Michael, Henry (Hank), and Larry Diffley; brothers-in-law Daral Olson and Lawrence Anderson; sister-in-law Mimi Diffley and niece Nila Olson Bassett.
A sincere Thank You to the special caregivers at Trillium and Strawberry Wing of Neilson Place for the loving care received these last months.
In lieu of flowers, the family would request donations to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
Terry leaves a legacy of a life well lived with generosity, integrity, kindness and a deep love for his entire family. Simply put, he was a good man.
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