Millard: First Annual Favorite Farmer photo shoot, North Dakota Photographer

I had so much fun reading through all of the submissions for the First Annual Mike Dale Favorite Farmer photo shoot but there were two that really spoke to my heart this year. One of those was Millard.
Millards granddaughter nominated him. “I am nominating my grandpa Millard. My grandpa Millard and my grandma Betty live in Leonard, ND. They are 96 and 91 years old and still live in the house that my grandpa built for them and their 4 children years ago. when I was younger I would hear stories about how they lived in a basement while he was building this house for them. Over the years I’ve watched him, improve the siding, garden for my grandma and paint the inside to keep it updated. I have memories of sitting at the counter eating pancakes in the morning and then going for a ride on the lawnmower with my grandpa.”

Some of the things that drew me to choose Millard were that at 96 years old he was still living in the house that he built, his wife’s name was Betty which also happens to be my grandma’s name and together Betty and Millard had been married 73 years.

The original date that we had planned to take photos got rained out. A few days after that I received an email from Millards granddaughter that her grandma Betty had a stroke and was in the hospital. My heart sunk as I kept reading that Betty would not return to the farm and that Millard would be moved off of the farm as well in a few days.
At that point there was nothing I could do about getting pictures of Betty and Millard together like I planned but I desperately wanted to still be able to give the family photos of Millard. These would be his last photos on the farm. He was getting moved out the next day.
When I first pulled up to the house, he was sitting outside watching us drive in. His granddaughter told me he was waiting for Betty to come home. Cue the tears.
It was all so familiar. MY grandma Betty also had health issues that caused the family to move her into assisted living while my grandpa sat at the farm waiting for her to come home. His dementia not allowing him to understand that she wasn’t coming home. We later had to also put my grandpa in assisted living with her.
While I was at Millards farm, his wife, Betty called from the hospital. This smile is for her. “You just tell me if you need me to get you and I will come get you, ok?”
I am so glad that I was able to meet Millard Justin and roam around his farm with him as he told me about Betty and their children. It was evident how much he loves her.
Of course we had to get some photos with his granddaughter. <3
An update from Millards granddaughter. “Betty still misses the farm. Millard is fine anywhere she is.”


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Fargo, North Dakota