In Memory of

Dwight Maxon Gadsby

October 2, 1932 - September 20, 2020
From: Suitland, MD | Originally: Dickens, IA
Dwight Maxon Gadsby

Dwight Maxon Gadsby

Born: October 2, 1932
Died: September 20, 2020
Age: 87

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     Dwight Maxon Gadsby of Suitland, Maryland, age 87, died on September 20th, 2020 in Oakton, VA. 

     He was born on October 2, 1932 in Dickens, Iowa to parents William and Esther (Holmberg) Gadsby.  He grew up on their family farm with his siblings, Marilyn and Gary.  Dwight loved raising animals, and was very involved in the local 4-H club.  He was especially fond of horses.  His parents first rented a farm in Lake Township before moving to the Gadsby family farm near Dickens in 1944, where his grandfather had farmed for years.

    Dwight attended Lake Center Consolidated School and then Gillett Grove School, both nearby.  He studied voice in high school and later developed a passion for opera music.  Dwight also loved classical music in general, and he treasured old books, art, and literature.  One of his hobbies was just to sit in the farmhouse basement reading whatever books he could get his hands on.

     In 1950 Dwight enrolled at Iowa State University in Ames.  He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics and then spent two years in the U.S. Army, serving in Furth, Germany.  He returned to Iowa State and earned a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics in 1960. 

     In 1961 he married Jermaine Folkman, whom he had met at Iowa State.  She had grown up on a family farm as well, in Wisconsin.  Reportedly, he initially saw her eating an ice cream cone with her friends on campus, and fell in love at first sight.  It took several failed attempts to contact her before he was finally successful.  He attributed the failed attempts to sabotage by his friends.  Dwight was a frequent practical joker, and his friends quite often reciprocated.

     He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and the married couple went to Italy, where Dwight studied Agricultural Economics – Resource Valuation, at the Universita Di Padua, in 1961-1962.  While he was there he further developed his voice skills for opera under the tutelage of an Italian instructor.  This love of opera stayed with him his entire life.

     In 1963 Dwight received a job offer from the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.  The couple moved and lived in Suitland, Maryland for many years.  There they had two children – Winston and Alessandra. 

     Dwight was involved in many community activities.  He was on the board of his children’s school, Henson Valley Montessori, for several years.  He was a frequent judge for several local high school Science Fairs as well as for the Prince George’s County Science Fair.  He was involved in the Organization of Professional Employees of the US Department of Agriculture (OPEDA) and served as a member of the National Board of Directors as well for several years.

     Dwight worked at the USDA for 45 years and he was involved with many projects there, including writing/co-writing many publications that the USDA used in its outreaches.  He distinguished himself by promoting catfish farming as a viable enhancement to the nation’s food supply.  He retired in 2008 at the age of 75.

     Dwight was in the Army Reserves for many years, ultimately achieving the rank of Colonel before his retirement in 1988.  He received the Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal.  He was also involved in efforts to preserve some of the area’s Civil War battlefields, along with several of his colleagues.

     He loved his family and relished spending time together with his children, in-laws, and grandson during the  holidays and at other family gatherings.  He loved passing out gifts to family and friends at birthdays and holidays, and he would sometimes dress as Santa Claus for extended family Christmas gatherings.  Dwight would pass out presents to fellow office mates for special occasions, too.  His most favorite holidays were Valentine’s Day and Christmas when he could pass out small boxes of candy to many people that he knew from over the years, as well as new acquaintances.  He often did this anonymously, but most people figured it out.  In his later years he was so dedicated to doing this that he enlisted his children’s help in mailing gifts to colleagues, since he could no longer deliver them in person.


     He is preceded in death by his wife Jermaine, who suffered from dementia for several years before she passed away this last year.  He is survived by his son and wife, Winston and Lucy; daughter and husband, Alessandra and Steve; and their son, Maxwell.

     We would like to give special thanks to the staff at Sunrise of Hunter Mill in Oakton, VA and Capital Caring Hospice.  Dwight’s family is grateful for the care provided by his caregivers, especially the most recent one, Sunday, who is from Nigeria, who went above and beyond the call of duty to insure that Dwight was comfortable with all his needs met.   

     Dwight declined considerably the last few years and had to endure several illnesses.  While we miss him, we take comfort that the suffering is over and he is at peace.


Graveside Services will be held at 11:00 A.M., Monday, October 5, 2020 at the Dickens Cemetery in Dickens, IA

The family requests that everyone in attendance please wear a mask and respect social distancing.
Pastor John Syvertson
Dickens Cemetery
Dickens, Iowa

Military Services will be conducted by the American Legion - Glen Pedersen Post #1 and the Clay County V.F.W. Post #3159 of Spencer.


Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 12:23 PM
“Dwight was fun to be with. He has a strong sense of humor and could make anyone laugh. It was the greatest honor of my life to work as his caregiver until the time of his passing. Adieu Dwight!”
- Sunday Ogunmadewa
Monday, October 5, 2020 at 11:44 AM
“My best wishes to the family. I only knew Gary and Nancy through my parents, Dean and Leah. ”
- Allen McGranahan
Saturday, October 3, 2020 at 7:56 AM
“It is disappointing to learn that Dwight Gadsby has passed on. Dwight could easily bring one around to discuss serious problems for rural America. He sometimes added an entertaining ‘appendix’ to brighten the day at ERS. Rest easy, Colonel.”
- George Pavelis
Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 8:07 AM
“Dwight was the nicest and most caring person. He had such a contagious smile and the greatest laugh. I will always miss how he and my dad could entertain themselves. He loved his family so much and always wanted the best for his family. I always loved the sweet treats that he had Sandy send me. I treasure the times I spent with him. He always touched my heart and he will be greatly missed. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Annette, Stewart, Dylan & Brooke
- Annette Rankin
Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 11:19 AM
“Very sad and sorry to hear of Dwight's passing . I remember a great stay with Dwight, Jerry and Winston as part of my US and Canada tour to see relatives many years ago. My visit was filled with Dwight's humour, teasing and pranks and also his love of David Attenborough documentaries. Sending best wishes and love to all his family and friends from a member of the Gadsby family in the UK.”
- Caroline Ludlow
Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 8:20 AM
“It was a pleasure to know and work with Mr. Gadsby. He was such a warm , caring, thoughtful man. Very rare in a place full of introverts. I especially enjoyed the special holiday gifts he would pass out to the ladies. Although he tried to remain anonymous and would never admit he was the secret Santa and Valentine, we knew it was Mr. Gadsby. ”
- Lori McPherson
Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 7:48 AM
“My first memory of Dwight was when he visited my Grandfather (Thomas Gadsby) in Ashbourne in the 1950's. I also visited Dwight and Jermaine in 1977 and 1999. I have fond memories of my trips to Maryland and he will be missed by the family in England”
- David Knowles
Monday, September 28, 2020 at 7:33 AM
“Even though I never had the privilege of meeting Dwight, I know firsthand the impact that he had on his daughter Sandy. Dwight’s intelligence, and integrity of character are evident in Sandy’s life. May his soul rest in perfect peace. ”
- Edward Bantamoi
Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 5:44 PM
“Dwight was a joy to be around at ERS. One of the rare extroverts there so we got along very well. I was also a lucky recipient of candy at Christmas and a single red rose for Valentine's Day. He was an amazing economist and my sincere condolences to his family. ”
- Linda Gross
Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 5:04 PM
“Dwight was the ultimate civil servant - always serving the best interests of agriculture, especially the socio-economic status of towns and communities. We worked together in keeping the USDA Economist Group together by organizing speakers and posting meeting notices throughout DC USDA agencies - before the age of internet. Dwight was as kind and considerate person as I have ever known and I am grateful to have been lucky enough to call him my friend. He fought the good fight. ”
- Felix Spinelli
Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 5:04 PM
“The world will miss Dwight, his sense of humor, and his kindness. I will too. Dwight always stood up for those that needed a hand and a friend. He was one of the first people to great me when I came to ERS and when he found I shared his Swedish roots took pains to regale me with stories and observations of our heritage. I am thankful I could call him a friend. ”
- Skip Hyberg
Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 5:04 PM
“Our condolences go out to Winston, Lucy, Sandy, Steve, and Maxwell. I will always remember Dwight's 'full body' laugh, especially when he was watching 'The Three Stooges' and the joy he added to our family Christmas gatherings as Santa. May he rest in peace.”
- Dale and Marsha Krause
Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 2:37 PM
“Our heart felt thoughts and prayers are with Sandy, and her family at this time. Your dad was such a wonderful man, and Kim enjoyed reconnecting with him over tasty treats during the past few years. We know he and your mom are watching over all of you now. A special soul has gone to heaven! love, Kim, Bob, Alex and Kayla”
- Kim Shifre
Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 2:37 PM
“May Dwight rest in peace after such a long life with so much to be proud of.”
- The Bennetts
Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 1:32 PM
“Sorry to hear of Dwight's passing. He was a good friend. We spent much time together at work for the Economic Research Service. We also volunteered time together over the years judging several high school science fair projects. He will be missed.”
- Marlow Vesterby
Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 11:42 AM
“So surprised and sorry to hear of your Father's death. Dwight was 1 year ahead of me in high school at Gillett Gtove. When Floyd and I married in 1953 he sang at our wedding.
I never have met anyone as intelligent as Dwight Gadsby!! God Bless!!! Love, Bonnie.”
- bonnie johnson
Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 5:12 PM
“Gary and family of Dwight; we were saddened to hear of Dwight’s death. It’s hard to lose a sibling. May our good Lord lighten your load. ”
- Bob & Nira Rusk
Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 7:52 AM
“Sovery sorrytohear about Dwight. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.”
- Nita Hargrave Richards
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