Francis and Wilma Trierweiler honored by the Michigan Dairy Memorial and Scholarship Foundation for their contributions to the dairy industry

Francis and Wilma Trierweiler were honored in April for their dedication and love of God, family, farm and community.

July 19, 2017

Francis and Wilma Trierweiler
Francis and Wilma Trierweiler

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Francis and Wilma Trierweiler were honored in April by the Michigan Dairy Memorial and Scholarship Foundation (MDMSF) at Michigan State University (MSU) for their dedication to the dairy industry and to the community. The recognition was presented during the annual meeting of the foundation’s Board of Directors at MSU.

Francis was born in 1930 on what is now a sixth generation operating dairy farm. Wilma also was born on her own family farm in Pewamo in 1934 and raised there. Although Francis was not able to attend high school because he was needed at home on the farm, he did attend two years at Michigan State College (now MSU). Francis started farming on his own shortly before marrying and not long after was called to naval duty for two years in Maryland. The couple had five children – Frank, Janet, Julie, Robert (deceased) and Paul. They also have two daughters-in-law and one son-in-law – Terri, Tracie and Frank (Freund).

While getting the farm going again after his return from naval duty, Francis took on much work to provide for his young family, including two winters at General Motors as well as selling MoorMan’s feed and Northrup King seeds. He also ran a custom chopping business with his brother early on to help with reducing equipment costs on his way to achieving his dairy farm plans.

The Trierweilers have been active members of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Westphalia as well as of countless boards, committees and Catholic societies. Wilma has served on the Christian Mothers Society and Daughters of Isabella as well as taken on many other volunteer positions in the community.

Francis was soil conservationist of the year in 1976. He was on the Pewamo-Westphalia school board and was Westphalia Township supervisor, Westphalia Township assessor, Clinton County road commissioner and a Knights of Columbus fourth degree. On top of these accomplishments, he also sold John Deere farm equipment for 16 years.

As of today, the Trierweilers have 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren (with one on the way). Directly employed at the farm are seven family members with many others pitching in when needed. Through their perseverance and tireless giving of time, talent and guidance, the specialized dairy farm they started with the purchase of 40 heifers back in 1957 has grown incrementally to 1,600 cows and more than 3,200 acres of crops.

Recognizing a dairy industry leader for his or her service and contributions through the MDMSF requires a gift of $1,000 or more to the MDMSF and an 8-by-10-inch photo of and one-page biography about the honoree. Honorees (or family members when an award is presented posthumously) are personally recognized by the foundation at an industry or MDMSF event. The names of MDMSF honorees are inscribed on a plaque on display in Anthony Hall at MSU, their biographies and photographs are kept in permanent records in the MSU Department of Animal Science, and photographs of honorees are displayed at the MSU Pavilion.

Honoring people through the MDMSF recognizes individuals for their accomplishments in the dairy industry, and invests in and provides support to future dairy industry leaders. As the MDMSF endowment grows, additional scholarships can be awarded to students to help offset the increasing cost of higher education, enabling them to achieve their dreams for the future. More than 190 individuals have been named MDMSF honorees since the foundation’s establishment over 60 years ago.

To learn more about recognizing a dairy industry leader through the MDMSF, contact any MDMSF board member or Miriam Weber Nielsen at 517-432-5443 or msw@msu.edu. For information on supporting student scholarships, contact the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Office of External Relations at 517-355-0284.

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