Frank Niederwerfer, 89, formally of Idlenot Farm, Niederwerfer Road, South Windsor, died Wednesday, (May 21, 2003) at WoodLake at Tolland. Mr. Niederwerfer was born October 9, 1913 to Richard and Martha (Hess) Niederwerfer. He graduated in 1935 from Connecticut State College (UConn) with a degree in Dairy Science. While at UConn he was a member of ROTC, Alpha Gamma Rho Agricultural Fraternity and the Cross Country Team. He served briefly as the Tolland County 4-H Club Agent following graduation before taking over the operation of the family dairy farm on Niederwerfer Road. He married Alice (Gunther) Niederwerfer November 27, 1942. Mr. Niederwerfer held many leadership positions and was influential in the activities of many environmental and agricultural organizations at the local, county, state, regional and national levels. He was a 4-H leader for over 55 years in Tolland County and conveyed to many young 4-Her's his love for animals, plants and the land. He was instrumental in the Tolland County Soil and Water Conservation District program, a member of the South Windsor Fire Department in the 1940's, a long standing member of the Vernon Grange, the Tolland County Farm Bureau, Ellington Vernon Farmers Exchange, Connecticut Milk Producers Association, National Association of Conservation Districts, Connecticut Artificial Breeders Assoc., Hartford Audubon Society, New England Jr. Hereford Association, SWALPAC, the Niederwerfer Wildlife Sanctuary in South Windsor, the UConn College of Ag and Natural Resources Alumni Association and helped develop the concept of and build the Tolland County Agricultural Center (TAC). Frank was honored by The Hartford Courant as a Volunteer of the Year in 1986. He received an award from The American Farm Land Trust in 1987 at the Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC on behalf of his work to preserve open space for the general public to enjoy. He was honored as the UConn Block and Bridle Club Alumni Award Winner in 1974. He donated his home and 15 acres of land on Niederwerfer Road to the Hartford Audubon Society to be kept as open space, and he worked to develop a Wildlife Sanctuary at TAC, one on his own farm, and one for the residents of the town of South Windsor. He planted thousands of seedling evergreens over the years to help the environment and was a true steward of the land. Frank was a lifelong UConn Husky basketball fan and has endowed six scholarships at the University of Connecticut in honor of his family. Mr. Niederwerfer is predeceased by his beloved wife Alice in 1978. He is also predeceased by his sisters Emily (Niederwerfer) Mayo, Margaret (Niederwerfer) McClatchey, and Rose (Niederwerfer) Hincks; his brother Herbert Niederwerfer; and two nephews Thomas Mayo and Richard E. Niederwerfer. He is survived by his daughters Merrilyn (Niederwerfer) Cummings of Las Cruces, New Mexico, Rebecca (Niederwerfer) Person and her husband Ross of Broad Brook, Judith (Niederwerfer) Kelly and her husband Russ of Fultonville, New York; and his son Frank Henry Niederwerfer and his wife Claire of South Windsor, his grandchildren Gregory Cummings and his wife Debbie of North Zulch, TX, Matt Person and Megan Person of Broad Brook, Justin, Ryan and Daniel Kelly of Fultonville, NY, and Kelly and Kim Niederwerfer of South Windsor, and his great grandson Tanner Mac Cummings of North Zulch, TX. He is also survived by his sister Hazel (Niederwerfer) Bernier and her husband Robert, Sr. of Ellington, his brother Richard R. Niederwerfer and his wife Jackie of Maryland, his sister-in-law Gwen Niederwerfer of Tolland, and 21 nieces and nephews. A Memorial service will be held to celebrate his remarkable life Sunday, 2:30 p.m., at the Wapping Community Church, 1790 Ellington Road, South Windsor. Burial will be private in Wapping Cemetery, South Windsor. Memorial contributions may be made in Frank Niederwerfer's memory to The Wapping Community Church, 1790 Ellington Road, South Windsor, 06074 to the Tolland County Agricultural Center, 24 Hyde Avenue, Vernon, 06066 or to The Connecticut 4-H Development Fund, 1376 Storrs Rd., Storrs, 06269-4036. Samsel & Carmon Funeral Home has care of arrangements.
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Published by Hartford Courant on May 23, 2003.