FARMINGTON - Alten F. "Al" Grandt, 95, of rural Farmington passed away on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014.
He was born Sept. 21, 1918, near St. Peter, Ill., as the fourth of Herman and Alvina Grandt's six children. He married Ruth Brauer on June 25, 1943. She died on May 2, 2003, following nearly 60 years of happily married life.
He was raised on his parents' St. Peter farm, attended St. Peter Lutheran Grade School, was confirmed at St. Peter Lutheran Church in 1932 and graduated from Farina High School in 1936. He attended Illinois State Normal University from 1938 to 1941, until he was drafted by the U.S. Army in July of 1941. After completing flight instruction in December of 1942 and receiving his officer commission and wings, he served as an instructor pilot with the Army Air Corps, until he was discharged in December of 1945.
Following World War II, he obtained his B.S. in agriculture (1946) and his M.S. in agronomy (1947) from the University of Illinois. He then conducted a five-year research program with the University of Illinois Agricultural Experiment Station that led to publication of Experiment Station Bulletin 628, "Reclaiming Illinois Strip Coal Land With Legumes and Grasses." Widely regarded as a groundbreaking publication in the reclamation industry, this study launched his career in land reclamation. He joined Midland Electric Coal Corporation in 1952 and he and Ruth moved to their permanent home, located on reclaimed strip-mined land approximately two miles south of Douglas, Ill. He held various land management positions with Midland Electric and Peabody Coal Corporation for the next 30 years, until retiring from Peabody as director of Reclamation-Corporate in 1982. He published approximately 40 papers on reclamation and use of mined lands and was the recipient of several national awards, including the American Society for Surface Mining and Reclamation 1985 Outstanding Reclamationist and their 1996 Lifetime Award and 2002 Pioneer in Reclamation Award. Following retirement from Peabody, he continued to farm his reclaimed strip mine acreage, including the last several years with his son, Terry.
His many community and church activities included the Yates City School Board, 4-H club leader and Knox County Farm Extension.
A member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Brimfield, Ill., since 1952, he taught Sunday school for many years, and held every church office except treasurer.
He and Ruth are succeeded by three children, eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren: son, Alten F. Grandt Jr. "Skip" and Barbara (nee Rieker) in West Lafayette, Ind.; son, Terry Grandt and Susan (nee Rigg) from rural Yates City; and daughter, Kathy (nee Grandt) and husband, Bill Schwartz, in Grayslake, Ill.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 1, 2014, at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Brimfield, with the Rev. Michael Liese officiating. Visitation will be held at the church from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday evening and one hour prior to the funeral service on Saturday morning. Burial, with military honors, will be at St. Paul's Lutheran Cemetery in rural Brimfield.
Oaks-Hines Funeral Home in Elmwood is in charge of arrangements.
Memorials may be made to St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Brimfield.
To leave online condolences, please visit www.oakshinesfuneralhome.com.