Rita and Hank Selden are honored to have been chosen to serve as grand marshals in this year’s Canton Day Off parade. The two will join four others who are being recognized in this way. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Rita and Hank Selden are honored to have been chosen to serve as grand marshals in this year’s Canton Day Off parade. The two will join four others who are being recognized in this way. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Hank Selden will readily tell you he rescued his wife, Rita, from her home in Bluffton, Iowa, and brought her into Minnesota, when they married and settled on their farm just south of Canton.

Having lived in the Canton area all his life, Hank said, “I don’t know anything else.”

As the Seldens made their life in the Canton area, they have contributed to the success of the community and their church through their volunteer efforts. It is for this reason the Canton Day Off committee has selected the two to be part of the grand marshal contingent during this weekend’s Canton Day Off celebration.

The two were married 59 years ago, having just celebrated an anniversary on Aug. 6. They have two sons, Mike, who lives in Winona and Pat, who lives in New Mexico. They also have five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

The couple farmed three miles south of Canton until they built a home at the edge of Canton in 1980. Rita joked it was close enough to their farm so Hank could still hear their cows “bellering.”

Rita worked at the Harmony nursing home for 16 years in the dietary department and Hank, who was a farmer for 42 years, became the area’s well-known clock man, building and fixing clocks in his workshop at home.

Both have been active in the Canton community, volunteering with their church and in civic organizations.

Prior to moving to town, Hank served on the Canton Township board and served as an officer as well. Once he and Rita settled in Canton, he was elected to the city council, a seat he continues to hold. Hank shared that his priest at Assumption Catholic Church has assured him his role as a church trustee is secured for his lifetime.

Rita has been active in their church as well, being the church’s caretaker as well as the organizer of the church’s annual meatball dinner, which coincidentally takes place on Sunday during the Canton Day Off celebration. While she’s no longer “in charge” this year, Rita has been helping with the transition to a new organizer and will be kept plenty busy making sure the meatballs and side dishes are prepared in time. Rita has volunteered on past Canton Day Off committees and continues to help with Santa Day in Canton as well.

Both Hank and Rita are proud to call Canton their home. “It’s a nice, small friendly town,” said Rita.

They are also very honored to have been asked to serve as grand marshals for the parade on Saturday.

“I was surprised,” said Hank.

“I can’t believe they asked us,” added Rita and said she actually suggested other people to the committee as she thought they were more deserving.

“I guess they’d all done it already,” she added with a laugh. “So, I guess we’re in the right ‘price range’ now.”

The Seldens are looking forward to seeing old friends this weekend as former residents and classmates return to the community for the celebration. “It’s wonderful to see the town so full of people,” added Hank.

Because the meatball dinner is so close to her heart, Rita also mentioned that seeing their church hall filled with people, enjoying the delicious food, is also a rewarding site.

“It’s going to be a fun weekend,” Rita concluded. “We are hoping for a good weekend with good weather. The committee has worked so hard to make it a success.”