Hubert (Hugh) Dufner, Jr.

Hubert Jr. was the youngest of five children born to Hubert and Esther (Hensen) Dufner. He grew up on the family farm near Buxton, North Dakota, attending Belmont No. 5, a one-room country school, for grades 1-8, and Cathedral High School in Crookston, Minn. 

Upon completing his Bachelor’s Degree at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn., he joined the Peace Corps, spending six years in rural community development in Ecuador, where he learned the Quichua language and recorded Quichua folklore which was then used in a bilingual educational program. 

He went on to earn a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from NDSU in Fargo, later serving as a livestock economist in Tanzania for two years and an administrative advisor to Catholic Relief Services in Ethiopia for a year. 

Upon his return to the Midwest, he established Hugh’s Gardens in 1987, packing and marketing organic potatoes and vegetables processed in Halstad, Minn. 

At the time of his death, Hugh was serving on the board of directors of Mid-America Consultants International (MACI). During his years with MACI he developed and helped implement numerous USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service/Cochran Fellowship short-term ag-related training programs for foreign guests.

On Aug. 23, 1997, he and Carmen Soria were married in Quito, Ecuador; he had met Carmen twenty-eight years earlier while working in her country. Carmen, having earned her Master’s degree in English as a foreign language with a minor in Spanish at UNI, had come to teach Spanish at NDSU after teaching English at UTA in Ecuador. 

They made their home in Moorhead for the next 23 years, flying often to visit Carmen’s family in Ecuador. Both enjoyed international travel, including trips to China, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Russia, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Easter Islands, Peru,  and Tibet, among others.

Hugh was a gentle, thoughtful person who enjoyed conversing with a wide variety of people. He was attracted to the Bahai community especially because of their commitment to the elimination of war and the establishment of world peace. He had a keen sense of justice and believed in an inclusive society based on the golden rule. 

He is survived by his wife Carmen and three siblings: Donald (Sylvia Wallace) Dufner of Buxton, N.D., Sister Delores Dufner OSB of St. Joseph, Minn.; and Lucy (Chuck) Rieland of Melrose, Minn.; plus nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and his eldest sister, Angeline Dufner.

Hugh was grateful for his health care providers, and his family add their thanks to his.

Memorials in the United States may be made to the Great Plains Food Bank of Fargo, to which Hugh and Carmen generously and regularly donated potatoes over many years.

A private family service will be held on Friday, Dec. 11, at 2  p.m. at Wright Funeral Home, Moorhead, Minn. Friends are welcome to join the family via livestream through Hugh’s obituary page at, where a video tribute and guestbook may also be found.