Virgil Simon Sis, age 78, of Ortonville, MN, passed away on September 15, 2019.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, September 21, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. at St. John’s Catholic Church in Ortonville. Visitation will be held on Friday, September 20, 2019, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Mundwiler and Larson Funeral Home in Ortonville and will continue one hour prior to the Mass on Saturday. Father Brian Oestreich will celebrate the Mass, and interment will be in Mound Cemetery.
Virgil Simon Sis was born on April 20, 1941, in Grant County, SD, to Edwin and Dorothy (Adelman) Sis. He attended school in Big Stone City and graduated from Big Stone High School in 1959. He was raised in the Catholic faith and was a member of St. John’s Catholic Church in Ortonville. He attended South Dakota State University for one semester before he returned home to take care of his family. He was well known by his younger siblings as the “schtei vater” (which roughly translates to chief/head of the clan). In 1960, he enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard and was a cook at Camp Ripley.
On July 10, 1965, he married the love of his life, Joyce Gilsdorf, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Collis, MN. Together, they had two children: Stephen and Lisa; and five grandchildren: Tyler, Ashley, Amber, Luke, and Kadee. Virg and Joyce were married for 35 years until Joyce lost her battle with cancer on November 12, 2000. During their union, Virgil was involved with playing for and coaching the Ortonville Rox and Odessa Mudhens baseball teams. He also coached Ortonville High School eighth grade football for one year. He officiated many high school sporting events including basketball, volleyball, football, baseball, and coached the American Legion Baseball team.
On September 18, 2004, Virgil was united in marriage with Erlys (Hill) Alley in Fargo, ND. They made their home in Ortonville, MN, and together, they enjoyed their retirement. Two more granddaughters were added to the family in 2006 and 2007 by Erlys’s daughter, Bethany (Rob) Grommesh. In their retirement, Virg and Erlys enjoyed a Branson bus tour trip, The Charlie Daniels Band concerts, Oak Ridge Boys concerts, and spending time in Phoenix during the winter.
Virgil was a “Jack-of-all-trades” with his many talents. He owned and operated the Ortonville Dry Cleaners, drove bus for the Ortonville School District for students and sporting events, and worked at American Family Insurance. He was a crop insurance adjuster for Blakely Crop Hail before becoming a crop insurance auditor for NAU. In his retirement, he loved to explore the world of infomercials to pick up any of the latest “must have” gadgets, whipped up a multitude of German dishes (including his world-famous head cheese), and collected Cool Whip containers.
Virg also enjoyed going to Redhawks baseball games, Twins baseball games, Minnesota Vikings football games, was an avid supporter of the North Dakota State University Bison athletics program, and made countless trips to the College World Series. He closely followed his grandchildrens’ high school and college athletic teams. His competitive nature found him in many golf events, including the Patio Tournament and the Roger Maris Celebrity Golf Tournament. He commissioned a fantasy football league and participated in two other leagues. He was always looking to win a buck by shaking dice, playing cribbage, or gambling in the 21 club.
Virg’s hobbies included many things such as singing and playing guitar with the El Caminos in the 1960’s (with a reunion tour in 2011). He was a member of the St. John’s Catholic Church Choir with his family, and he sang and played guitar for the Melody Kings. While a member of the Melody Kings, Virg and the band toured the nursing home circuit every Friday of the month for many years. Virg enjoyed his morning coffee group at Berkner’s Pizza and afternoon coffee at the Cenex Station. Every Thursday night he enjoyed football games with good friend, Don Sykora (aka “Pollack”). He also had a saying for his kids, “If you’re going to do it, you better do it right the first time.”
He leaves behind his wife, Erlys of Ortonville, MN; two children: Steve (Amy) Sis of Brooklyn Park, MN; and Lisa (Joel) Brehmer of Fargo, ND; four grandchildren: Tyler Sis, Ashley Sis, Luke Brehmer, and Kadee Brehmer; step-children: Gregg Alley of Greenville, SC; and Bethany (Rob) Grommesh of St. Louis Park, MN; three step-grandchildren: Alley Grommesh, Claire Grommesh, and Chelsea (Arn) Navarro; step-great-grandchild, Addison Navarro; six siblings: Mary (Evert) Anderson of Phoenix, AZ; Gene Sis of Dawson, MN; Frank (Debbie) Sis of Anchorage, AK; Karen (Earl) Johnson of LaVista, NE; Jim (Carolyn) Sis of Bellevue, NE; and Roger (Linda) Sis of Rosen, MN; brothers-in-law: Robert Ritter of Coon Rapids, MN; and Andy Anderson of Valley City, ND; and sisters-in-law: Paula Griffen and Renee Whitlock of Valley City, ND; along with many nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends.
Virgil was preceded in death by wife, Joyce Sis; parents: Edwin and Dorothy Sis; granddaughter, Amber Sis; sister, Dianne Ritter; and brothers-in-law: Jon Anderson and Harlow Hill.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials in Virgil’s name be sent to Big Stone Area Healthcare Foundation or to St. John’s Catholic Church.
Donations may be made to:
Big Stone Healthcare Foundation
450 EASTVOLD AVENUE, Ortonville MN 56278
St. John’s Catholic Church
421 Madison Ave., Ortonville MN 56278